Dioguardi, John (1914-1979)

Born New York, NY, April 29, 1914.

Died Pennsylvania, Jan. 12, 1979.

"Johnny Dio" Dioguardi, born on Manhattan's Lower East Side, became a fierce and resourceful capodecina in the Lucchese Crime Family who helped tie American organized labor to organized crime. He was the nephew of James "Jimmy Doyle" Plumeri.

Dioguardi's first significant conviction occurred in 1937, when he pleaded guilty to working with Plumeri to extort monthly tribute payments from truck drivers. He served time in Sing Sing Prison. Upon his release, he became involved in dress manufacturing companies.

By the 1950s, Dio was one of the country's more powerful labor racketeers, and he aided Jimmy Hoffa's climb to the Teamster presidency through strongarm tactics and the creation of fraudulent "paper" locals.

The racketeer's strength was diminished after he ordered an attack on crusading journalist Victor Riesel. Sulfuric acid was thrown in Riesel's face in April of 1956, permanently blinding the newsman. The deed was tracked back to Dio, and the American press - including Riesel, who continued to crusade through the media - hounded him from that point on.

Dioguardi was convicted of labor extortion and conspiracy early in 1958. He was sentenced to serve 15-30 years in prison. During the trial, his connections with Hoffa were uncovered.
While in prison, Dioguardi was also convicted of income tax evasion in 1960. He was sentenced to four years and a $5,000 fine for that offense. White collar offenses continued to come to light.
Dio earned additional jail time and fines in 1967 for bankruptcy fraud and in 1968 for defrauding investors in a car-leasing company.

Dioguardi died in a Pennsylvania hospital while in federal custody on Jan. 12, 1979.

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