NEW YORK -- A key government witness in the racketeering trial of reputed Gambino mob boss John Gotti has testified he lied to prosecutors about his membership in the Mafia and about murders he allegedly committed.
The witness, Dominick Lofaro, 56, dressed in a brown suit, his black hair plastered to his head, testified Wednesday he fabricated the stories in order to make a deal with the government.
Lofaro Tuesday pleaded guilty to racketeering and the government granted him immunity from prosecution for two admitted murders and heroin distribution charges.
He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for racketeering when he is sentenced March 6.
On his first day on the stand, Lofaro said he lied to the government when he said he was a 'made' member of the Mafia and about other murders he allegedly committed in Detroit, Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Miami Beach, Fla.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Giacalone asked, 'Why did you lie, for a deal?'
Q. 'To make you seem more important?'
Lofaro also testified he was paid $1,500 a week for three years while he secretly taped conversations with Gotti.
Lafaro admitted to involvement in the murders of Salvatore Calabria in 1982 in Yonkers and Calabria's wife, Maria Polizzi, in Queens in 1983 in drug-related killings.
'I murdered one man and I was an accomplice in the murder of his wife,' a nervous Lafaro said. 'I was in the criminal enterprise with the Gambino crime family.'
Lofaro said he was ordered to commit the murders by a captain in the Gotti crew.
'I walked into his (Calabria's) house and said hello. The guy was sitting in a chair and he turned around and I shot him,' Lofaro said.
Lofaro said he took the body to a mountain near West Point and buried it.
A year later he was ordered to have someone else murder Calabria's wife, because she was demanding money from the mob and threatened to tell of a heroin operation being run in Sicily. Lofaro said he hired a man to do the job and received $50,000 in payment.
Lofaro is the third paid government witness in the trial of Gotti and his six co-defendants.
Lofaro started working for the government in 1983 when he was arrested in Newburgh, N.Y., for heroin dealing.
The state's Organized Crime Strike Task Force confiscated $300,000 from Lofaro at the time of the arrest and used the money to subsidize him while he was cooperating with the government over the next three years.
The thrice married Lofaro said he began his involvement with the mob when he was a destitute laborer. His cousin introduced him to a captain in a Gambino family crew.
'I told my cousin I couldn't go on any more and he said he knew some people,' Lofaro said.
Lofaro was set up in gambling games in Newburgh and New York as a result.
It is the 19th week of the trial of Gotti who along with his co-defendants face up to 20 years in prison and $40,000 in fines if convicted.
Testimony in the case is scheduled to resume Monday.