Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Colombo Consigliere sentenced to 3 years for union extortion

An “old school” Colombo crime family consigliere who notoriously was photographed lounging shirtless in a swimming pool was sentenced to three years behind bars for a labor union extortion plot.

Ralph DiMatteo, 68, called “No. 3” by his fellow mafioso, was sentenced in Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday, after his 2021 indictment alongside the entire Colombo leadership for shaking down a Queens construction union.

“He’s old school,” DiMatteo’s lawyer, Gerald McMahon, told Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Hector Gonzalez. “Mr. DiMatteo did wrong. He accepted responsibility. He took a plea. He’s taking his medicine. He wants it to be on him.”

DiMatteo pleaded guilty to racketeering in July, admitting to extortion and money laundering. One of his underlings, Vincent “Vinny Unions” Ricciardo, pressured a high-ranking union official into paying a $2,600 monthly “pension” to the mob family for nearly 20 years — nearly $600,000 in total.

All 14 suspects in the case have pleaded guilty — except for family head Andrew “Mush” Russo, who died in April 2022 at age 87.

Other co-defendants include underboss Benjamin “The Claw” Castellazzo and Theodore “Skinny Teddy” Persico Jr. — the nephew of notorious Colombo boss Carmine “The Snake” Persico and the heir apparent to the crime family

The Colombos also pressured a health fund associated with the union into picking mob-friendly vendors and paying $10,000 a month in tribute. DiMatteo was directly responsible for overseeing Ricciardo, and the consigliere was caught on wiretapped conversations commanding Ricciardo to move faster with his extortion efforts.

“Part of the privilege of being towards the top is that you don’t have to get your hands dirty yourself. You have other people do that on your behalf,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gibaldi said at DiMatteo’s sentencing.

When the judge asked DiMatteo if he wanted to make a statement, he replied, “I’m fine, thank you.”

DiMatteo was the only member of the 14 Colombos indicted in 2021 to initially evade arrest, after he traveled to Florida the day before. He surrendered three days later, after his son, Angelo DiMatteo, posted a picture on Twitter of his shirtless dad casually hanging poolside.

Angelo also posted a rat emoji on the social media site, suggesting someone in the Colombo family squealed to the feds.

DiMatteo, who’s set to surrender Jan. 15, told reporters Tuesday he had no regrets showing off his beach bod in the photo.

“Why?” he asked. “It was a great picture.”



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