“The Claw,” Aged Colombo Underboss, Receives Leniency in Union Shakedown Case


Posted on: January 24, 2024, 06:24h.

Last updated on: January 24, 2024, 06:24h.

A federal judge in Brooklyn let off an alleged Colombo crime family underboss and former illegal gambling kingpin due to his ill health.

Benjamin Castellazzo, The Claw, Mafia, Colombo
Benjamin Castellazzo, above, whose last conviction involved the theft of a tomato sauce recipe, was offered leniency by a federal judge Monday for charges related to shaking down a union in Queens. (Image: Daily Mail)

In July, Benjamin “The Claw” Castellazzo, 86, admitted guilt in a money laundering case tied to his bid to extort a Queens-based labor union and seize its health care benefit programs. As part of the investigation, 14 people were charged. Among them included 10 Colombo members and associates.

Prison Would be ‘Death Sentence’

Last Monday, Castellazzo was given a 15-month jail term, despite demands from prosecutors for over two years. His lawyer argued that his long prison term would pose a risk to his already poor health, including heart problems and a demand for intensive medication.

Prosecutors wanted to know why Castellazzo’s health issues only seemed to surface when he was in the dock facing charges for his latest criminal escapade.

In 1995, Castellazzo was convicted of operating underground gambling dens that offered craps games and sports betting, and conducted a numbers racket.

Castellazzo earned his nickname, “the Claw,” because he had his claws in everything, according to NJ.com.



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