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Mob boss Carmine ‘The Snake’ Perisco was actually a ‘rat’, court papers reveal


Top Colombo mob boss Carmine ‘The Snake’ Perisco was actually a ‘rat’ as court papers reveal he was a ‘top echelon informant’

  • Carmine ‘The Snake’ Perisco was an FBI informant, new court document claims
  • David Schoen, representing former Colombo boss Victor Orena, filed the papers 
  • They include a list of names involved in federal ‘Top Echelon Informant Program’
  • Schoen is currently seeking compassionate release of his client Orena 


The infamous Colombo crime family boss Carmine ‘The Snake’ Perisco was a ‘Top Echelon Informant’, according to newly released court documents.

Carmine’s name appeared on a Government document, dated November 1971, which listed the names of members involved in a ‘Top Echelon Informant Program’.

‘The Snake’ was just one of four members of the Colombo family whose names appeared on the document, the New York Daily News reports.

The document has come to light as part of a Freedom of Information lawsuit by David Schoen, who represents one-time Colombo boss Victor ‘Little Vic’ Orena, 87, who is currently serving a life sentence.

The infamous Colombo crime family boss Carmine ‘The Snake’ Perisco (pictured) was a ‘Top Echelon Informant’, according to newly released court documents

Carmine Perisco took control of the Colombo family following the shooting of former boss Joe Colombo in 1971 – and despite stints in prison, ‘The Snake’ maintained control of the family and built up their fortune.

He initially earned his nickname of ‘The Snake’ in the late 1950s while the Profaci family were embroiled in an internal war, with Perisco initially siding with the Gallo Borthers, before being convinced to switch allegiances and side with Joe Profaci. 

It is believed that Orena challenged Perisco in the early 1990s to take over as head of the crime family, leading to a bloody mob war.

The war led to 12 people, including 3 innocent bystanders being killed, and the crime family seeing 58 members being imprisoned. 

The document has come to light as part of a Freedom of Information lawsuit by David Schoen, who represents one-time Colombo boss Victor 'Little Vic' Orena, 87, (pictured) who is currently serving a life sentence

The document has come to light as part of a Freedom of Information lawsuit by David Schoen, who represents one-time Colombo boss Victor ‘Little Vic’ Orena, 87, (pictured) who is currently serving a life sentence

However, Orena, who is now senile, has claimed that he was set up by Gregory Scarpa Jr – a turncoat member of the family – and his handler Lindley DeVecchio.

Perisco was charged alongside the heads of four other crime families as part of the Mafia Commission Trial, which was led by Rudy Giuliani.

He later died in prison at the age of 85 in 2019 while serving a 139-year sentence. 

Schoen is attempting to seek compassionate release of his client from prison.

And the newly filed list of informants part of a claim that Orena was imprisoned as a result of FBI misconduct. 

Speaking about the newly disclosed document, Schoen said: ‘I think it changes the entire dynamic of how this so-called Colombo war has been sold.

‘I never wanted to disclose this document. I think it potentially puts people in danger.’ 

Schoen also said that his newly submitted document explains ‘many events’ which relate to Orena’s case, among others. 

The attorney claimed to have been so confident in the legitimacy of his list of names, that he approached the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and other federal agents, who did not indicate any reason to believe the document was not legitimate or that it was inaccurate. 

Responding to Schoen’s list of names, attorney Anthony DiPietro, who previously served as Carmine Perisco’s lawyer, said: ‘There is no truth to this allegation and the supporting record is substantively worthless… I can attest that he was not an informant nor did he provide information to the Government.’ 

He initially earned his nickname of 'The Snake' in the late 1950s while the Profaci family were embroiled in an internal war, with Perisco initially siding with the Gallo Borthers, before being convinced to switch allegiances and side with Joe Profaci

He initially earned his nickname of ‘The Snake’ in the late 1950s while the Profaci family were embroiled in an internal war, with Perisco initially siding with the Gallo Borthers, before being convinced to switch allegiances and side with Joe Profaci

Who were the Colombo crime family?

The Colombo Crime Family is the youngest of the big five families which run the organized Mafia in America.

It was initially recognized as the Profaci Crime Family, with Joe Profaci leading the family following the assassinations of Giuseppe “Joe The Boss” Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano.

Profaci ruled the family until the 1950s when internal feuds led to three conflicts.

The first was led by Joe Gallo, but this revolt died down after Gallo was arrested and Profaci died from cancer.

The family remained divided until the 1960s when Joseph Colombo assumed control, however, after he was shot in 1971 following Gallo’s release from prison, a second family war broke out.

Colombo lyals under the command of Perisco defeated the Gallos and exiled them to the Genovese family.

A third internal family war eventually broke out in the 1990s when acting boss Victor Orena tried to seize power while Perisco was in prison.

The family was divided in two, and ended after two years when Orena was imprisoned. 

Perisco continued to lead the family until his death behind bars in 2019. 

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