Nicholas Scibetta’s biography, net worth, fact, career, awards and life story

IntroItalian-American mobster
Is Criminal 
From Italy 
United States of America 
Type Crime 
Death 1978

Nicholas Scibetta was a Sicilian-American mobster. He was related to Gravanos, who were a a Gambino crime family mob associates — he was the brother-in-law of mobster Sammy Gravano, and uncle of Gerard Gravano. He was also the nephew of Joseph and John Zicarelli.


Born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, Nicholas was nicknamed “Little Nicky.”

His father is from Cammarata in the province of Agrigento, Sicily. His mother, an Italian-American woman, is from Bayonne, New Jersey. His mother is a housewife, while his father was an electrical engineer, working for Western Electric (now AT&T Technologies.) The couple had three children: two daughters, Debra and Diane, and the youngest one, Nicholas. While it is said that Mr. Scibetta was a strict authoritarian, it is never mentioned in any way that he physically abused his children by the observations made by Gravano.

Sammy later said about the unidentified Mr. Scibetta, “a beautiful guy, a mild-mannered guy, totally legitimate, one of the nicest guys I ever met in my life. His whole thing was looking after his baby daughter (Debra), which is completely understandable to me. I didn’t have a problem with that.” He only let Sammy court their daughter and keep Debra out late if her sister Diane would go with them. When Sammy Gravano started dating Debra from a young age, his parents knew that Nicholas was a “crazy kid” who was always getting into trouble. This suggests that he suffered from psychiatric problems that at the time were never diagnosed, possibly attention deficit disorder. 

He was a maternal nephew of Joseph Zicarelli, a notorious capo in the New Jersey satellite faction of the Bonanno crime family. It is unknown if he is a distant relative of Buffalo crime family capo Santo Scibetta, who controlled Hamilton, Ontario. He was a close acquaintance of Gambino crime family mob associates Liborio (Louie) Milito and Joseph (Stymie) D’Angelo Sr. who would both eventually be involved in his murder. 

It is also suggested that while raised a Catholic along with his sister he was not a devout believer in the Roman Catholic faith and spoke of interests joining a cult or a “group” of dissidents, somewhere outside the state.

Relationship with Sammy Gravano

Nicholas’s sister, Debra, was married to Sammy Gravano. Debra’s parents initially protested when Sammy told them that he wanted to marry Debra. They would tell him, “She’s too young, she’s only seventeen. At first they’re totally against it. Then they try to postpone it. Finally, they say we should at least wait until she’s eighteen, which was in May (of that year).” Sammy agreed. The parents told Sammy and Debra to book a hall for the wedding. They thought that Sammy and Debra wouldn’t be able to book a place less than a year in advance, and given enough time, the two would break up.

Among his other criminal endeavours, Zicarelli controlled a vast gambling empire operating from Hudson County, New Jersey. Around the time Sammy met Nick’s sister, his uncle Zicarelli was sentenced to twelve to fifteen years for paying off politicians, allegedly including a U.S. congressman and a local prosecutor. Sammy later said, “He was a good kid, nice as you could want, growing up.” But then he started doing cocaine and drinking heavily. He was arrested numerous times for driving while intoxicated with cocaine and alcohol. In Sammy Gravano’s autobiography Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano’s Story of Life in the Mafia by Peter Maas, there are no photographs of Nicholas, but there are photos of his other brother-in-law Gambino crime family capos Edward Garofala, Garofala’s cousin Edward Garofalo who is the nephew of Emmanuele Garofalo and a distant relative of mob associate Keith Gordon. Although he was raised properly by his parents and the nephew of Joseph Zicarelli, it was obvious to Sammy Gravano and fellow criminal associates in the Gambino crime family and Bonanno crime family that he did not have any real potential as a successful career criminal in organized crime.

Falling out with the Gambino crime family and murder

Nicholas was the source of much anxiety, grief and stress for Gravano from the time he married his sister, to the time of his murder in 1978 in Bensonhurst. Part of the motive for the murder was that Scibetta was suspected of being gay.

In another incident, Nick had apparently insulted the daughter of George DeCicco, the uncle of Frank DeCicco. Sammy Gravano later said,

Now Frank (Frank DeCicco) did not get into this, but the girl’s father went bananas. He goes to Toddo (Salvatore Aurello). He wants Nick roughed up. I step in and say I’ll take care of it, let me handle it. I talked to Nick and slapped him in the face pretty hard. But it was better than getting his arms and legs broken. There are other situations with the kid. I’m trying to figure out what to do. Maybe get him the hell out of Bensonhurst. But unbeknownst to me, Paul Castellano is hearing about all of this. It’s being put on record with Paul, the incidents with the recreational drug use and alcoholism, the thing with Tony Jets’s son, George DeCicco’s daughter and many other incidents. Paul Castellano told Frank DeCicco to get Sammy Gravano’s crew to murder Nick. Frank gave the murder contract to mob associates Liborio (Louie) Milito and Joseph (Stymie) D’Angelo Sr. They felt sorry for Gravano and told him of the murder contract that had been handed down. Frank DeCicco discussed the planned murder with Castellano and convinced Paul to let Gravano know of his murder that was to be carried out. Sammy would later say,

I couldn’t talk to Toddo (Salvatore Aurello) about this. Paul has purposely kept him out of the loop. This piece of work is off the record. If I talk to him, he’s involved, too.

Sammy Gravano later said,

So now I got an option. It’s to die with Nicky. I chose against Nicky. I took an oath that Cosa Nostra came before everything. I never thought it would come down to this. But it did. I was devastated. I was thinking of my wife and in-laws, what good people they are, and how devastated they would be.

Sammy Gravano stated,

I was hoping that it would be like he just disappeared. It would be better for his mother and father. They knew he was a crazy kid. Maybe he had met somebody, some group of people, and run off. The bottom line is that I let it happen. That makes me just as guilty. I didn’t know the body would be chopped up afterwards. That’s not me.

Scibetta was dismembered and his body was never found other than an arm.

In popular culture

1998- film Witness to the Mob: Scibetta’s character was played by actor Kirk Acevedo.

2018-HBO film, Gotti – biographical crime film about the mobster John Gotti: Actor Frank Crudele played Scibetta’s character as “Nicky Scibetta.” 

1997 HBO prison drama series Oz: Scibetta is allegedly a real life inspiration for the father and son characters, Nino Schibetta and Peter Schibetta.