Mob boss sentenced for shaking down Queens-based construction union: Feds

Vincent Ricciardo, Long Island mob boss was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court for shaking down a Queens-based construction union for years.

An aging captain in the Colombo crime family was sentenced Wednesday to more than four years in federal prison for shaking down a high ranking official in a Queens-based construction union. Vincent Ricciardo, 77, of Franklin Square, LI, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court in July for his participation in the long-running extortion of the senior official in what is called the “Labor Union,” in court filings and various conspiracies to commit money laundering, loansharking, and fraud in connection with workplace safety certificates.

Ricciardo, known as “Vinny Unions,” is the tenth defendant sentenced in the case for conduct in connection with the scheme to infiltrate and divert funds from the Labor Union and other schemes. Four other defendants still await sentencing.
“This prosecution represents our continued commitment to combating organized crime and prosecuting the individuals who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of hardworking union members and their employees,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “Today’s sentence holds Vincent Ricciardo accountable for his long-running extortion scheme, as well as for his yearslong participation in the wide range of crimes committed by the Colombo crime family.”

According to court filings and facts presented during the sentencing proceedings, Ricciardo and his co-conspirators committed a variety of crimes — including extortion, loansharking, fraud and drug trafficking — to enrich themselves and to promote the continued operation of the Colombo crime family. Under then-boss Andrew Russo, before he died, and his capos agreed to use extortionate means, including threats of bodily harm, to force the senior official in the queens-based union to give over a portion of his salary and ultimately to make decisions that would financially benefit the Colombo crime family. This included pressure from the defendants to force the trustees of the union’s healthcare benefit fund to select vendors associated with the Colombo crime family and handpicked by some of the defendants. Among other goals, the crime family’s leaders sought to divert more than $10,000 per month from the health fund’s assets to themselves.

In one consensually recorded conversation, Ricciardo threatened to kill the senior union official, stating that the official would continue to obey him because he knew Ricciardo would “put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids, right in front of his F**king house, you laugh all you want pal, I’m not afraid to go to jail, let me tell you something, to prove a point? I would f**king shoot him right in front of his wife and kids, call the police, f**k it, let me go, how long you think I’m gonna last anyway?”

Ricciardo also worked with Bonanno crime family soldier John Ragano, another resident of Franklin Square also known as “Bazoo” and the “Maniac,” in a scheme to issue fraudulent workplace safety training certifications from two occupational safety schools Ragano purported to operate on Long Island. Rather than provide workplace safety training required to obtain Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification, Ragano, along with Queens resident John Glover and Domenick Ricciardo of Franklin Square, falsified paperwork submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor and other government agencies which represented that hundreds of workers had completed construction safety training courses when they had not. Vincent Ricciardo plotted to funnel various union workers to Ragano’s schools for fraudulent certifications and used the facilities to conduct meetings involving members of La Cosa Nostra.

U.S. District Judge Hector Gonzalez sentenced Ricciardo to 51 months in federal prison, $350,000 in forfeiture and $280,890 in restitution.