Fugitive Colombo consigliere surrenders to FBI

Fugitive Colombo crime family consigliere turned himself in to the FBI in New York City Friday morning after his son posted – and later deleted – a picture of him sitting poolside in Florida, law enforcement sources told DailyMail.com. 

Ralph DiMatteo, 66, walked into the Brooklyn federal courthouse with his lawyer to surrender and was arraigned via teleconference on racketeering charges Thursday afternoon. 

He pleaded 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. 

The alleged consigliere, or advisor to the crime boss, made national headlines after his son Angelo posted a picture 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 pictured behind him, with her head at the edge of the pool as she relaxes and enjoys its waters.

Ralph DiMatteo, 66,(pictured) taunts the FBI with a pool picture after federal law enforcement arrested other members of his Colombo crime family

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. 

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.

DiMatteo is said to have done this 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. 

Reputed Colombo street boss Andrew ‘Andy Mush’ Russo, 87, and his underboss, Benjamin ‘The Claw’ Castellazzo, 83, were also scooped up 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 (captain) 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.

Reputed street boss of the Colombo crime family Andrew 'Mush' Russo, 85, was arrested in an early-morning raid Tuesday

Capo Vincent 'Vinny Unions' Ricciardo, 75, allegedly threatened to kill a union boss

Reputed street boss of the Colombo crime family Andrew ‘Mush’ Russo, 85, (left) and Capo Vincent ‘Vinny Unions’ Ricciardo (right)  arrested in an early-morning raid Tuesday in NYC

Benjamin 'The Claw' Castellazzo, 82, Russo's underboss, was also arrested in the raid

High-ranking capo Theodore Persico, Jr., was also among the 13 alleged mobsters arrested

Colombo underboss Benjamin ‘The Claw’ Castellazzo (left), 83, and high-ranking capo Theodore ‘Skinny Teddy’ Persico Jr. (right), were among the 13 arrested mobsters, feds said

‘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.

The 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 pleaded 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.

Biggest mafia busts in history 

November 14, 1957: State troopers raid a national meeting of mafia leaders at the home of mobster Joseph ‘Joe the Barber’ Barbara in Apalachin, New York. Dozens escape and the 58 taken into custody insisted they were there to deliver well-wishes to an ailing friend, and were eventually released. The incident raised major national awareness of the mafia. 

February 1985: US Attorney Rudy Giuliani indicted 11 Mafia leaders, including the heads of New York’s five dominant crime families. The Mafia Commission Trial delivered a crushing blow to the mob.

December 11, 1990: Detectives raid the Ravenite Social Club, arresting Gambino boss John Gotti Jr, his underboss Salvatore ‘Sammy the Bull’ Gravano and Gambino consigliere Frank ‘Frankie Loc’ LoCascio. 

January 20, 2011: Authorities arrested 119 organized crime suspects in what the FBI called the largest single-day operation against the Mafia in history. 

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