Roy DeMeo soon caught the eye of Nino Gaggi, a racketeer working for the Gambino crime family. Nino Gaggi could see the money making potential of DeMeo workin for him, so he talked DeMeo into working for him, enticing him with the lure of making more money. DeMeo, interested in making more money, joined the Gambino family and soon had his own crew which included Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski, Joseph Testa, Henry Borelli, Anthony Senter, and Chris Rosenberg.
Roy DeMeo established himself as a legitimate businessman as well and soon joined the Brooklyn Credit Union on the Board of Directors. He used this job to launder illegal drug money that Chris Rosenberg had earned and to further his loansharking business. He soon went from making hundreds of dollars a week to making hundreds of thousands each year.
Roy DeMeo also became a prolific murder for hire killer, committing his first murder in 1973 at the age of 30. DeMeo and Nino Gaggi were silent partners in an adult film lab and the proprietor of the lab, Paul Rothernberg was arrested by police. Assuming that Rothernberg would turn states evidence to receive a lighter sentence, he was killed by DeMeo when released on bail and awaiting trial. Roy DeMeo told Paul Rothernberg that he wanted to see him at a local diner but DeMeo shot Rothernberg to death in an alley.
Between 1970 and 1983, the DeMeo crew was suspected in one hundred murders with seventy belonging to DeMeo himself. Gambino boss, Paul Castellano wanted the crew disbanded and put out a contract on DeMeo, but no one wanted to take it as they were all afraid of DeMeo, especially if the hit didn’t work. In 1982, the FBI began to use surveillance on DeMeo to try to gather enough evidence to arrest him for the murders. The FBI caught talk between Gene and John Gotti about the DeMeo contract on their wiretaps. John Gotti, a Gambino captain at the time, was put in charge of the hit and he gave the contract to two of DeMeo’s crew members, Joseph Testa and Anthony Senter.
On January 10, 1983, Roy DeMeo showed up for a meeting at Patty Testa’s house and on January 20, 1983, Roy DeMeo’s body was found in the trunk of his car. Paul Castellano was soon indicted on this murder charge along with several other charges, but the crime boss would never make it to trial as he and his underboss were both killed in December of 1983, on orders from John Gotti.