After Lamming It, Colombo Consiglieri Ralph DiMatteo Surrenders To Feds In Manhattan

While teams of FBI agents, NYPD detectives, and other law enforcement personnel were moving to arrest the 10 members and associates of New York's youngest and most violent Mafia family (as well as a single Bonanno wiseguy) on September 14 on racketeering, extortion, and other charges related to the infiltration of a Queens-based labor union, the alleged consiglieri of the Colombo family was already in Florida, having departed his Merrick, Long Island, home the day before for a scheduled trip.

Ralph DiMatteo
Gamboling in the Sunshine State? Ralph DiMatteo

When the Feds realized that the Colombo family's number three, Ralph DiMatteo, was the only person to successfully evade their dragnet, they declared him a fugitive, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn.

DiMatteo attorney Mathew Mari was negotiating the consiglieri's surrender with the Feds on Tuesday, when talks collapsed, as a source told the News. (Talks collapsing means, we'd bet, the Feds said no dice to a request to allow DiMatteo to stay out on bail. They want all the wiseguys to await trial in the clink.)

By Wednesday, DiMatteo, 66, was back in the wind--and his son, Angelo, taunted the Feds by posting to Twitter a photo of his parents, see above: the grim-looking consiglieri wears swim trunks and stands waist deep in a swimming pool while his wife lolls behind him in the beautiful blue water. (The News reported that Angelo had also posted a rat emoji to his Twitter account the day of the arrests, as if suggesting someone in the Colombo family had talked to the Feds.)

On Friday, DiMatteo turned himself into the FBI at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan, according to Brooklyn prosecutors. DiMatteo pleaded not guilty to all the charges Fri­day af­ter­noon in Brook­lyn Fed­eral Court in front of Judge Allen Ross. He was or­dered held at the Metropoli­tan De­ten­tion Cen­ter in Sun­set Park, Brook­lyn.

Prosecutors allege in the indictment that Colombo members and associates, including the administration of the crime family, used threats of violence as part of a 20-year effort to infiltrate and loot  a union--which Gang Land News identified as Local 621 of the United Construction Trades and Industrial Employees Union in Flushing, Queens, including the union's employee health insurance program.

In addition to DeMatteo, the indictment named Colombo boss Andrew (Mush) Russo; underboss Benjamin Castellazzo; alleged capos Theodore (Skinny Teddy) Persico Jr., Richard Ferrara, and Vincent Ricciardo; soldier Michael Uvino; associates Thomas Costa and Domenick Ricciardo; and Bonanno soldier John Ragano. (Skinny Teddy Persico is the heir apparent who was slated to assume control of the crime family as its official boss once he was off supervised release.)

DiMatteo is charged with racketeering, extortion, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to steal and embezzle health benefit funds, attempted health care fraud, and conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

The 49-page detention memo highlights the role of the consiglieri in the Colombo crime family.

As per wiretap interceptions made between August 2020 and March 2021, DiMatteo, who has prior convictions for conspiracy to distribute heroin and money laundering conspiracy, was referred to as "number three" by members and associates of the crime family. His role included summoning wiseguys and associates to meetings, which were generally held at Russo’s home in Glen Head, Long Island, or in “Brooklyn,” meaning a certain garage in Gravesend.

In late 2019, the senior administration of the Colombo family--meaning Russo, Castellazzo, DiMatteo, Persico, and Ferrara--became directly involved in the effort to rob the union. Their role included directly overseeing Vincent Ricciardo’s collection of salary payments from union personnel. The plan was to expand their hold on the union and its health fund to generate more than $10,000 a month in kickbacks.

From at least September 2020 until about November 2020, DiMatteo oversaw the infiltration of the union, speaking and meeting regularly with Vincent Ricciardo for updates and to strategize.

In 2001, Ralph DiMatteo was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering and sentenced to 18 months in prison. In 1985, DiMatteo was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin and drug trafficking offenses and was sentenced to 96 months behind bars.