||New York| Wilfred Johnson
Birth: September 29, 1935
Death: August 29, 1988
Wilfred "Willie Boy" Johnson was a close friend of Gambino crime boss John Gotti and was also an FBI informant from 1969 to 1985. He provided the FBI with information relating to John Gotti and other high-powered and otherwise members of the Gambino family.
Johnson was born along the Brooklyn waterfront. He had a harsh uprbringing, as his father, a Native American from a state reservation named John Johnson, would stagger home drunk and beat his Italian wife and five children. His father could spend his entire weekly wage drinking and his mother periodically deserted her family, but always returned. This unstable and vicious childhood molded Johnson. Wilfred was six feet, five inches tall and weighed close to 300 pounds. This led him to become a Mafia enforcer. His criminal career began when he was only 9 years old, when he was arrested for stealing money out of a store's cash register. By the age of 29, in 1964, he had spent almost half of his life incarcerated.
Johnson's school life was quite traumatic as well. He had a hair-trigger temper and in one school fight at the age of 12, either fell or was pushed off a building's roof, sustaining head injuries which were the root cause of the persistent headaches he endured throughout the remainder of his life.
Entry into organized crime
By 1949, he was running a gang of thugs in East New York, who were used by the mafia to threaten debtors into paying them. He met John Gotti, for the first time, in 1957, Gotti was a 17 year-old high-school failure and Johnson was a street thug, almost perpetually in trouble with the law.
When Gotti became an associate of the Gambino family Johnson followed and became known as the 'terminator' because of his skill at strong-arm work. He required a steady income and was placed in charge of a modestly-successful gambling operation. Though he was never to be a made man because he was not fully Italian, he earned as well as any mafia associate could have hoped. He married an Italian woman and remained totally faithful, never having a mistress. She was loyal throughout his incarcerations, and when he couldn't earn, she had to claim Welfare benefits, a shame on her family in her eyes.
Cooperation with the FBI
In 1966 he had been imprisoned for armed-robbery and Carmine Fatico, his Capo had vowed to financially support his wife and two infant children, Fatico had broken this promise. What enraged Johnson beyond words was that he had been imprisoned in the place of the actual criminal and hadn't really committed the crime. In 1967, during an FBI interview, a potential to become an informant was spotted, so upon his released he, grudgingly and uncertainly at first, became a Government Informant in return for some counterfeiting charges to be dropped and as retribution against a dishonest Fatico. His FBI 'handler' Special Agent Martin Boland noticed how he was unwilling to discuss, to any length, his background or childhood. The agreement worked as such, Johnson provided information on however many different crews of the New York mafia he worked for and then the FBI would arrest them for their crimes.
During his 16 year period as an informant he provided lots of information, one piece, which struck at the centre of Capo Paul Vario's crew was the revelation, from Johnson, that Vario was avoiding FBI wire taps and bugs by conducting, openly, business from a trailer parked in a junkyard which he owned, in Brooklyn. He gave over information on a large-scale narcotics ring, run by John Gotti amongst others, called the 'Pleasant Avenue Connection'. He revealed that John Gotti and Angelo Ruggerio had murdered Florida mobster, Anthony Plate and he passed on the details of the murder of kidnapper James McBratney, who had kidnapped Emanuel Gambino. When a 1985 FBI hearing came up it was revealed that Johnson was co-operating, but he refused to enter the Witness Protection Program and was killed in a hail of bullets in 1988, in front of his Brooklyn home.
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