Alphonse Persico

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Joseph Alphonse, known as Little Allie Boy or just Allie Boy, is a former acting boss of the Colombo crime family from the 1980s and 1990s. He is not to be confused with his uncle of the same name, who was also a Colombo family mobster known as "Allie Boy", who died in 1989.[1]

Biography[edit]

Background[edit]

Born in New York, Alponse T. Persico grew up in South Brooklyn and Bensonhurst.

Persico's father is Carmine Persico, the imprisoned official boss of the Colombo family. Alphonse Persico has two brothers, Lawrence and Michael Persico. He was nicknamed "Little Allie Boy" to distinguish him from his father's older brother, who was also named Alphonse and was a caporegime (captain) in the Colombo family. Alphonse Persico was married to Teresa Persico.

Unlike some mafiosi, the young Alphonse Persico was a promising student who graduated from high school and was accepted into college at St. John's University School of Law to be a lawyer. Instead, he quit St. John's after his sophomore year, presumably to work for his father. By his early 20s, Persico was a soldier in his father's family, and by his mid-20s, Persico was reportedly a capo. Like many other mafiosi, Persico enjoyed the power and excitement of the mob life. In 1983, Persico was arrested for heroin possession, but the case was dismissed.[2]

Orena rebellion[edit]

In 1987, Carmine Persico was sentenced to a combined 139 years in prison after being convicted in two separate trials—the Mafia Commission Trial and a separate racketeering trial involving the Colombo family's operations. Realizing that he would almost certainly die in prison, Persico was nonetheless determined to keep control of the family. To that end, he designated his brother, the original "Allie Boy," as acting boss. Less than a year later, the older Alphonse was slapped with federal loan-sharking charges, and skipped out on a $250,000 bail. Logically, Carmine Persico would have selected his son, Little Allie Boy, as acting boss. However, Alphonse had also been convicted in the "Colombo Trial" and sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. The sentencing judge, John F. Keenan, urged Alphonse to renounce his life of crime, pointing out that he would still be fairly young once he got out of prison. "You are a chump if you stay in the Colombo family," Keenan said.[2]

With his son Alphonse in prison, Carmine Persico selected Victor Orena, the capo of his son's former crew, to be the temporary acting boss. In selecting Orena, Persico made it clear to the family that he was merely a placeholder until Alphonse was released.[2][3]

In the spring of 1991, Orena decided that he wanted to run the Colombo family without the Persicos and told consigliere Carmine Sessa to call a referendum of the family capos to approve it. In response, the imprisoned Carmine Persico ordered Orena's murder. On June 20, 1991, Persico gunmen made an unsuccessful attempt to kill Orena at his home. In November 1991, after several months of negotiations, the Persico and Orena factions broke into open warfare. Still in prison, Alphonse Persico directed the campaign against Orena.[2] On May 13, 1993, Alphonse and other family leaders were indicted on racketeering charges that included the 1992 murders of Orena loyalists John Minerva and Michael Imbergamo.[4] By October 1993, Orena and many of his followers had been sent to prison. Carmine Persico retained control of the Colombo family.[2] Also in 1993, Teresa Persico divorced Alphonse.[5]

On August 8, 1994, Alphonse Persico was acquitted of the 1993 federal racketeering and murder charges due to the revelations about Colombo capo Gregory Scarpa and his relationship with the FBI.[6] Persico was now a free man, but he did not become acting boss right away. Instead, Persico spent much of the next few years at his family home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In 1996, Carmine Persico appointed Andrew Russo as acting boss. When Russo went to prison in early 1999, Alphonse Persico finally took over the acting boss job.[7]

Cutolo murder[edit]

Alphonse Persico's second stint as acting boss would last only a year before he was sent back to prison. In early 1999, the US Coast Guard stopped Persico in his speedboat as he was motoring in the Florida Keys. After searching the vessel, Coast Guardsmen arrested Persico for possessing a shotgun and a semiautomatic handgun as a felon.[7]

In May 1999, Carmine or Alphonse Persico allegedly ordered the murder of his newly appointed temporary acting underboss, William Cutolo. Persico's motive might have been revenge for Cutolo's support of Orena in 1991. However, another theory is that since Alphonse Persico was facing prison again for the Florida weapons charge, Persico feared that Cutolo would seize control of the family during his absence. On May 26, 1999, Cutolo's wife, Marguerite Cutolo, reported her husband missing. Earlier that day, Alphonse Persico had summoned Cutolo to meet with him at a park in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn.[8][9] However, when Cutolo arrived at the park, Colombo hitmen Thomas Gioeli, Dino Calabro, and Dino Saracino took Cutolo to Saracino's apartment, where they murdered him. Goeli later buried Cutolo's body in a field in Farmingdale, New York, where it remained undiscovered until October 2008.[10]

In October 1999, Persico was arrested again in New York on federal racketeering, loan sharking and bank fraud charges. The arresting agents searched Persico's Brooklyn apartment and uncovered $25,000 in cash along with records of extensive loan sharking and credit card fraud activities.[11] He was released on bail. Assistant U.S Attorney Jim Walden, deputy chief of the Brooklyn Organized Crime section, prosecuted Persico.[12] In 2000, Persico was convicted on the Florida gun charges and sent to federal prison in Florida for 18 months.[7]

Prison[edit]

On January 24, 2001, Persico finished his weapons sentence and was due for release from prison in Florida. However, that same day, Persico was transported back to New York, where prosecutors indicted him on loansharking charges.[13]

The government also suspected Persico in the Cutolo murder and was starting to build a case against him. Persico was held without bail.[7] On December 20, 2001, Persico pleaded guilty to federal racketeering, loan-sharking and money-laundering charges from 1999 and 2001.[14] As part of the plea, Persico was forced to publicly acknowledge his role as acting boss of the Colombo family.[2] The judge sentenced Persico to 13 years in federal prison.[7]

On October 14, 2004, Persico was finally indicted in New York for the Cutolo murder.[15] However, on November 3, 2006, the judge declared a mistrial due to allegations that Cutolo's wife Marguerite had lied under oath.[16][17] In the second trial, on December 28, 2007, Persico and DeRoss were convicted of murder in aid of racketeering and witness tampering[8] On February 27, 2009, Persico was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the Cutolo murder.[18]

Aftermath[edit]

In February 2010, Colombo hitman Frank Sparaco reportedly told prosecutors that Persico had ordered the 1992 murder of Michael Devine, a Staten Island nightclub owner. Devine, who was found shot to death in a car, had allegedly enraged Persico by dating Persico's wife Teresa during their separation. No charges have been filed.[19]

As of September 2015, Persico was serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary, Coleman near Coleman, Florida.[20]

As of July 2017 he is imprisoned in the Federal Correctional Institution, McKean.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jerry Capeci The complete idiot's guide to the Mafia (pg. 386-388)
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Five families: the rise, decline, and resurgence of America's most powerful Mafia empires. " By Selwyn Raab pp 332-340
  3. ^ "BROOKLYN SLAYING TIED TO MOB FEUD" By LEE A. DANIELS New York Times December 8, 1991
  4. ^ "United States vs. Alphonse Persico" Find Law website
  5. ^ "Feds Probe Love Story Mob Hit" by Jerry Capeci The Huffington Post February 15, 2010
  6. ^ "Mob Figure Acquitted in Murder and Racketeering Case" By JOSEPH P. FRIED New York Times August 9, 1994
  7. ^ a b c d e "The Colombo Family: Behind Bars" By Anthony Bruno TruTV Crime Library
  8. ^ a b "COLOMBO ORGANIZED CRIME FAMILY ACTING BOSS ALPHONSE T. PERSICO AND ADMINISTRATION MEMBER JOHN J. DEROSS CONVICTED OF MURDER IN AID OF RACKETEERING AND WITNESS TAMPERING" Archived 2012-01-15 at the Wayback Machine. United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York Press Release December 28, 2007
  9. ^ "ALLIE BOY GOING BYE-BYE FOR HIT" By STEFANIE COHEN New York Post December 29, 2007.
  10. ^ "Body Identified as Missing Mobster’s" By THE NEW YORK TIMES October 7, 2008
  11. ^ "Reputed Mafia Chief Faces New Racketeering Charges" By JOSEPH P. FRIED New York Times October 11, 1999
  12. ^ "PERSICO'S SON TURNS HIMSELF IN". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-12-14. 
  13. ^ Feuer, Alan (January 26, 2001). "Reputed Crime Boss Goes From Florida Prison To Brooklyn Court, Never Passing Go". New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Colombo Mob Family Boss Pleads Guilty to Racketeering" By ANDY NEWMAN New York Times December 21, 2001
  15. ^ "Metro Briefing | New York: Brooklyn: Crime Figures Accused Of Murder" By Thomas J. Lueck New York Times October 15, 2004
  16. ^ "Mistrial in Alphonse 'Allie Boy' Persico Crime Boss Murder Trial?" The Chicago Syndicate website July 17, 2008
  17. ^ "Mistrial Is Declared in Mob Murder Case" By THE NEW YORK TIMES November 4, 2006
  18. ^ "Colombo boss Alphonse (Allie Boy) Persico sentenced to life in prison for 1999 hit" BY John Marzulli New York Daily News February 27th 2009
  19. ^ "New evidence could lead to reopening of rubout case" Staten Island Real Time News Friday, February 19, 2010
  20. ^ "Alphonse Persico" Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator
  21. ^ Alphonse Persico - Federal Bureau of Prisons