Fifteen years of working as a mob informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation turned what could have been a jail sentence into a mere slap on the wrist for the late John Gotti’s so-called adopted son and aroused the ire of the Teflon Don’s oldest daughter.
This story first appeared in the September 17, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Lewis Kasman, a former trim producer who ran a fashion industry front for the Gambino crime family and served as a financial adviser to crime boss Gotti, on Thursday was sentenced to time served and three years supervision for crimes including obstruction of justice and money laundering to which he pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court. Years of cooperation with mob investigations helped him avoid jail and demonstrate some of the Teflon characteristics often attributed to his presumptive father.
Kasman’s attorney Michael Gold, who told WWD that he was “very pleased with the verdict,” had waxed on for roughly 30 minutes detailing the underpinnings of his client’s psyche.
“He became prey to the glamour, the glitz and the power of organized crime,” which was triggered by the divorce of his parents when he was eight years old, Gold said.
This psychological detour generated scoffs and eye rolls from onlookers in the court gallery, while Gotti’s daughter, Angel Gotti, sporting gem-encrusted black flip-flops bearing her first name, listened intently.
Imploring Judge Nicholas Garaufis to keep his client out of jail, Goldman then recited an inventory of Kasman’s recent hardships, which included dependence on both food stamps and blood pressure pills, moving back in with his mother and stepfather and living through a “hellish divorce.”
Prior to sentencing, a meek Kasman told the judge, “I am aware of the crimes I committed. They were serious crimes. I am not that person anymore.
“I did enjoy running with the bad boys,” he conceded.
It wasn’t Kasman’s acknowledgment of his age, 53, or need to grow up and lead a “healthy life” that resonated with the judge, but rather the defense’s mention of the “significant results” yielded from the defendant’s years of cooperation with the FBI.
“For the rest of his life, incarcerated or not, the defendant will never be free. There’s nothing glamorous or worthwhile about the mob…it is the cesspool of society,” Judge Garaufis said. “The government must drain it with tools like this.”
Time served was estimated to be between 108 and 135 months.
After the judge delivered his sentence, Angel Gotti stormed out of the courtroom to denounce Kasman for betraying the trust of her father — and, by implication, the mob.
“What a piece of s–t,” she said. “He was playing both sides.”