Colombo War's Last Hit Fueled Michael Persico's Extended Prison Sentence


Alas, how terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man that's wise! 
― Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

Michael Persico, who the Feds say is a powerful associate in the Colombo crime family, was sentenced to five years in prison, two more years than prosecutors recommended, last Friday.

The judge factored in an uncharged murder when she sentenced him.

He was concerned about this happening all along; it is what dragged out his plea agreement for six years. 
Michael Persico of Colombo crime family, alleged
Michael Persico

Persico was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court by Judge Dora Irizarry, who spelled out the reason for the extra time, noting that prosecutors had proved Persico’s role in the 1993 gangland hit by "more than a preponderance of the evidence."

The Daily News reported that: "An acting Colombo capo-turned-informant said Persico helped with weapons for the hit and told him someone knew where to find (Orena faction underboss Joseph) Scopo."

Prosecutors for years believed Persico was involved in the murder of Scopo, who reportedly had ties to former Gambino boss John Gotti, himself a key player in the third Colombo war, which ran its bloody course from 1991 to 1993.

In 2012, Michael Persico copped to loaning $100,000 to trucking-company businessmen and charging them a whopper of an annual interest rate: 45 percent. The deal -- which was supposed to give him immunity for alleged involvement in two murders -- set sentencing guidelines at between 37 and 46 months in prison.

(But this case has dragged on even longer. The Feds accused Michael Persico of a range of crimes in a sweeping indictment filed in 2010; it included everything from racketeering to murders, but as per his plea deal, inked in 2012 just as his trial on the indictment was about to commence, he only copped to "conspiracy to commit extortionate extension of credit," aka, loan-sharking.)

The Mafia Prince, as he's dubbed in press reports, wanted the deal scrapped, claiming prosecutors were pushing for a stiffer prison term in a court filing that specifically mentioned his alleged role in the two murders, though the Feds have since whittled down the charge to the Scopo murder only.

As per federal guidelines, Persico was to be sentenced to three years in prison for the 2012 loan sharking plea. However, Judge Irizarry slammed him with two extra years by factoring in other crimes that Perisco was not found guilty of. 

Scopo’s murder was “part of protecting your family and your family’s role with the Colombo crime family,” Irizarry told Persico in the courtroom.

As reported in a previous story, John Gotti “started the Colombo war," Michael (Mikie Scars) DiLeonardo told Cosa Nostra News.

"He wanted to control the Colombo family. He had us; he had the Bonanno family – and he wanted the Colombos. It was (Joseph) Scopo he tried to work through to control the Commission.”

Gotti had issues with the Colombo crime family's boss, Carmine Persico.

Michael said as much in testimony.

“John Sr. instigated the war,” DiLeonardo told a Brooklyn jury regarding the early-1990s war between Persico and Vittorio "Vic" Orena.

John Gotti, with Jackie Nose D'Amico, left, Peter Gotti, far right.

The former-Gambino capo testified that Gotti personally favored Orena, but he clarified that Gotti’s goal was a power grab. 

“He figured if he could get ‘Junior’ Persico out as boss and Vic Orena in, he would have another vote on the Commission [the ruling body of Mafia families],” he said.

Michael Persico chose not to address the court before sentencing last Friday.

Persico, 61, joins brother, Alphonse (Allie Boy) Persico, 63, the onetime acting boss of the Colombo crime family who’s serving a life sentence for the murder of  William (Wild Bill) Cutolo, a powerful member of the Orena faction who rose to become the Colombo crime family's official underboss after the war. 

Wild Bill was killed in 1999 when members of the Colombo hierarchy believed he posed a threat.

Scopo was described as a former union official and a high-level boss in the Colombo family.

He was shot to death in October of 1993 by several hooded gunmen in front of his house in Queens as he was returning from dinner with his nephew and future son-in-law. He was 47 years old at the time.

A slew of mobsters has been put away for the Scopo murder (as well as that initial second murder that Persico was believed to have been involved with, the 1992 murder of Michael Devine) either directly or because of "uncharged factors."

"It was an open secret in 1992 that Michael Devine was whacked because he was having an affair with Allie Boy's former wife," the Staten Island Advance noted in a 2010 report. Allie Boy was even caught on tape in a Michigan prison raging against his then-wife Teresa's liaison with Devine.

"A day after the owner of the New Dorp nightclub Hedges was found dead in his idling car in a New Springville garage with several bullets in his head and a pair of conspicuous shots to the groin, law enforcement sources told the Advance that pictures of Persico's wife, Teresa, were found in Devine's home and that he had been warned to stay away from her."

Frank (Frankie Blue Eyes) Sparaco -- allegedly a once-feared shooter for Allie Boy -- told prosecutors that Michael Persico was involved in the hit, Jerry Capeci noted at the time on Gang Land News.
Frank Sparaco, alleged Colombo crime family shooter.

That had limited impact, however, when Sparaco was revealed to be a "troubled" informant, in the Gregory Scarpa mold.

Angela Clemente, a forensic analyst, revealed that she "determine(d)... that the FBI positively knew that their informants Frank Sparaco and Gregory Scarpa were committing murders" because the turncoats were ratting out each other.

The feds acknowledged Sparaco and Scarpa "lied" and "misrepresented" to the FBI their involvement in murders during the Colombo civil war. Sparaco lied about his role in the 1992 murders of Michael Imbergamo and bystander John Minerva. He is also implicated in the 1992 brutal whacking of Devine.

Scopo was underboss of the Orena faction. By the time of his death, Scopo's father, Ralph Sr., had already died in prison while serving his 100-year prison sentence for a Federal racketeering conviction resulting from the Commission Case.

"Joe Scopo was definitely a big score," and a "tremendous loss" to the Orena faction, as a law-enforcement official said in a news report the day after the hit.

Teddy Persico Jr., Carmine Persico's nephew, was sentenced in 2014 to 12 years in prison for the Scopo murder.

The Feds believe they had the actual shooter back in May 1999, when John Pappa was convicted of racketeering, drug dealing and four murders, including the 12th and final killing of the Colombo family war.


  1. This is one of those cases where they talk about him being an associate as if he had any less standing then a made man. Inducted or not he is a big fish and part of the Persicos. Its unique for the judge to add on time also. Interesting case all around.

    1. I'm shocked the judge came out and said, You were never charged with these crimes, but a "preponderance of evidence" says you were. And who is the unnamed turncoat? SPARACO????

    2. "Says you are guilty," not "says you were." I miss disqus only because it let you edit your comments.....

    3. Hey Ed,
      Think those quotes by the judge could give Michael a basis for appeal to get his sentence reduced to the original 3 years? Judges adding time for crimes that the defendant has not been convicted of just sets a really bad precedent, no matter how guilty the defendant may be of those accusations. That kind of precedent can easily bleed into non-organized crime trials.

    4. Exactly what I was thinking. I dont know about NYC or if it was Fed court but in California the whole concept of "Preponderance of Evidence " is strictly used only in Civil Cases i.e. lawsuits, divorce etc... Ive never heard of a judge in a criminal case just adding time using that standard??? The whole point of criminal cases is proof beyond a reasonable doubt! The whole thing baffles me?? puff

  2. Not sure whats up with the mobile site but its difficult to post. Keeps freezing up and erasing my comments etc... is it just my phone or anyone else having these issues? Puffdaugherty

    1. I'm going to change the layout of the blog -- again... wish the Blogger platform had its sht together

  3. Thank you very much for sharing such a beautiful article.


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