ANDREA Giovino is the ex-pal of mob boss John Gotti – the head of New York’s Gambino family and the biggest mafioso since Al Capone.
She was taught to steal at age five, her brother became a hitman at 17, and her ex-husband brought home dead bodies in his car boot.
She went from spending thousands on rose bushes and asking her ex-husband to wipe his bloodied shoes – to becoming a church-going suburban grandmother.
After being arrested and indicted on RICO charges in 1992, Giovino explained how being married to the mob was far from glamorous.
Her first contract “with the streets”, as she says, was when her mother would host gambling cards and dice games in her basement in Brooklyn, New York.
Her mum’s main guest was Crazy Joe Gallo – an Italian American gangster and a capo of New York City’s Colombo criminal family.
Surrounded by criminals, Giovino grew up knowing who not to mess with and when’s a good time to keep her mouth shut.
After dating “a few” – including Frank “Curly” Lino – she said she can also spot “street guys” from miles away.
Giovino stressed that she was never in the mafia but worked in the streets and happened to know mobsters.
She told The Sun Online: “I knew a lot of people because we were all from an area in Brooklyn where a lot of criminals came out of.
“The reason why I got in the streets and how I got arrested is because my husband went to prison and then I had no money, I had no education, but I knew the street life.
“So that’s how I got involved in putting money out on the streets.”
At 28, one child and two divorces later, she met infamous mafia don John Gotti – the boss of the Gambino crime family in New York City.
The Rise and Fall of John Gotti
John Gotti, also known as “The Teflon Don
Gotti became the boss of the Gambino family in 1985 after ordering the assassination of his predecessor, Paul Castellano.
Gotti’s flashy demeanor and high-profile lifestyle, along with his ability to evade conviction in multiple trials, earned him notoriety as the most powerful mob boss in America during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
But Gotti’s reign came to an end in 1992 when he was convicted of murder, racketeering, extortion, and other charges.
This conviction was largely due to the testimony of turncoat mobsters, including his former right-hand man, Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano.
Gotti was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and died in 2002 while incarcerated.
Despite his downfall, Gotti remains a legendary figure in the history of organised crime in the United States.
“I met John Gotti in the 80s in a club in Manhattan. Club A. We’d later hang out every Tuesdays and Thursdays,” she said.
“We would many times go to dinner as a group and then go out.
“It was all very glamorous. The earrings, the sparkles, the makeup. The men would wear their $2,000 suits, their Rolex, their pinky ring.”
Giovino and her sister were invited to hang out in the VIP section with John and his associate, Mark Reiter, who later became her partner.
Gotti had sent over a bottle of pricey Dom Perignon champagne and asked them to join the table, but the bottle was sent back by Giovino as she “knew the kind of people they were”.
“We were not best friends, but John liked me. And the reason he liked me is because I wasn’t just somebody’s girlfriend,” Giovino said.
“Yes, I was then dating his friend Mark Reiter, but John also knew he was comfortable to talk to me or talk with other people while I was sitting there because I knew the street code.
She explained: “I knew the language. I knew you don’t repeat, you don’t talk, you don’t say what you hear, you know your place.”
Gotti and Giovino hit it off from the start, especially after he nicknamed her “Rocky” when holding her back at a bar brawl.
“His words were ‘she’s got more balls than some of the guys that are around me,’ because I didn’t care, I was very angry,” she revealed.
Giovino said she never saw “the ruthless part” of John Gotti as he was always pleasant with her, enjoying his drink, and having fun.
She was one of many in John Gotti’s orbit to be featured in Netflix’s true crime docuseries, Get Gotti.
It explored the life of the notorious American mobster, breaking down his early life, how he rose to power in New York, and how he evaded law enforcement over the years.
In 1992, Gotti was finally caught by US feds, and was convicted of charges including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, murder, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, conspiracies to murder, bribing a detective, committing loan sharking, and tax fraud.
He died of throat cancer in 2002 while serving a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole and a $250,000 fine for his crimes.
Also in 1992, Giovino was indicted on RICO charges of conspiring to distribute marijuana and cocaine in the Brooklyn and Staten Island area.
“When you’re hit with a RICO, you get life,” she said.
Her then-husband, John Fogarty, and her brother, John Silvestri, were wanted for murder and extortion.
Giovino later discovered that her arrest was a ploy to make them confess.
Before all hell broke loose with the US feds, she lived a lush life as Fogarty’s wife.
In her beachside house on Staten Island, the mother-of-four enjoyed wallpapers by Oscar de la Renta, drove around in a Mercedes 450 convertible, and spent a whopping £4,700 in rose bushes alone, The Guardian reported.
I got caught saying: ‘Go up there. I don’t care if you break his f*****g head, but get my money’.
She also explained how the ultra-lux lifestyle afforded by the mob always comes with a price.
Women enter into a contract, as she already knew, to keep quiet and to themselves.
“But in the end you get sick of the b******t and lies,” Giovino said.
Being married to the mob wasn’t all glitz and glamour.
Giovino said: “I had to take care of my kids first and foremost, because my husband was incarcerated.
“I had to worry about who was going to pay, who wasn’t going to pay, who’s going to rat, who’s not.”
She once asked Fogarty to remove his bloodied shoes before coming in after he arrived home for dinner with two bodies in the boot of his Lincoln Continental, according to The Guardian.
Giovino’s brother became a hitman at 17, and she was the one to give the go-ahead for one of his jobs, later leading to her arrest.
She said: “The DEA was already on my case and got this guy to owe me $20,000.
“They told him ‘don’t pay it, hold the money back, she’ll come for you’, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Giovino got arrested after US feds caught her through a wire tap giving her brother instructions to deal with the matter.
“My brother called me and said: ‘He isn’t paying the money. It’s been two, three months now. He’s been playing games. He’s not answering the phone.’
“And then I got caught saying: ‘Go up there. I don’t care if you break his f*****g head, but get my money’.”
Getting emotional, the ex-mob wife vividly recalls the day the DEA knocked on her door just moments before taking her children to school.
“It was September 9, 1992, six in the morning,” she began.
“They [the DEA] never do this. They said this was a courtesy.
“They rang my phone six in the morning. I picked it up. They said, ‘DEA, open the door. We’re gonna kick it in.’
“They don’t do that. They just kick it in, but they knew there were four kids in the house, so they said that was a courtesy.
“I was sleeping with just a pair of panties and a T-shirt.
“I ran down, I opened the door, but the agents were coming in from front and back, back door, front door, and I just froze.
“They started reading my charges for cocaine, for murder, because I was on RICO so I was bring dragged into other people’s mess.
“The first thing that I thought about were my children, where were my children. But they said I couldn’t move.
“My daughter was a baby in the crib. They went and got the baby out of the crib. She was 15 months old.
“They’re turning the mattress over, the kids were screaming. It was a nightmare.”
Giovino was then rushed out of New York state and relocated to Pennsylvania with her children after FBI wire taps revealed that the mob had a contract on her.
She has turned her life around since her indictment.
She decided to do so on the same day of her arrest, whilst waiting for bail.
“I had had it with abuse from men. I had had it from the lifestyle,” she said.
“The bottom line was my children. I didn’t care about these guys [mobsters].
“And that’s why they put a contract out on me and everything.
“Because I didn’t care. I cared about getting the truth out there.”
Giovino signed up with the Parent-Teacher Association, joined the church’s fundraising committee and secured a family pass to the country club.
Talking about her old life, she launched her bestseller “Divorced From The Mob” in 2004, and now has her own podcast and YouTube channel.
But the grandmother said she receives a lot of backlash from men and former mobsters who accuse her of being a liar.
“They’re just abusive, these ‘macho’ men. I got a lot of backlash for speaking out and having my YouTube channel.
“I always hear ‘Andrea Giovino is a liar. She didn’t know John Gotti. She wasn’t in the streets.’
“Meanwhile, the facts are the facts. I was arrested on a RICO with 22 men. And those are all facts.
“I was married to these types of personalities,” she continued
“They have this thing where the woman has no place, no voice, ‘go in the kitchen, go mind your business, shut your mouth’.
“And a lot of women put up with that just to be cared for, which I did too. But not anymore.”