The cousin of the late Mob Wives star Big Ang was arrested for allegedly not paying $100,000 in sales tax on the New York bar that she and the reality star owned together.
SallyAnn Lombardi, 57, the cousin of Angela ‘Big Ang’ Raiola, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with felony grand larceny and criminal tax fraud.
She is accused of collecting $100,000 in sales tax for the Staten Island, New York, bar, The Drunken Monkey, but never paying the money to the state.
Lombardi, who opened The Drunken Monkey with Raiola in 2007, failed to file tax returns between 2009 and 2015, when the business was under her ownership, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the New York Daily News.
Angela ‘Big Ang’ Raiola found fame on the hit VH1 show, Mob Wives, which aired from 2011 to 2016. Raiola died of brain, lung and throat cancer in February 2016 when she was 55 years old
Lombardi was arraigned on Tuesday and released on her own recognizance, a District Attorney spokesman told the Daily News.
New York officials forced The Drunken Monkey to close in 2015 after it was revealed that Raiola, a convicted felon, was a silent owner at the bar.
The bar, which sits in the West Brighton neighborhood of Staten Island, re-opened last year under a new owner, with the new name the Funkey Monkey.
Raiola, who died of brain, throat and lung cancer in February 2016, was banned from owning a bar without state permission after she pleaded guilty in a 2003 federal drug-dealing case.
A State Liquor Authority probe – started after a 46-year-old man was killed by a punch while breaking up a fight outside the bar – discovered that she received power of attorney over the bar after Lombardi was in a car crash in 2009.
Additionally, the organization found that Raiola was listed as a signatory on a bank account associated with the bar.
New York officials forced The Drunken Monkey to close in 2015 after it was revealed that Raiola, a convicted felon, was a silent owner at the bar
Lombardi told the Daily News that the bar didn’t start making money until Raiola became a reality star in 2011.
Mob Wives aired on VH1 from 2011 until a month after Raiola’s death last year.
After joining the show, Raiola took over the bills for the bar, Lombardi told the Daily News.
‘She was my best friend, my first cousin and my partner. It’s horrible. She’s not even gone a year, and she’s turning over in her grave, believe me,’ Lombardi said of the arrest.
‘I don’t know what to say. I’m devastated. This was also supposed to be settled,’ she added.
‘Her husband was supposed to make a deal with the tax department and pay everything up to date. But then her cancer got the best of her… and that was the main priority.’
Raiola died in February 2015 when she was just 55 years old after battling stage-four brain and lung cancer.
She was first diagnosed with throat cancer in early 2015 and learned in December 2015 that it had spread to her brain and lungs.
She had admitted to smoking at least one pack of cigarettes a day for over 40 years prior to the cancer diagnosis.
Raiola was first diagnosed with throat cancer in early 2015 and learned in December 2015 that it had spread to her brain and lungs
Raiola lived in Staten Island and became a cast member on Mob Wives because she was the niece of Salvatore ‘Sally Dogs’ Lombardi, a captain in the Genovese crime family.
Throughout the years, she has owned and operated several popular mafia hangouts, including the aforementioned Drunken Monkey’.
She became so popular during the show’s run that she earned two spin-offs on VH1 – Big Ang and Miami Monkey.
Raiola gave viewers a closer look at her life while Miami Monkey followed her as she opened an outpost of the Staten Island bar she owns, Drunken Monkey, in Miami, which was closed when the spin-off was canceled in 2014.
Both shows ran for just one season.
Doctors discovered a lump the size of a lemon in her throat in April 2015 after she had complained of severe neck pain.
It was removed along with some of her lymph nodes in a grueling eight-hour procedure. After the surgery, she said that she loved smoking but had given it up.
‘I don’t regret it,’ Big Ang told the Daily News. ‘I love smoking. I still love the thought of smoking. But it’s not worth it. I realize that now.’
Then she learned in December 2015 that her cancer had spread and began undergoing chemotherapy.