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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Colombo Crime Family Soldier Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

Jerry Ciauri, aka “Fat Jerry,” is the Fifth Member or Associate of the Colombo Organized Crime Family to Plead Guilty to Indictment in Brooklyn Federal Court

Earlier today, Jerry Ciauri, also known as “Fat Jerry,” an inducted member of the Colombo organized crime family (the Colombo family), pleaded guilty before United States District Judge William F. Kuntz II to racketeering, including predicate acts of extortionate collection of extensions of credit.  Another inducted member of the Colombo family, Vito Difalco, also known as “Victor” and “The Mask,” and two Colombo family associates, Salvatore Disano and Joseph Maratea, pleaded guilty to racketeering last week.  On March 15, 2019, Joseph Rizzo, an associate of the Colombo family, pleaded guilty to stalking conspiracy.  The defendants’ criminal activities took place in Brooklyn, Staten Island and elsewhere between March 2017 and June 2018.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the guilty pleas.

According to court filings and facts presented during the guilty plea proceeding, Ciauri made extortionate loans and used extortionate means to collect payments on those loans from six victims.  In connection with this loansharking business, Ciauri once threatened to shoot a loansharking partner who had fallen behind making payments to Ciauri, and on another occasion, enlisted an associate to slash a victim’s tires in the middle of the night.  Disano assisted Ciauri in collecting debts enforced with extortionate means.  Rizzo and Ciauri also stalked Ciauri’s former loansharking business partner after he started to cooperate with law enforcement officers and stopped assisting Ciauri with the business.

Difalco and Maratea also ran a loansharking business.  In connection with that business, Difalco used extortionate means to collect debts from eight victims, and Maratea helped collect debts from five of those victims.  In one conversation, Difalco threatened a loansharking victim by telling him that he had a past history of setting fire to the cars of those who failed to make timely payments; Difalco told the victim, “Good things happen to me when I stay calm see like I was by your house the other day….  Four years ago, I would have put the Benz on fire.”  

When sentenced, Ciauri, Difalco, Disano and Maratea face up to 20 years’ imprisonment.  Rizzo faces a maximum of five years on the stalking conspiracy charge. 

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth A. Geddes and Mathew S. Miller are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

JERRY CIAURI (also known as “Fat Jerry”)
Age:  59
Brooklyn, New York

VITO DIFALCO (also known as “Victor” and “The Mask”)
Age:  63
Brooklyn, New York

SALVATORE DISANO
Age:  48
Brooklyn, New York

JOSEPH MARATEA
Age:  42
Brooklyn, New York

JOSEPH RIZZO
Age: 51
Staten Island, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-337 (WFK)

Contact: 
John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated March 26, 2019