Mob Wives star Ramona Rizzo has been in a legal battle with the government for her jewelry for years now. As seen on the show, Ramona has been trying to recover tons of jewelry pieces that were taken when her fiancé Joseph Sclafani was arrested. Ramona has said that her jewelry, including jewelry that belonged to her Grandfather and was passed down to her – was seized from her in a bust by the government. Ramona’s been trying to get her family heirlooms back and she opened up about this on Mob Wives. Her Grandfather was Benjamin Ruggiero AKA Lefty Guns. Al Pacino played his character in the film Donnie Brasco. After almost eight years of a legal battle, it doesn’t look like she’ll be successful in recovering the dozens of pieces of jewelry. The estimated value is a whopping $184,000!
According to the New York Daily News, Brooklyn Federal Magistrate Cheryl L. Pollak said in a 30 page court filing, “The court respectfully recommends that the government’s motion to dismiss (Rizzo’s claim) be granted in its entirety.” The final decision will be made by Brooklyn Federal Judge Margo Brodie. The judge can accept, reject or modify the recommendation. Drug Enforcement Administration agents made the raid in 2011 on the Gambino soldier Joseph Sclafani’s Staten Island home. Items seized include: an 18-karat gold Rolex watch, two 18-karat gold Cartier love bracelets, three 18-karat white gold flower bracelets with diamonds, five sets of diamond earrings. In addition to stainless steel cuff links, a “white gold evil eye” bracelet, and a gold chain with a St. Christopher medal. The gold chain with the medal was given to Ramona from her grandfather.
According to the New York Daily News, not all of the items were authentic. Apparently a Cartier Ballon Bleu watch was revealed as a knockoff and was destroyed, according to the feds. The legitimate items were auctioned off by the government in 2015 and 2016 according to a court filing by Michael Cooke, the district asset forfeit coordinator for the U.S. Marshals Service in Brooklyn. Ramona and her fiancé’s mother and sister, claimed in court documents in 2017 that many of the items did not belong to him and were the family’s. Ramona claimed, “The majority … were NOT the property of Joseph Sclafani, but were in fact the personal property of the plaintiffs, which the agents conducting the search were well aware of.” The bangles that were Ramona’s, were gifts given to her by her wealthy ex-husband Wael Al-Khatib. Her court papers said, “The only reason these items were present in the Staten Island residence of Joseph Sclafani was because Ms. Rizzo was in the process of moving in.”
The government said in earlier court filings, that Ramona and her co-plaintiffs “repeatedly failed to file their claims in a timely fashion.” In 2012 the DEA stated in a letter that the Sclafani investigation uncovered “probable cause to believe that illicit, drug-related funds were used to purchase the forfeited property.”
Wow! I remember Ramona opening up about this situation on the show. It sounds like she has been dealing with a lot. I hope she gets her own jewelry back, and the jewelry that her Grandfather gave to her. If the Mob Wives reboot ever happens, I hope she’ll return for it. I met Ramona back in 2012 and she was super sweet. I’m wishing her all the best!
Thoughts on this all? Do you think Ramona will recover her jewelry? Would you want Ramona to return if they do a reboot? Sound off below!
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