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Colombo crime family

Colombo crime family
Josephcolombo.jpg
Joseph Colombo was boss of the family from 1963 to 1971.
Founded1928; 91 years ago (1928)
Founded byJoseph Profaci
Named afterJoseph Colombo, Sr.
Founding locationNew York City, United States
Years activec. 1928–present
TerritoryVarious neighborhoods in New York City, New York. Territory in Long Island, Massachusetts, South Florida, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.
EthnicityPeople of Italian descent as "made men", and other ethnicities as "associates"
Membership (est.)90–110 made members (2017 estimate)[1]
Criminal activitiesArms trafficking, arson, assault, battery, bribery, burglary, cigarette smuggling, chop shop, conspiracy, contract killing, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, extortion, fencing, fraud, illegal gambling, larceny, loansharking, money laundering, murder, racketeering, robbery, skimming, theft, truck hijacking, tax evasion, and protection racket.
AlliesBonanno crime family
Gambino crime family
Lucchese crime family
Genovese crime family
DeCavalcante crime family
Patriarca crime family
Chicago Outfit
New Orleans crime family
Buffalo crime family
RivalsVarious gangs over NYC including their allies

The Colombo crime family (pronounced [koˈlombo]) is the youngest of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal organization known as the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra). It was during Lucky Luciano's organization of the American Mafia after the Castellammarese War, and the assassinations of Giuseppe "Joe The Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, that the gang run by Joseph Profaci was recognized as the Profaci crime family.

The family traces its roots to a bootlegging gang formed by Joseph Profaci in 1928. Profaci would rule his family without interruption or challenge until the late 1950s.[2][3] The family has been torn by three internal wars. The first war took place during the late 1950s when capo Joe Gallo revolted against Profaci, but it lost momentum in the early 1960s when Gallo was arrested and Profaci died of cancer. The family was not reunited until the early 1960s under Joseph Colombo. In 1971, the second family war began after Gallo's release from prison and the shooting of Colombo. Colombo supporters led by Carmine Persico won the second war after the exiling of the remaining Gallo crew to the Genovese family in 1975. The family would then enjoy over 15 years of peace under Persico and his string of acting bosses.

In 1991, the third and bloodiest war erupted when acting boss Victor Orena tried to seize power from the imprisoned Carmine Persico. The family split into factions loyal to Orena and Persico, and two years of mayhem ensued. It ended in 1993, with 12 family members dead and Orena imprisoned, leaving Persico the winner more or less by default. He was left with a family decimated by war. Persico continued to run the family until his death in 2019, but it has never recovered from the war. In the 2000s, the family was further crippled by multiple convictions in federal racketeering cases and numerous members becoming government witnesses. Many levels of law enforcement believe that the Colombo crime family is the weakest of the Five Families of New York City.[4] On March 7, 2019, longtime family boss Carmine Persico died in prison.[5]

History

Origins

In September 1921, Joseph Profaci arrived in New York City from Villabate, Sicily, Italy.[2] After struggling in Chicago with his businesses, Profaci moved back to Brooklyn in 1925 and became a well-known olive oil importer. On September 27, Profaci obtained his American citizenship.[2] With his olive-oil-importing business doing well, Profaci made deals with friends from his old town in Sicily, and one of his largest buyers was Tampa mobster Ignazio Italiano. Profaci controlled a small criminal gang that operated mainly in Brooklyn. The dominant Cosa Nostra groups in Brooklyn were led by Salvatore D'Aquila, Frankie Yale, Giuseppe Masseria, and Nicolo Schirò.

On July 1, 1928, Brooklyn mobster Frankie Yale was murdered by Chicago Outfit boss Al Capone's hit-men.[6] Capone murdered Yale because Yale refused to give Capone, a Neapolitan, control over the Unione Siciliana fraternal association.[6][7] Yale's murder allowed Profaci and his brother in-law Joseph Magliocco to gain territory for their small gang.[2] Profaci's gang gained territory in Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge, Red Hook and Carroll Gardens while the rest of Yale's group went to the Masseria family.

On October 10, 1928, the capo di tutti capi, Salvatore "Toto" D'Aquila, was murdered, resulting in a fight for D'Aquila's territory.[2] To prevent a gang war in Brooklyn, a Mafia meeting was called on December 5, 1928, at the Statler Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. The site was chosen because it was neutral territory outside New York under Porrello crime family control and protection. The main topic was dividing D'Aquila's territory.[2] Attendees representing Brooklyn included Profaci, Magliocco, Vincent Mangano (who reported to D'Aqulia family boss Manfredi Mineo), Joseph Bonanno (who represented Salvatore Maranzano and the Castellammarese Clan), Chicago mobsters Joseph Guinta and Pasquale Lolordo, and Tampa mobster Ignazio Italiano.[2] At the end of the meeting, Profaci received a share of D'Aqulia's Brooklyn territory, with Magliocco as his second-in-command.

The Castellammarese War

Months after the D'Aquila murder, Joe Masseria began a campaign to become capo di tutti capi ('boss of bosses') in the United States demanding tribute from the remaining three Mafia groups in New York City which included the Reina family, the Castellammarese Clan and the Profaci family.[8] Castellammarese Clan boss Salvatore Maranzano began his own campaign to become 'boss of bosses', this started the Castellammarese War. Masseria along with his ally Alfred Manfredi, the new boss of the D'Aquila family ordered the murder of Gaetano Reina. Masseria believed that Reina was going to support Maranzano to become the new 'boss of bosses'. On February 26, 1930, Gaetano Reina was murdered and Masseria appointed Joseph Pinzolo as the new boss of the Reina family. During the war Profaci remained neutral, while he secretly supported Maranzano.

The Castellammarese War ended when Charles "Lucky" Luciano, a Masseria lieutenant, betrayed him to Maranzano. Luciano set up the murder of Masseria on April 15, 1931.[8] Maranzano then became the new capo di tutti capi in the United States. Within a few months, Maranzano and Luciano were plotting to kill each other. On September 10, 1931, Luciano had Maranzano killed and created the Mafia Commission. Now there would be five independent Cosa Nostra families in New York City and twenty one additional families across the United States that were regulated by a supreme Commission in New York. Profaci and Magliocco were confirmed as boss and underboss, respectively, of what was now known as the Profaci crime family.[8]

First Family War (1960–1963)

Joseph Profaci in 1959.

Joseph Profaci had become a wealthy Mafia boss and was known as "the olive-oil and tomato paste king of America".[9] One of Profaci's most unpopular demands was a $25 monthly tribute from every soldier in his family. In the late 1950s, capo Frank "Frankie Shots" Abbatemarco became a problem for Joe Profaci. Abbatemarco controlled a lucrative policy game that earned him nearly $2.5 million a year with an average of $7,000 a day in Red Hook, Brooklyn.[9][10] In early 1959, Abbatemarco, with the support of Gallo brothers and the Garfield Boys, began refusing to pay tribute to Profaci.[10] By late 1959, Abbatemarco's debt had grown to $50,000 and Profaci allegedly ordered Joe Gallo to murder Abbatemarco. However, other versions of the story indicate that Gallo played no part in this murder.[10] In return for Abbatemarco's murder, Profaci allegedly agreed to give the Gallos control over Abbatemarco's policy game.[11] On November 4, 1959, Frank Abbatemarco walked out of his cousin's bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn and was shot and killed by Joseph Gioielli and another hitman.[10][12] Profaci then ordered the Gallos to hand over Abbatemaro's son Anthony. The Gallos refused and Profaci refused to give them the policy game. This was the start of the first family war.[10] The Gallo brothers and the Garfield boys (led by Carmine Persico) were aligned against Profaci and his loyalists.[9][11]

On February 27, 1961 the Gallos kidnapped four of Profaci's top men: underboss Magliocco, Frank Profaci (Joe Profaci's brother), capo Salvatore Musacchio and soldier John Scimone. Profaci himself eluded capture and flew to sanctuary in Florida.[9] While holding the hostages, Larry and Albert Gallo sent Joe Gallo to California. Profaci's consigliere Charles "the Sidge" LoCicero negotiated with the Gallos and all the hostages were released peacefully.[13] However, Profaci had no intention of honoring this peace agreement. On August 20, 1961 Joseph Profaci ordered the murder of Gallo members Joseph "Joe Jelly" Gioielli and Larry Gallo. Gunmen allegedly murdered Gioilli after inviting him to go deep sea fishing. Gallo survived a strangulation attempt in the Sahara club of East Flatbush by Carmine Persico and Salvatore "Sally" D'Ambrosio after a police officer intervened.[9][11] The Gallos then began calling Persico "The Snake"; he had betrayed them, the war continued on resulting in nine murders and three disappearances.[11]

In late November 1961, Joe Gallo was sentenced to seven-to-fourteen years in prison for murder.[14] In 1962, Joe Profaci died of cancer, leaving Joe Magliocco, his longtime underboss, as the new boss. The war continued on between the two factions. In 1963, Carmine Persico survived a car bombing and his enforcer Hugh McIntosh was shot in the groin as he attempted kill Larry Gallo.[14] On May 19, 1963, a Gallo hit team shot Carmine Persico multiple times, but Persico survived.[14]

In 1963, Magliocco and Bonanno boss Joseph Bonanno hatched an audacious plan to murder bosses Carlo Gambino, Tommy Lucchese, Stefano Magaddino and Frank DeSimone and take over the Mafia Commission.[15] Joseph Magliocco gave the murder contact to Joseph Colombo. Colombo either feared for his life, or sensed an opportunity for advancement, and instead reported the plot to The Commission. The Commission, realizing that Bonanno was the real mastermind, ordered both Magliocco and Bonanno to appear for a Mob trial. Bonanno went into hiding, but a badly shaken Magliocco appeared and confessed everything. He was fined $43,000 and forced into retirement.[15]

Colombo and Italian American Civil Rights League

The Commission rewarded Colombo for his loyalty by awarding him the Profaci family, which he renamed the Colombo family. The 41-year-old Colombo was the youngest boss in New York at the time, and the first New York Mafia boss to have been born and raised in the United States.

Along with former Gallo crew member Nicholas Bianco and New England family boss Raymond Patriarca, Colombo was able to end the war.[9] As a reward for his loyalty, Bianco was made into the Colombo family.[16] As boss, Colombo brought peace and stability to the broken crime family. However, some Cosa Nostra bosses viewed Colombo as Carlo Gambino's "puppet boss" and felt he never deserved the title.[9] Colombo's leadership was never challenged due to his support from Carlo Gambino. In 1968, Gallo crew leader Larry Gallo died of cancer.[9]

In 1969, Colombo founded the Italian-American Civil Rights League, dedicated to fighting discrimination against Italian-Americans. Many mobsters disapproved of the League because it brought unwanted public attention to the Cosa Nostra.[9] Colombo ignored their concerns and continued gaining support for his league. On July 28, 1970, Colombo held the first league demonstration, a big success.[9] In 1971, months before the second demonstration, the other New York bosses ordered their men to stay away from the demonstration and not support Colombo's cause. In a sign that the New York bosses had turned on Colombo, the league's chief organizer, Gambino family capo Joseph DeCicco, resigned ostensibly due to ill health.[9] In 1971, Joe Gallo was also released from prison. At the time of his release, Gallo said the 1963 peace agreement did not apply to him because he was in prison when it was negotiated.[17]

Second Family War (1971–1975)

On June 28, 1971, Colombo held the second League demonstration at Columbus Circle in Manhattan.[9] As Colombo prepared to speak, an African-American man, Jerome Johnson, walked up to Colombo and shot him in the back of the head three times; seconds later, Colombo's bodyguards shot Johnson to death.[9] The shooting did not kill Colombo but left him paralyzed and permanently incapacitated for the last seven years of his life; he died of natural causes on May 22, 1978.[18] Although many in the Colombo family blamed Joe Gallo for the shooting, the police eventually concluded that Johnson was a lone gunman.[17] Regardless, the Colombo shooting triggered the Second Colombo war.

Colombo's consigliere Joseph Yacovelli became the family acting boss, and he directed a new campaign to murder Joe Gallo and his crew.[18] On April 7, 1972, acting on a quick tip, four gunmen walked into Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy and killed Joe Gallo as he was dining with his family.[18] Looking for revenge, Albert Gallo sent a gunman from Las Vegas to the Neapolitan Noodle restaurant in Manhattan, where Yacovelli, Alphonse Persico, and Langella were dining one day. However, the gunman did not recognize the mobsters and shot four innocent diners instead, killing two of them.[19] After this assassination attempt, Yacovelli fled New York, leaving Carmine Persico as the new boss.[20]

The Second Colombo war continued on and off for the next several years. In 1975, the Gallo faction itself split into two groups that started fighting each other. To finally resolve the conflict, the New York families negotiated an agreement in which Albert Gallo and his remaining crew left the Colombo family and peacefully joined the Genovese family. The Gallo wars were finally over.[21]

The family under Persico

Following the high-profile media exposure of Joseph Colombo and the murderous excesses of Joe Gallo, the Colombo family entered a period of comparative calm and stability. With Colombo in a coma, the family leadership went to Thomas DiBella, a man adept at evading the authorities since his sole bootlegging conviction in 1932. However, DiBella was unable to prevent the Gambino family from chipping away at Colombo rackets, and the Colombos declined in power.[22] Poor health forced DiBella to retire in 1977, and Colombo died in 1978. The Colombo family was facing another power vacuum.

Gennaro "Jerry Lang" Langella

During the 1970s, Carmine Persico had grown in stature within the family and was considered to be the clear successor as boss. However, Persico had spent much of this time in prison, and it was unclear if he could effectively rule the family from prison. Nevertheless, Persico took control, designating Gennaro "Jerry Lang" Langella as his street boss until his release in 1979. In 1986, both men were convicted on massive Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges in the Mafia Commission Trial and sentenced to 100 years. In a separate RICO trial related only to the Colombos, Persico was convicted with several other family heavyweights and sentenced to 39 years in prison.

Mafia historian and New York Times organized-crime reporter Selwyn Raab later wrote that the Colombos suffered more long-term damage than any other family as a result of the Commission Trial. Raab pointed out that Persico was by far the youngest boss in New York and "at the peak of his abilities." Although he was 53 years old at the time of the Commission Trial, he had already headed the family for 14 years. In contrast, the other New York bosses were in their seventies and likely would have ceded power to mafiosi of Persico's generation even if they had not been sent to prison. Raab believed that Persico would have had a long reign ahead of him had the trial not intervened.[8]

Persico knew that it was likely he would not have been able to resume active command of the family again; even if his conviction in the Commission case had been overturned on appeal, the 39-year sentence in the Colombo Trial alone could have amounted to a life sentence at his age. However, he invoked his right to retain the boss's title in order to ensure the family's illicit profits would still flow to him. With few exceptions, Mafia custom holds that a boss retains his title until he retires or dies. As further insurance, Persico named his older brother, Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, as acting boss. However, Allie Boy skipped bail on loansharking charges a year later. Persico wanted to name his son, Alphonse "Little Allie Boy" Persico, as acting boss, but Little Allie Boy had also been convicted in the 1986 "Colombo Trial." Instead, Persico named the capo of Little Allie Boy's former crew, Victor "Little Vic" Orena, as acting boss. Although Persico granted Orena the power to induct new members and order hits on his own authority—powers rarely granted to an acting boss—it was understood that he was merely a placeholder until Little Allie Boy could return to the streets.

Third Family War (1991–1993)

Orena was initially content with serving as acting boss. By 1990, however, Orena had come to believe Persico was out of touch and causing the family to miss out on lucrative opportunities. He was also alarmed at Persico's plans for a made-for-television biography, fearing that prosecutors could use it as evidence in the same way they had used Joe Bonanno's tell-all book as evidence in the Commission Trial. He therefore decided to take over the family himself.[8] Using his strong ties to Gambino boss John Gotti, Orena petitioned the Mafia Commission to recognize him as boss. Unwilling to cause more conflict, the Commission refused. Orena then instructed consigliere Carmine Sessa to poll the capos on whether Orena should replace Persico. Instead, Sessa alerted Persico that Orena was staging a palace coup. An enraged Persico ordered a hit on Orena. On June 21, 1991, when Orena arrived at his home in Cedarhurst on Long Island, he found gunmen under Sessa's leadership waiting for him. However, Orena managed to escape before the gunmen could strike. The third Colombo war had begun. Orena sent his younger brother Michael "Mickey Brown" Orena's 2 sons Michael and younger son William "Willy Boy" Orena into Brooklyn on a murder mission. It is unclear what roles the 2 brothers played in the murders during the war, but F.B.I agents are certain they were responsible for the disappearance of 15 associates and business partners of the Orena clan. William "willy Boy" Orena was picked up getting off of the Fire Island Ferry in Sayville Long Island, in his possession were 8 pistols believed to be used in the bloodshed and $43,000 in cash. During Willy Boy's stay at the Riverhead County Jail, all 8 of the firearms disappeared from the evidence locker.[22]

Twelve people, including three innocent bystanders, died in this gang war, and 18 associates have never been seen again.[23] More than 80 made members and associates from both sides of the Colombo family were convicted, jailed or indicted. These included Persico's brother Theodore "Teddy" Persico and his son Alphonse Persico, DeRoss, Orena's nephews William V Orena his older brother Micheal Orena and Orena's two sons, Victor, Jr. Orena and John Orena. While both sides appealed to the Commission for help, the war continued. In November 1991, Gregory Scarpa, a Persico loyalist, was driving his daughter and granddaughter home when several Orena gunmen ambushed them. Scarpa and his relatives managed to escape.

The war continued until 1992, when Orena was convicted on massive RICO charges and sentenced to 100 years in prison. As it turned out, the real winners in the war were federal prosecutors. They had initially made little headway in their efforts to undermine the gang. As the war raged, though, at least 12 members turned informer, mostly to save their lives. The highest-profile member to flip was the consigliere, Sessa. With their help, 58 soldiers and associates—42 from the Persico faction and 16 from the Orena faction—were sent to prison. George Stamboulidis, who prosecuted most of the cases arising from the war, later said that the two years of bloodletting helped prosecutors destroy the family from within. He credited the large number of informers with helping them to build big cases sooner than they would have otherwise been able to. Raab later wrote that Persico's attempts to keep control of the family from prison nearly destroyed it. By his estimate, 70 of the family's members and associates were convicted as a result of the war, and the family was down to around 75 made members.[8]

While the Colombo war raged, the Commission refused to allow any Colombo member to sit on the Commission[24] and considered dissolving the family. Lucchese underboss Anthony Casso proposed to merge the family with his own to end the war,[25] while in 2000 plans were proposed to split its manpower and resources among the remaining families.[26] In 2002, with the help of Bonanno family boss Joseph Massino, the other families finally allowed the Colombos to rejoin the Commission.

The family after Third Colombo War

Mugshot of Ralph DeLeo

With Orena out of the picture, the way was clear for "Little Allie Boy" to become acting boss after his 1995 parole. However, he didn't rule for long. In 1999, he was arrested in Fort Lauderdale after being caught in possession of a pistol and shotgun; as a convicted felon he was barred from carrying guns. Shortly afterward, he ordered the murder of underboss William "Wild Bill" Cutolo, an Orena supporter during the Third Colombo War. Cutolo's son, vowing revenge, offered to wear a wire and pose as a prospective Colombo associate. Based on evidence from this wire, Little Allie Boy was indicted on RICO charges. Realizing he stood no chance of acquittal, he pleaded guilty to the state charges in February 2000 and to the RICO charges in December 2001. In 2004, Alphonse Persico and underboss John "Jackie" DeRoss were indicted for the Cutolo murder. In December 2007, both men were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Family consigliere Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace took over running the family until 2003 when he was imprisoned on murder and racketeering charges.

The family then came under the influence of Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, who took over as street boss. In June 2008, Gioeli, underboss John "Sonny" Franzese, former consigliere Joel Cacace, captain Dino Calabro, soldier Dino Saracino and several other members and associates were indicted on multiple racketeering charges which included loan sharking, extortion and three murders dating back to the Colombo Wars.[27][28][29] If convicted, they are all facing life sentences.

After Gioeli was imprisoned, Ralph F. DeLeo, who operated from Boston, Massachusetts, became the family's street boss. On December 17, 2009, the FBI charged DeLeo and Colombo family members with drug trafficking, extortion and loansharking in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Florida and Arkansas.[30][31][32][33]

2010s

With DeLeo's imprisoned, Andrew "Andy Mush" Russo, once again took control of the family. On January 20, 2011, street boss Andrew Russo, acting underboss Benjamin Castellazzo, consigliere Richard Fusco, and others were charged with murder, narcotics trafficking, and labor racketeering.[34][35][36] In September 2011, Castellazzo and Fusco pleaded guilty to reduced charges.[37] In December 2011, it was revealed that capo Reynold Maragni wore a wire for the FBI and gained information about Thomas Gioeli's role in the 1999 murder of William Cutolo.[38]

On July 11, 2018, four associates and members of the Colombo crime family were part of a 32-count indictment, some of the charges included money laundering, racketeering, illegal gambling and extortion. The crimes allegedly took place between December 2010 and June 2018 predominately in Brooklyn and Staten Island.[39][40] Two made members of the Colombo family Vito DiFalco and Jerry Ciauri were among the accused.[41][42] Gambino crime family soldier Anthony Licata was also indicted.[41]

On March 7, 2019, Colombo family boss Carmine Persico died in prison.[5] On October 3, 2019 capo Joseph Amato along with Daniel Capaldo and Thomas Scorcia were indicted on 2014 Staten Island extortion and loansharking charges.[43]

Historical leadership

Boss (official and acting)

Street boss

  • 1987 — Ruling PanelBenedetto Aloi, Vincent "Jimmy" Angelino and Joseph T. Tomasello – disbanded September 1987[61]
  • 1991–1993 — Joseph T. Tomasello[62]
  • 1993–1994 — Ruling Panel – Joseph T. Tomasello, Theodore "Teddy" Persico and Joseph Baudanza – disbanded 1994
  • 1994–1996 — Alphonse "Little Allie Boy" Persico – became acting boss
  • 1996–1999 — Andrew "Andy Mush" Russo – imprisoned
  • 2000–2003 — Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace – imprisoned January 2003
  • 2003–2008 — Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli[63] – imprisoned June 2008
  • 2008–2009 — Ralph F. DeLeo[32] – operated from New England, imprisoned December 2009[30]
  • 2009–2010 — Ruling Panel – Theodore N. Persico, Jr. (jailed)[64] and others
  • 2010–present — Andrew "Andy Mush" Russo[59][65] – jailed January 2011[34]

Underboss (official and acting)

Consigliere (official and acting)

  • 1931–1954 — Salvatore Profaci – Joseph Profaci's brother; died[80]
  • 1954–1963 — Carlaggero "Charles the Sidge" LoCicero[81][82][83] – murdered 1968[84]
  • 1963–1969 — Benedetto D'Alessandro[83]
  • 1970–1973 — Joseph "Joey Yack" Yacovelli – became acting boss 1971[85]
  • 1973–1977 — Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico – Carmine Persico's brother; promoted to underboss[50]
  • 1977–1983 — Thomas "Old Man" DiBella[86] – stepped down
  • 1983–1988 — Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico[87][88][89] – Carmine Persico's brother; died in 1989[50]
    • Acting 1983–1986 — Thomas "Old Man" DiBella[87] – retired
    • Acting 1987–1988 — Vincent "James" Angellino[61]
  • 1988–1993 — Carmine Sessa
    • Acting 1988–1991 — Benedetto "Benny" Aloi – promoted to acting underboss
    • Acting 1991–1993 — Vacant – disputed leadership during the third war
  • 1993–1999 — Vincenzo "Vinny" Aloi
  • 1999–2008 — Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace – promoted to acting boss
  • 2008–2011 — Richard "Ritchie Nerves" Fusco – jailed January 2011[4][34][35]
  • 2011–present — Thomas "Tom Mix" Farese;[90] In December 2012, Farese was acquitted of money laundering charges. He currently operates in South Florida.

Factions of the third war

The Colombo crime family divided into two factions during the third family war (1991 to 1993).

The Persico faction[91]

The Orena faction[93]

Current family members

Administration

  • Boss Unknown after the death of Carmine Persico on March 7, 2019[5]
  • Acting boss Alphonse "Little Allie Boy" Persico – is Carmine Persico's son, holding the title of "acting boss".[94] In 2009, Alphonse was sentenced to life in prison and is currently in the FCI Mckean in Pennsylvania.[95]
  • Street boss Andrew "Andy Mush" Russo – is Carmine Persico's cousin.[96] In November 1986, Russo was sentenced to 14 years, he was released on July 29, 1994 under special parole conditions.[57] In August 1999, Russo was convicted of jury tampering and sentenced to 57 months, he was also sentenced to 123 months for both parole violation and his involvement in a racketeering case of a Long Island carting company.[56] In March 2010, after his parole period expired, Russo became street boss. In January 2011, Russo was indicted on federal racketeering charges.[34] On March 21, 2013, Russo was sentenced to thirty three months for racketeering.[97] He was released from prison in 2013.[98]
  • Underboss John "Sonny" Franzese – a longtime member of the family. In 2011, Franzese was sentenced to eight years in prison. He was released from prison on June 23, 2017.
  • Acting underboss Benjamin "The Claw" Castellazzo[4] – on January 20, 2011, Castellazzo was indicted on federal racketeering charges.[34][35] In September 2011, Castellazzo pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.[37] On January 30, 2013 Castellazzo was sentenced to 63 months in prison.[99][100] Castellazzo was released from federal custody on August 14, 2015.
  • Consigliere Thomas "Tom Mix" Farese – is Carmine Persico's nephew through marriage. His wife Suzanne is the daughter of the late Alphonse Persico (Carmine Persico's brother).[101] During the 1970s, Farese moved from Boston to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he became friends with Colombo mobster Nicholas Forlano. In July 1978, Farese was inducted into the Colombo family.[101] In 1980, he was convicted of smuggling marijuana, sentenced to 30 years in prison, and he was released in 1994.[101] In 1998, Farese pleaded guilty to money laundering.[101] On January 5, 2012, Farese was indicted on loansharking and money laundering charges in South Florida and was released on bail.[102][90][103] Prosecutors obtained evidence on Farese through a recording device on government informant Reynold Maragni.[103] During his trial in September the judge allowed Farese lawyer to inspect informant Reynold Maragni's wristwatch that contained secret recording device.[104] In December 2012, Farese was acquitted of all charges[105][106]

Caporegimes

Brooklyn/Staten Island faction

  • Joseph Amato — a capo operating on loansharking on Staten Island. On October 3, 2019 Amato along with son Joseph Amato, Jr., soldiers Daniel Capaldo and Thomas Scorcia and associate Anthony Silvestro were indicted on 2014 Staten Island extortion and loansharking charges.[43] His son Joseph Amato Jr. lost his million dollar bail because of his fathers reputation.[107]
  • Dennis DeLucia — capo with gambling operations in the Bronx. In 2011, he was indicted along with acting boss Andrew Russo, soldiers Ilario Sessa and Joseph Savarese and Angelo Spata the son-in-law to Carmine Persico.[108] In 2012, he pleaded guilty to extortion and before his sentencing his lesbian daughter described him as "a same-sex marriage supporter, despite his role in the Mafia".[109][110] DeLucia was released from prison on July 12, 2013.[111]
  • Theodore "Teddy" Persico — brother to Carmine Persico, uncle to Alphonse "Little Allie Boy" Persico, and father to Theodore N. Persico, Jr. Theodore, Sr. has been a capo in Brooklyn since the 1970s.[112] He served on the family ruling panel from the early 1990s until his arrest and conviction. Theodore, Sr. was released from prison on October 9, 2013.[113]
  • William "Billy" Russo — a capo and the youngest son of Andrew Russo.[4] His brother Joseph "Jo Jo" Russo died in prison in 2007.
  • Joseph Baudanza — a capo with operations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. Baudanza along with his brother Carmine and nephew John Baudanza were arrested and convicted on stock fraud in 2008.[114][115] Baudanza was released from prison in February 2011.[116]
  • (In Prison) Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli — capo and former street boss his crew is operating in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island. In June 2008, along with John Franzese, Joel Cacace, Dino Calabro, Dino Saracino were indicted on multiple racketeering and murders from the third Colombo family War.[28] In 2011, Gioeli's acting capo Paul Bevacqua became a government informant. As of September 2015, Gioeli is incarcerated in federal prison with a projected release date of September 9, 2024.

Long Island faction

  • Michael Uvino — a capo since 2007. Uvino ran his crew from "The sons of Italy Social Club" in Hauppauge, Long Island.[117] In 2009, Uvino was sentenced to 10 years for running illegal card games on Long Island and for assaulting two men.[118] His release date was May 24, 2016.[119]
  • Ralph "Ralphie" Lombardo — a capo and former acting consigliere. Lombardo runs bookmaking and loansharking activities on Long Island. In 1975, Lombardo was convicted of conspiracy of selling stock in an automobile leasing company in New Jersey.[120] In 2003, Lombardo was the consigliere and he was indicted on illegal gambling, loan-sharking and witness tampering.[121] He was released from prison on August 27, 2006.[122]
  • Michael Catapano — capo and a nephew of John Franzese extorting gambling clubs on Long Island. Catapano was indicted in 2008, along with acting boss Thomas Gioeli, underboss John "Sonny" Franzese and other members of the crime family.[123] In 2010, Catapano was sentenced to six and half years prison after pleading guilty to the 2003 extorting a pizzeria and a gambling club on Long Island.[124] He was released on April 29, 2016.[125]

Other territories

  • Massachusetts: Ralph F. DeLeo — lives in Somerville, Massachusetts and led the New England faction for family. He met Alphonse Persico in prison in the 1990s. When DeLeo was released in 1997, he was inducted into Colombo crime family. In 2008, DeLeo became street Boss after Thomas Gioeli was arrested. On December 17, 2009, DeLeo was indicted on racketeering charges from crimes in five different states.[32]
  • Florida: Thomas "Tom Mix" Farese — despite his promotion to consigliere, Farese maintained the control of the Florida faction.[112] In 1998, Farese pleaded guilty to money laundering[101] and onn January 5, 2012, Farese was arrested on charges of loansharking and money laundering in South Florida.[90][103]
  • California: Dominic "Donnie Shacks" Montemarano — release from prison in 1997, Montemarano moved to Los Angeles and has invested in movies.[126]

Soldiers

  • James "Jimmy Green Eyes" Clemenza — a former capo operating in Brooklyn. On August 25, 1961 he tried to strangle Larry Gallo with a rope in a Brooklyn bar.[127] In the mid-1990s, Clemenza along with his brother Gerard "Jerry", and brothers Chris and Anthony Colombo, were placed on the "shelf" for backing Orena during the family war.[128] In 1999, Clemenza along with his brother Jerry were under FBI surveillance attending a dinner in a Little Italy restaurant on Mulberry Street with cast members of "The Sopranos".[129]
  • Vincenzo "Vinny" Aloi – former consigliere, semi-retired in 2008, is residing in Florida.
  • John "Jackie" DeRoss – a soldier serving life in prison after his 2009 conviction for the 1999 William Cutolo murder. DeRoss is a brother-in-law to Carmine Persico and served as underboss from 1999 to 2004.[130][131][132]
  • Charles "Moose" Panarella – a hitman who spent time in Las Vegas. Declared mentally unfit for trial, under house arrest.  
  • Theodore N. Persico, Jr. - the son of Theodore Persico who helped lead the family from 2008 until his arrest in 2009. He worked with his cousins Michael Persico and Lawrence Persico. Theodore, Jr. is currently imprisoned on murder consipiracy charges and is scheduled for release on August 21, 2020.[133]
  • Daniel Persico – the son of Theodore Persico. In March 2000, Daniel was arrested and later convicted on a pump and dump stock scam.[134] He was released from prison on November 14, 2003.[135]
  • Vincent Langella – the son of Gennaro Langella. In 2001, Langella pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. On July 3, 2001, he was sentenced to 27 months in prison. Langella was released on April 12, 2005.[136] 6
  • Thomas Petrizzo – born in 1933 in Brooklyn. Petrizzo was the owner of 4 companies based in New Jersey which he had used to money launder through. In 1985 and 1986, he earned $2.1 million for storing, shaping and delivering steel bars from Milstein Properties.[137] He had a strong influence in the labor unions, specifically the construction industry.[138] Petrizzo provided the steel frames, columns and girders for the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Battery Park City projects, the new Federal courthouse in Foley Square and many Manhattan skyscrapers. He was promoted to capo during the late 1980s due to his influence in the unions and his multi-million dollar operations, however he was demoted in his old age as a result of power loss. In December 1993, he was arrested alongside 5 other Colombo members. The FBI alleged that he extorted $1.3 million from a Swiss engineering company and camouflaged the payoffs as consulting fees into his own businesses. He was arrested among numerous Colombo associates and members, including his former son-in-law Michael Persico, son of Carmine Persico. The scam consisted of placing vending machines inside Colombo family controlled car dealerships, Petrizzo was also charged with extorting construction debris removal unions at Ground Zero; he was acquitted. In 1996, he pleaded guilty to extortion.[139][140][141]
  • Ralph F. DeLeo – a soldier and former street boss. DeLeo lived in Somerville, Massachusetts and led the New England faction for family. During the 1990s, while in prison he met Alphonse Persico; when he was released in 1997, he was inducted into the Colombo crime family. In 2008, DeLeo became street boss after Thomas Gioeli was arrested. On December 17, 2009, DeLeo was indicted on racketeering charges from crimes in five different states.[142] He is currently imprisoned with a release date of October 2, 2025.[143]
  • Vincent "Chickie" DeMartino - a soldier. In 1993, DeMartino was sentenced to four years in prison on weapons charges.[144] In 1999, Alphonse Persico ordered DeMartino and Thomas Gioeli to murder William Cutolo. On July 16, 2001, DeMartino and Michael Spataro attempted to murder Joseph Campanella, but failed.[145][146] In May 2004, Campanella testified against DeMartino. DeMartino has a projected release date of January 1, 2025.[147]
  • Anthony "Chucky" Russo - a soldier and cousin to William "Billy" Russo. In the 1990s, Anthony Russo worked closely with his now deceased cousin Joseph "Jo Jo" Russo in Brooklyn and Long Island.[148]
  • Dino “Little Dino” Saracino - born in 1972 in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, he and his family moved to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, shortly after he was born.[149] He was sentenced to 50 years in April 2014 and was sent to a Pennsylvania federal prison to do his time; acquitted of murdering NYPD police officer Ralph Dols although he was convicted of witness tampering, extortion and murder conspiracy. During the Colombo war in the 1990s, Saracino was loyal to Carmine Persico. He plotted to murder Michael Burnside during that time as retribution for taking his brother' life.[150] It is apparent that he became an initiated soldier after either killing Dols in 1997 or high ranking Colombo member Joseph Scopo in 1993 however according to law he was found not guilty.[151] His brother Sebastian "Sebby" Saracino testified against him at his trial. It is known that Saracino was close and a member of Thomas Gioeli's crew.[152] In October 2017, he repealed his conviction and it was denied.

Associates

  • Lawrence "Larry" Persico – the son of imprisoned family boss Carmine Persico and brother to Alphonse Persico and Michael Persico. In 2004, Larry was indicted on racketeering charges. His father wrote a letter to the courts defending his son.[153] Lawrence was sentenced on March 11, 2005 and released on December 9, 2005.[154]
  • Michael Joseph Persico – the son of imprisoned family boss Carmine Persico and brother to Alphonse Persico and Lawrence Persico. In 2010, Michael was accused of racketeering conspiracy involving debris removal contracts for the site of the former World Trade Center. In 2011, Michael was indicted for supplying firearms in the 1993 murder of Joseph Scopo.[155]
  • Sean Persico – the son of Theodore Persico and brother to Daniel, Frank and Theodore, Jr., Sean was involved in stock scams.[156]

Family crews

Controlled unions

  • N.Y.C. District Council of Carpenters The Colombo and Genovese families ran the Council from 1991 to 1996, extorting huge amounts of money from several N.Y.C. District Council of Carpenters union locals. Colombo capos Thomas Petrizzo and Vincent "Jimmy" Angellino controlled Council President Frederick Devine. The two crime families illegally used the Council to create hundreds of "no show" absentee jobs for their associates.[158] In 1998, government witnesses Sammy Gravano and Vincent Cafaro testified against Devine. He was found guilty of embezzling union funds and sentenced to 15 months in prison.[159]

Former members and associates

  • Carmine "Junior" Persico – had been the boss from 1973–2019. In 1986, Persico was convicted in the Mafia Commission Trial and sentenced to 139 years in federal prison.[94] His projected release date was March 20, 2050. Carmine died at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina on March 7, 2019.[160][5]
  • Richard "Ritchie Nerves" Fusco – a former consigliere. On January 20, 2011, Fusco was indicted on federal racketeering charges.[34][35] On September 29, 2011, Fusco pleaded guilty to running a shakedown scheme against the Gambino family;[161] he was sentenced to four months in prison.[37] Fusco was incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.[162] Fusco died in September 2013.[163]
  • Michael "Yuppie Don" Franzese – son of underboss Sonny Franzese. Michael organized a highly lucrative gasoline scam racket with the Russian mafia. Franzese was promoted to captain in 1980 and retired in 1995.[121][141][164]
  • Joseph "Jo Jo" Russo – the eldest son of Andrew Russo, convicted in 1994 with his cousin Anthony "Chuckie" Russo. Both men received life sentences after former FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio testified against them. In 2007, Joseph Russo died of kidney cancer in prison.[165]
  • Salvatore "Sally" D'Ambrosio – During the 1960s First Colombo War, D'Ambrosio and future boss Carmine Persico attempted to murder mobster Larry Gallo.[81][166] D'Ambrosio also participated in the murder of Joseph Gioelli.
  • Nicholas "Jiggs" Forlano – former capo who ran a loan-sharking operations with Charles "Ruby" Stein. In the 1970s, Forlano moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and started operating there. In 1977, Forlano died of a heart attack at the Hialeah race track in Florida.[167]
  • Frank "Frankie Shots" Abbatemarco – was born in 1899 and grew up in Red Hook, Brooklyn. During the 1950s, Abbatemarco was a powerful capo in Profaci family controlling Red Hook.[10] On November 4, 1959, Abbatemarco was murdered.[10]
  • Anthony "Big Tony" Peraino – associate who helped finance groundbreaking adult entertainment movie "Deep Throat". Died of natural causes in 1996.
  • Dominick "Little Dom" Cataldo – died in prison 1990
  • Ralph "Little Ralphie" Scopo – influential associate who ran Cement Club for family. Died in prison 1993[168]
  • Ralph Scopo Jr. - son of Ralph Scopo. Died under indictment for extortion in 2013.[169]
  • Antonio Cottone – deported to Sicily, where he became the Mafia boss of Villabate, the home town for the Profaci family. Cotonne was murdered in 1956.[170]
  • Benedetto "Benny" Aloi – capo and brother to Vincent Aloi. During the 1990s Third Colombo war, Aloi was Orena's underboss. In 1991, Aloi was convicted in the Windows Case, was released from prison on March 17, 2009.[171] He died on April 7, 2011.[172]

Associates

  • Frank Persico - the son of Theodore "Teddy" Persico and cousin of acting Colombo boss Alphonse "Allie" Persico. Frank was a stockbroker who was sentenced to five years in prison for a $15 million stock swindle. Frank was released on July 12, 2006; four months later, Frank died of a heart attack.[173][174]
  • Hugh "Apples" MacIntosh – an Irish-American[175] enforcer for Carmine Persico during the 1960s.[176] In 1969, MacIntosh was imprisoned on hijacking charges.[176] In 1975, he was released and went on to control several clubs and loan sharking rings for Persico.[176] In 1982, McIntosh was caught bribing an Internal Revenue Service agent for Carmine Persico's early release. McIntosh was imprisoned after the Colombo trial and released on December 31, 1992.[176] MacIntosh was later arrested for meeting with mobster Daniel Persico and was returned to prison. McIntosh died on November 10, 1997.[176]
  • Charles Ruby Stein"loanshark to the stars", was an associate and business partner to Nicholas Forlano. Stein ran gambling clubs on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In the early 1970s, mobster Jimmy Coonan became Stein's bodyguard. Ironically, Coonan and The Westies murdered Stein in 1977.[177]
  • Nicholas "Nicky" Bianco – a Gallo crew member, Bianco later joined the Patriarca crime family. Bianco died in prison in 1994.[178]
  • Gerard Pappa – a family associate who transferred to become a soldier in the Genovese crime family working with Peter Saverio in the New York windows scheme. Was murdered in 1980 by the Cataldo brothers.[179]

Government informants and witnesses

Members

  • Salvatore "Big Sal" Miciotta - former captain.[180] Miciotta allegedly became a soldier for the Colombo family in the mid-1970s, when he first became acquainted with Lucchese crime family underboss Anthony Casso.[181] During the Colombo mob war in the early 1990s, he was an Orena faction loyalist. In May 1993, he approached the FBI with the offer of becoming a government witness. According to Miciotta, in late 1993, Victor Orena asked multi-millionaire businessman John Rosatti to provide cars from his dealership to be used to carry out murders, Rosatti declined and instead handed over $50,000 to Orena.[182][183]
  • Carmine Sessa - former consigliere . In the early 1990s, Sessa met with the Genovese, Lucchese and Gambino crime families and pledged his loyalty to imprisoned Colombo boss Carmine Persico, who opposed Victor Orena at the time.[184] Sessa was arrested in 1993 and agreed to cooperate and become a government witness. He admitted to participating in 13 murders, including former Brooklyn Colombo captain, Jimmy Angelino. He was released from prison in 1997, however he was shortly after sentenced to imprisonment and was released in 2000.[185] He testified against former FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio in October 2007.[186]
  • John Pate - former capo and loyalist to the Persico faction. In April 1972, he was arrested for possession of a handgun alongside Charles Panarella, Carmine Persico and Gennaro Langella.[187] He was active in Staten Island and was promoted to captain in the late 1980s.[188] In mid-1992, he was arrested on murder and loansharking charges.[189][190] It is believed that he became an informer around 1993.[191]
  • Rocco Cagno - former soldier. Colombo mobster Jimmy Randazzo was his sponsor, who was murdered in May 1993.[192] He was inducted into the Colombo crime family in 1987.[193] He participated in the murder of Colombo captain Jimmy Angelino at his home in November 1988. In November 1993, he was indicted on murder and firearm charges and began to cooperate with the government in March 1994.[194]
  • Joseph "Joe Campy" Campanella – former soldier.[195] He was a close ally of William Cutolo. Campanella was shot twice by Vincent "Chicky" DeMartino with a .357 Magnum on July 16, 2001 in Coney Island after being wrongly suspected of cooperating with the authorities; DeMartino was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the attempted murder.[196][197][198]
  • Michael "Mickey" Souza - born in 1968. In December 2006, he was arrested alongside 12 other mobsters from the Colombo and Gambino crime families on charges of robbery, assault, weapon possession, loansharking, gambling and drug dealing, as part of an 8 month investigation by the DEA.[199][200] He and his older brother were accused of planning Hector Pagan's murder, a Bonanno crime family associate, over a financial dispute.[201] Souza allegedly purchased a gun silencer, however he never managed to use it on Pagan due to his arrest.[202] It is believed he became an informer around 2007.
  • Paul "Paulie Guns" Bevacqua – former acting capo of the Gioeli crew. He was a supporter of the Orena faction who rivalled against the Persico faction during the early 1990s.[203] It is believed that he wore a wire microphone around 2008. He died on November 11, 2011.[204]
  • Dino "Big Dino" Calabro - former captain. He has allegedly participated in 8 murders. Calabro is suspected of participating in the August 1997 murder of NYPD officer Ralph C. Dols, on orders of former Colombo consigliere Joel Cacace.[205][206] He began cooperating after his June 2008 arrest, he was arrested alongside 2 other Colombo soldier's on charges of drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, murder and loansharking.[207] In November 2017, he was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.
  • Frank "Frankie Blue Eyes" Sparaco - former soldier. He was a part of the Persico faction during the early 1990s. In 1993, he was sentenced to 24 years in prison for participating in 5 murders.[208] While in prison, he scammed former U.S. House of Representatives member John LeBoutillier of $800,000. In 2009, he officially agreed to cooperate with the government.
  • Reynold Maragni – former capo who was active in South Florida. In 2000, he was indicted on charges of credit card and bank fraud scams, loansharking and illegal gambling. A year later, he was sentenced to 2 years in prison.[209] He was arrested in January 2011 and accused of distributing marijuana, smuggling cigarettes, extorting members of a cement and concrete union in Queens, and operating an illegal gambling ring with former Colombo captain Joseph Parna; Maragni agreed to become an informant immediately after his arrest.[210][211] From April to December 2011, he wore a watch with a microphone and recorded many conversations.
  • Anthony "Big Anthony" Russo – former acting capo, not related to Andrew Russo. In 2011, Russo was charged with the 1993 murder of Orena loyalist Joseph Scopo and agreed to be a federal witness.[212]
  • Gregory Scarpa, Sr. – notorious hitman and FBI informant from the 1970s to 1994.[213] Scarpa, Sr. died in prison from AIDS–related complications.

Associates

  • Joseph "Joe Pesh" Luparelli – former Colombo associate and bodyguard to Joseph Yacovelli. He served as one of the drivers in the April 1972 murder of Joe Gallo. Some time after the Gallo murder, he believed the Gallo-murder participants were planning to have him murdered. He flew to California to meet with FBI agents. Albert A. Seedman requested that Luparelli should be brought to New York.[214] He was accused of harbouring Joseph Russo, following a 1970 murder in New Jersey.[215]
  • Lawrence "Larry" Mazza - former associate, hitman and protégé of Colombo crime family captain Greg Scarpa.[216][217] It is noted that he had an affair with Scarpa's wife, Linda Schiro.[218] Mazza has admitted to murdering four people, including the January 1992 murder of Nicky Grancio, using a 12-gauge shotgun which was allegedly stolen from a New Jersey police car.[219] He had previously witnessed the December 1991 killing of Vincent Fusaro by Scarpa, who shot Fusaro in the neck, body and behind his head with an M52 rifle while he hung up a Christmas garland on the door of his home in Brooklyn. Mazza has allegedly participated in around 25 murders. Sometime in the mid-1990s after his arrest by the FBI, he agreed to cooperate. Massa has since relocated to Florida and became a fitness personal trainer. He released a book titled "The Life: A True Story about a Brooklyn Boy Seduced into the Dark World of the Mafia."[220]
  • Kenny "Kenji" Gallo – former associate of the Los Angeles and Colombo crime families. Gallo first met Jerry Zimmerman while he was active in the porn industry, who introduced him to underboss Sonny Franzese. He later became acquainted with Teddy Persico Jr., the nephew of Colombo boss Carmine Persico.[221] He cooperated in 1996
  • Salvatore "Crazy Sal" Polisi – former associate of the Colombo and Gambino crime families. He was active in hijacking, illegal gambling and robbery.

References

Notes

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External links