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'Mob Wives' Star Ramona Rizzo Is Being Framed, Lawyer Says

By Murray Weiss | November 20, 2013 1:10pm
 Mob Wives Star in Manhattan shakedown.
Ramona Rizzo
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MANHATTAN — A mobster’s granddaughter is a victim, not a perp.

That’s the word from “Mob Wives” star Ramona Rizzo’s lawyer, who insists that a Brooklyn promoter was trying to frame her client for a robbery rap to get out of repaying a $10,000 debt.

“Ramona is a victim, twice,” attorney Dawn Florio said.

The controversy surrounding the granddaughter of the Bonanno crime family hood, played by Al Pacino in the movie “Donnie Brasco,” erupted early Saturday morning when promoter Shonte Gibson walked into a Bedford-Stuyvesant precinct house claiming to be the victim of an armed ripoff involving Rizzo.

According to Gibson’s complaint, he was walking into the Chelsea Manor Club at 1:40 a.m. when he was accosted by two henchman — one about 6-foot-9, the other brandishing a .9 mm gun. The two men led him to a Chevy Traverse where Rizzo was waiting. Once inside, he alleged, Rizzo and the men punched him and stole $1,630 and his Rolex watch.

He claimed they gave the money to Power 105.1 radio DJ Will, who then gave him enough cash back to pay for a cab ride home.

But Florio fired back that Gibson concocted the tale to cover up his own crime — keeping $10,000 Rizzo gave him that he was supposed to use renting hotel rooms during the 2013 NBA All-Star game in Houston, which Rizzo was going to let at higher rates.

“The allegations made against Ramona Rizzo by Shonte Gibson, a known con artist, are false,” Florio said. “She is cooperating with the NYPD investigations of this matter and is looking forward to being exonerated of these baseless and fabricated allegations.”

Florio acknowledged that Rizzo knew Gibson, but insisted that he not only kept the $10,000 earmarked for the hotel rooms, but also “fraudulently” used her credit cards

“We are going to meet with the police and tell them our side of the story,” Florio said. “If the police really believed the complainant they would have arrested her already.”

She declined to provide any additional details about Rizzo’s relationship with Gibson or the weekend episode, including a curious tweet by Rizzo just hours after the alleged strongarm robbery.

“When U Steal or Rob From Any1, Make sure Ur About That Life.....If Not Get A Real Job!!!” she tweeted.

"If U Scam & Rob Girls ... Don't Think That The Streets Will Treat U Like 1 ....!!!!" she posted on Instagram.

Rizzo was born — and later married — into the mob life.

Her grandfather was Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggiero, who made the fatal mistake of introducing undercover FBI agent "Donnie Brasco" into a Bonanno crime family crew that ultimately was destroyed, with a half dozen top mobsters assassinated. Her granddad died in prison.

Last summer, Rizzo planned to marry her longtime Gambino crime family boyfriend, Joseph Sclafani. But weeks before the wedding, Sclafani was packed off to prison for 15 years for distributing millions of dollars in cocaine.

Rizzo starred on the third season of the hit series "Mob Wives" and is a childhood friend of Karen Gravano, who also starred on the show and is the daughter of Gambino underboss-turned-informant, Salvatore "Bull" Gravano.

Ironically, on Rizzo’s website, she says, “Don't Judge Me By a Life I was Born into — Judge me by What I Do With It.”

Attempts to reach her and DJ Will were unsuccessful.

Attempts to reach Gibson, who was two arrests on his record for jumping turnstiles, were unsuccessful.