Carmine "Charley Wagons" Fatico (January 19, 1910 East New York, Brooklyn-August 1, 1991) was a Caporegime in the New York Gambino crime family. Fatico is best known as an early mentor to Gambino boss John Gotti. Fatico quickly became a leading capo in the Gambino family due to his unfailing loyalty and obedience, and his tireless and innovative ability to earn money.
Carmine Fatico was born on January 19th 1910 in the neighborhood of East New York, Brooklyn, New York City. Not much is known about his early life.
Fatico was a short, slim man who was known more for his intelligence than his physical power. However, Fatico did not shrink from brutal violence when he deemed it necessary. Starting out in mob in the 1930's as part of a crew led by Armand "Tommy" Rava, Fatico's arrest record would eventually include grand larceny, bookmaking and felonious assault.
In 1951, Underboss Albert Anastasia took control of the Mangano crime family by murdering Boss Vincent Mangano and Consigliere Phil Mangano and placed Fatico in charge of all family operations in East New York. Around 1952, a 12 year-old John Gotti started working for the mobsters at Fatico's East New York club house as an errand boy. After Anastasia's murder in 1957, Carlo Gambino took over what was now the Gambino crime family and kept Fatico as the East New York capo. By 1966, Fatico commanded a crew of approximately 120 men, including made and not yet made captains, sidewalk soldiers and mob associates.
Fatico's nickname "Charley Wagons" alluded to his penchant for hijacking transport trucks. Fatico conducted the hijacking of cargoes at John F. Kennedy Airport and on the Brooklyn waterfront, dealing in stolen merchandise, loansharking, bookmaking, number-running, floating dice games, illegal casinos, illegal, sports book betting and the operation of a fleet of push-button poker machines. It had been estimated that Fatico's crew grossed approximately $30 million a year.
The Bergin Hunt and Fish Club
In 1972, Fatico moved his crew from East New York to a new base of operations in Ozone Park, Queens. Fatico was allegedly unhappy about the changing ethnic composition of East New York, plus he wanted to be closer to Kennedy Airport. In Ozone Park, Fatico bought a social club and named it the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club. That same year, Fatico placed Gotti in charge of all illegal gambling operations in East New York. Later in 1972, Fatico was indicted in Suffolk County, New York for loansharking. While on trial, Fatico designated Gotti as the acting capo for his crew, reporting directly to Don Carlo Gambino and his underboss, Aniello Dellacroce.
In the mid 1970's, Fatico and several of his crew members were indicted on charges of stealing 98 mail bags containing $3 million dollars in cash and securities that had come into the airport on an Air France flight. The charges also included the theft of fur coats. However, when the case went to trial in 1976, it ended in a mistrial. To avoid a retrial, Fatico pleaded guilty to one count of stealing the coats and was sentenced to five years in prison. John Gotti officially succeeded Fatico as capo of the Bergin crew in 1977, not long after becoming made.
Retirement and Death
In the early 1980s, Fatico semi-retired and turned over the day to day running of the crew and the Bergin Hunt Club to John Gotti. Carmine was still the owner of the Bergin Club. In 1991, Fatico died of natural causes at age 81.