Reputed Colombo consigliere, Ralph DiMatteo, turned himself in to FBI in NYC two days after his son taunted feds over his escape
After less than a week on the lam, DiMatteo, 66, walked into the Brooklyn federal courthouse in Manhattan on Friday with his lawyer to surrender
The alleged consigliere of the Colombo crime family was arraigned on racketeering charges Friday afternoon
He pled not guilty to all charges
DiMatteo was only one of 14 indicted mobsters who slipped early morning raids by feds on Tuesday
13 reputed mobsters including Colombo crime family boss Andrew ‘Mush’ Russo, 85, and underboss Benjamin ‘The Claw’ Castellazzo, 83, were arrested in early morning raids conducted in New York City and new Jersey
DiMatteo’s son posted a photograph of the fleeing mobster Wednesday, sitting poolside in Florida to Twitter and deleted it by Thursday morning
Fleeing Colombo crime family consigliere, Ralph DiMatteo, reversed and turned himself in to the FBI in New York City Friday morning after his son first posted, then later deleted, a picture of the fugitive sitting poolside in Florida.
DiMatteo, 66, walked into the Brooklyn federal courthouse with his lawyer to surrender and was arraigned via teleconference on racketeering charges Thursday afternoon.
He pled not guilty to all charges and will be held in jail until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for October 21.
The alleged mobster was the only one to avoid arrest in Tuesday’s sweeping federal raid targeting the leadership of the Colombo crime family. Having slipped the federal dragnet, the fleeing consiglieri made national headlines after his son Angelo DiMatteo posted a photograph of his dad – shirtless and waist-deep in a Florida pool – to his Twitter account on Wednesday and removed it by Thursday morning.
DiMatteo’s wife is seen behind him in the photograph, with her head at the edge of the pool as she relaxes and enjoys its waters.
He also tweeted a picture of a rat, suggesting the family is unhappy about snitches getting them in trouble, on Tuesday. That too has been removed.
Known as “number three” by other Colombo clan members in deference to his rank in the family, DiMatteo was slapped with charges of racketeering, extortion and money laundering, along with 87-year-old boss Andrew “Mushy” Russo.
Other co-defendants include underboss Benjamin “The Claw” Castellazzo and four capos — including Theodore ‘Skinny Teddy’ Persico Jr., the nephew of former Colombo family boss Carmine Persico.
The consigliere was also charged with conspiracy to steal and embezzle health benefit funds, attempted health care fraud and other crimes.
DiMatteo, along with other high-ranking members of the Colombos, were accused of infiltrating a union that the family extorted, prosecutors said.
The indictment accuses the crime family of running a scheme involving labor union shakedowns, extortion, loansharking, drug trafficking and money laundering.
DiMatteo is accused of colluding with fellow defendants to devise a scheme to launder money from union healthcare contracts and payments.
He allegedly executed his schemes through various channels linked to Joseph Bellantoni, who was named as a co-conspirator in the indictment, and eventually to the Colombo crime family’s leaders, according to the federal indictment.
He was also accused of threatening bodily harm to control the management of the labor union that they were targeting and influencing decisions that benefitted the family.
Other top mobsters swept up in the dross include reputed Colombo street boss Andrew ‘Andy Mush’ Russo, 87, and his underboss, Benjamin ‘The Claw’ Castellazzo, 83. Both octogenarians were also scooped up Tuesday by federal agents and New York police, along with seven other members of the Colombo crime family.
Among those charged was 75-year-old capo Vincent ‘Vinny Unions’ Ricciardo, who was recorded during a phone call in June threatening to kill a labor union official if he didn’t play ball, according to the 19-count indictment. The other captains, or capos, arrested include Richard Ferrara, 59, and Theodore ‘Skinny Teddy’ Persico Jr., 58, who is the nephew of the late Colombo boss Carmine ‘The Snake’ Persico.
Colombo soldier Michael Uvino, 56, and associates Thomas Costa, 52, and Domenick Ricciardo, 56 – Vincent’s cousin – were also booked.
DiMatteo was directly responsible for overseeing Ricciardo, prosecutors say.
It’s not DiMatteo’s first time on the wrong side of the law.
He was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin and drug trafficking in 1985 in Brooklyn and sentenced to eight years in prison. And in 2001, he was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering and received another 18 months in prison
“The wiretap interceptions also showed the command [DiMatteo] had over lower-ranking crime family members, including summoning them immediately to meetings at Russo’s home or to report to ‘Brooklyn,’ a reference to meet at a garage in Gravesend,” prosecutors wrote in a motion to have DiMatteo detained pre-trial.
‘Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself,’ FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll said concerning the indictment.
‘The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well.’ ‘These soldiers, consiglieres, underbosses, and bosses are obviously not students of history, and don’t seem to comprehend that we’re going to catch them.
‘Regardless of how many times they fill the void we create in their ranks, our FBI Organized Crime Task Force, and our law enforcement partners, are positioned to take them out again, and again.’
According to the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators committed and are charged with a wide array of crimes – including extortion, loansharking, fraud and drug trafficking – on behalf of the Colombo organized crime family.
In 2019, the family sought to divert more than $10,000 per month from the union’s healthcare system directly to the administration of the Colombo crime family.
The Colombo family is one of five major mafia organizations in the northeastern United States. The others are the Genovese, Lucchese, Gambino and Bonanno families.
he latest indictments leave it unclear who remains to take control of the Colombo syndicate on the street.
The entire administration of the Colombo crime family, including Russo and Castellazzo, already pled guilty to a variety of mobster activities in 2012.
The New York mafia has been weakened by several blows in recent years, including arrests, fratricidal struggles and competition from other criminal organizations, but they are still considered active.
The reputed boss of the Gambino clan, ‘Frank’ Cali, was shot and killed outside his home in the New York borough of Staten Island in March 2019.