Dominic Taddeo is seen here on the left.
CNN  — 

Dominic Taddeo – a Rochester, New York, mobster who fatally shot three people and attempted to kill two others – escaped federal custody this week, less than a year before he was set to be released.

Taddeo, 64, was transferred in February from a medium-security prison in Sumter County, Florida, to a halfway house near Orlando, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) spokesperson Scott Taylor. He was scheduled to be there until his release in February 2023, according to court documents.

On Monday, March 28, Taddeo failed to return from an “authorized appointment” and was placed on escape status, Taylor said.

The United States Marshals Service told CNN it was aware of the escape and “has made the fugitive investigation a top priority,” according to a spokesperson.

Taddeo was nearing the end of several prison sentences for a string of convictions, including illegal weapons possession and racketeering and conspiracy in connection to the killings and attempted homicides, according to 1992 archives of the Rochester newspaper Democrat and Chronicle.

Taddeo pleaded guilty in January 1992 to the shooting deaths of three people in 1982 and 1983, and also for twice attempting to fatally shoot a mob leader and plotting to kill another mob figure, according to the Democrat and Chronicle archives.

Taddeo admitted in court that a crime organization known as “La Cosa Nostra” that existed in Rochester had paid him to kill certain people, according to news reports. La Cosa Nostra – or the Mafia – has been operating in New York since roughly the 1920s, according to the FBI.

In April 1992, the late US District Judge Michael A. Telesca sentenced Taddeo to 24 years in prison, which he was to serve consecutively to the 30 years he was already serving for drug conspiracy, bail jumping and illegal weapons possession, according to the newspaper archive.

Taddeo filed a motion for compassionate release in December 2020, citing the dangers that the Covid-19 pandemic posed to his health. A judge denied the request and refused to cut Taddeo’s sentence short, citing the “seriousness of his offenses and his extremely lengthy criminal record.”

“Defendant began a life of crime at 16 years old,” U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci Jr. wrote in his decision last year. “His prior convictions are for crimes including assault, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and, most notably, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization conspiracy arising from his employment and association with Rochester’s La Cosa Nostra organized crime family.”

“The RICO charges involve the murder of three individuals, attempted murder of two more individuals, and conspiracy to murder a fifth person,” the judge wrote, adding that cutting Taddeo’s sentence short “would undermine” the seriousness of the offenses.

Taddeo has been on the run before, according to the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper. In 1987, facing federal weapons charges, he disappeared while out on bail and was found two years later after a national manhunt, the newspaper reported.