Federal grand jury indicts Merokean for extortion and loan-sharking
A federal grand jury last week charged Luca DiMatteo, 70, of Merrick, with extortion, loan-sharking and racketeering conspiracy. The indictment accuses DiMatteo of serving as an acting captain in the Colombo crime family, one of New York’s five Mafia families.
DiMatteo was charged alongside his nephew, Luca “Lukey” DiMatteo, 46, of Brooklyn, and another man, John Shields, also known as Scott Greco, 46, of Atlantic Beach. The DiMatteos extorted a business owner for more than 10 years, squeezing him for $100 to $200 every other week until he closed the business in June, said Kelly Currie, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The indictment covers January 2009 to June 2015. Uncle and nephew also engaged in loan-sharking and racketeering conspiracy, Currie said.
Lukey and Shields were also charged with running an illegal gambling club in Brooklyn, Currie said.
Luca and Shields were arraigned on July 16 at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, where Lukey was also scheduled to be arraigned on July 17.
A news release from Currie’s office described the elder DiMatteo as a long-time Colombo soldier who “for several years” has been acting captain of a crew of Colombo associates.
In a letter to the court, federal prosecutors said that a cooperating witness recorded 2011 conversations with Luca and Colombo members Joseph Carna and Vincent Manzo that indicate Luca’s status as an acting captain.
“We are committed to defeating organized crime,” Currie said in the release. “We will not tolerate the use of violence or threats of violence to extort local businesspeople, and we will shut down illegal gambling businesses in our neighborhoods.”
Diego Rodriguez, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York office, echoed Currie. “As alleged, Luca DiMatteo and Lukey DiMatteo picked up a check every couple of weeks from a local business for more than 10 years, but it wasn’t a paycheck — rather, they picked up a shakedown check,” Rodriguez said in the release.
Flora Edwards, Luca DiMatteo’s attorney, did not return a call for comment.