The chief and underboss of New York City’s infamous criminal family in Colombo were among more than a dozen people arrested Tuesday morning in connection with allegations of corruption and fraud in the health care system, Fox News has discovered.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday charged 14 people – including “the entire administration of the Colombo family with organized crime” – in connection with charges including crime, money laundering and extortion, officials said. The detainees include Colombo crime boss Andrew “Mush” Russo, underboss Benjamin “Benji” Castellazzo, family consultants and several captains. John Ragano, an alleged solder from the Bonnano family, was also struck in the bust early in the morning.
The allegations stem from an alleged “long-standing effort by the crime family to infiltrate and take control of a Queens-based union”, and it is health services, and an alleged conspiracy to “commit fraud in connection with safety certifications in the workplace,” the press release said. .
Of the 14 accused, 12 were arrested Tuesday in New York and New Jersey, and another was picked up in North Carolina, officials said. The 14th person, Colombo consigliere Ralph DiMatteo, was sought this afternoon.
Charges against them range from labor harassment and loan harassing, conspiracy, fraud and drug trafficking, officials said.
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The Colombo family’s administration and captains used extortion and threats to control the ranks of a Queens, NY union, the indictment reads. As such, the criminal family in Colombo allegedly blackmailed the union into making decisions that benefited the family.
At least two of the family’s employees had been collecting “a portion” of a high-ranking union’s salary since about 2001, “by threatening to harm [him] and his family, “the indictment states. The court documents only identify the man as” John Doe # 1. “
“In the direction of the management of the Colombo crime family, in late 2019, the defendants began to blackmail efforts to force John Doe # 1 and others in the Labor Union and the affiliated health fund to make decisions that benefited the Colombo crime family, including by forcing them to select suppliers for contracts associated with the Colombo criminal family, “the indictment states.” The defendants sought to divert more than $ 10,000 a month from the health fund’s assets to the administration of the Colombo criminal family. “
An example included in the indictment contains details from a recorded telephone call on June 21, 2021.
The alleged Colombo criminal family captain Vincent Ricciardo “threatened to kill John Doe # 1 if he did not comply with Vincent Ricciardo’s demands,” the statement said.
According to authorities, Ricciardo said John Doe # 1 knows: “I put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids, right in front of his f —– house, you laugh everything you want friend, I’m not scared to go to jail, let me tell you something, to prove a point? I would f —– shoot him right in front of his wife and children, call the police, fk it, let me go, how long do you think , that I still hold? “
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In another case involving a separate victim, “John Doe # 2”, some of the defendants tried to extend and charge for extortion loans of more than $ 250,000 with an interest rate of 1.5% paid weekly and not reduced the guilty principle, authorities said.
Russo, 87, is the oldest of the 14 defendants, followed by Castellazzo, who is 83. The youngest, Joseph Bellantoni, is 39. Each of the arrested men is expected to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.