Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese, and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Philadelphia soldier sentenced to 12 years in prison

A Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra mobster was sentenced Thursday for staging a robbery of a New Jersey pawnshop and check cashing business so the owner could collect insurance money, federal prosecutors said.
Salvatore "Sam” Piccolo, 68, of Atlantic City, also has admitted that he sold nearly a half-pound of crystal meth to undercover FBI agents, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Piccolo was sentenced to over 12 years in prison and was also ordered to pay $174,025 in restitution to the insurance company the shop owner filed the claim with, Northland Insurance of Minnesota, officials said
Clad in a nylon mask, Piccolo and an associate entered the pawnshop on April 19, 2014, chained the front doors closed and pulled out a handgun, authorities said.
They bound the owner and then stole cash, jewelry and a gun from a safe in the business, according to the statement. The owner claimed the safe contained $60,000 in cash and eventually was paid the $174,025 claim by the insurance company.
The money was transferred from the insurance company’s Citibank account to the business owner’s Bank of America account in November 2014, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in the statement.
Piccolo also sold meth to undercover FBI agents three times in 2017; once in Sicklerville restaurant parking lot and twice in Atlantic City, federal prosecutors said. The agents paid him over $11,000 in cash for the drugs.


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Lucchese family leaders facing mandatory life sentences after being convicted of murdering notorious Bronx gangster

Four Lucchese mobsters were found guilty Friday of the brutal Bronx hit of a notorious gangster who’d refused to make good on a gambling debt.
Matthew Madonna, Steven “Wonder Boy” Crea, Christopher Londonio and Terrence Caldwell were convicted in White Plains federal court of carrying out the 2013 murder of Michael Meldish, 63, the leader of the ruthless Purple Gang.
Meldish’s crew once did dirty work for the Lucchese, Genovese and Bonanno crime families. But the trial revealed that Meldish made the fatal mistake of refusing to pay a gambling debt owed to Madonna, who was then the acting boss of the Lucchese family.
Madonna, 84, ordered Meldish be taken out. Crea, the underboss, helped Madonna make the decision and relayed the order. Londonio, a made member of the family, helped set up Meldish, who was his friend. Caldwell, a mob associate, fired the fatal shot and fled the scene in a car driven by Londonio.
Meldish was found Nov. 15, 2013 dead from a bullet fired to his head in a car parked in Throgs Neck.
“The violent and disturbing acts of these four organized crime figures included the brutal murder of associate Michael Meldish. Fittingly, all four defendants have been found guilty of their heinous acts of fraud, extortion, and murder on the six-year anniversary of Meldish’s death," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.
Meldish’s Purple Gang once controlled the drug trade in the Bronx and Harlem. Authorities suspected his brother and longtime partner in crime, Joseph Meldish, was responsible for as many as 70 contract killings.
Joseph Meldish, 56, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 2011 for a 1999 murder.
Joseph Coffey, a former commanding officer of the NYPD’s organized crime homicide task force, did not mourn Michael Meldish’s death.
“Michael was a stone-cold killer,” Coffey told the Daily News in 2013.
“It should have happened a long time ago. I call it vermin killing vermin — poetic justice.”
The four men face a mandatory sentence of life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering. Fifteen other people have pleaded guilty in connection with the case.
Londonio, 45, was acquitted of attempting to escape the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn after he was arrested.
That bizarre caper in 2017 allegedly involved a plan to use dental floss to weaken a window — the implausible idea was to poke a hole in the window, and use the floss like a string saw to gradually wear it down.
The caper also involved a stash of bedsheets that in inmate would have used to climb out of an eighth-floor cell. A priest was supposed to smuggle a hacksaw to Londonio. The 350-pound gangster also lost weight so he could fit through the window, authorities said.
Londonio’s attorney John Meringolo said that version of events was full of holes. Prosecutors didn’t prove Londonio had any foreign objects in his cell. A priest never actually visited MDC, he said. Dental floss was never smuggled in and the investigation of the supposed plan was seriously flawed, Meringolo said.
“He’s definitely going to appeal and we’re disappointed in the verdict,” Meringolo said. “We’re happy we beat the escape, but we won the battle and lost the war.”


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Former mob wife hosts fundraiser for Staten Island Assemblywoman

Just a month after one of her aides was busted in a mafia-linked scheme, Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is having a Nov. 19 birthday fund-raising bash for her congressional bid that is being co-hosted by a real life ex-mob wife, The Post has learned.
Sandra Corda Sciandra — the ex-wife of Carmine Sciandra, a reputed Gambino crime family capo who co-owned the Top Tomato grocery chain on Staten Island and pleaded guilty to running a massive sports betting and loan sharking ring — is one of six hosts listed for the Staten Island event.
“Celebrate Nicole’s Birthday and Support Her Congressional Race. Enjoy Live Music, Surprise Guest Appearances, a Buffet and Specialty Drinks. Rolling Stones cover band Sha-Doobie live!” the Malliotakis campaign invite said of the event at Violette’s Cellar.
“This event will be hosted by Sandra Corda-Sciandra, Laura Fitzsimmons Volsario, George Christo, Bob Cutrona, Mark Lauria & George Passariello.”
Carmine Sciandra was sentenced to four-and-half-years in prison and agreed to pay $1.2 million in penalties after pleading guilty to charges of enterprise corruption in 2010.
It’s not Malliotakis’ first brush with people associated with the mob.
Last month, a Staten Island man who was an aide to Malliotakis was busted in a mob-linked scheme to rig a college basketball game.
Malliotakis fired Benjamin Bifalco, 25, who she hired a month prior as a community affairs director, after hearing of the indictment. Bifalco pleaded not guilty to the charges.
As for Carmine Sciandra’s mob ties, they were fairly well known.
In 2005, Sciandra was identified as a reputed Gambino capo on Staten Island after he got shot in the gut at one of his grocery scores. An ex-NYPD detective, accompanied by two reputed Bonanno crime family members, was accused of shooting him but was not charged because Sciandra refused to ID his assailant.
Sciandra and ex-cop Patrick Balsamo were both wielding baseball bats.
Carmine and Sandra Sciandra are listed jointly as paying off a mortgage in 2016 on a mansion property on St. James Place in the Todt Hill section of Staten Island, according to records filed with the Richmond County Clerk’s office. She is listed as the sole mortgage holder of the McMansion where she currently resides.
Sandra Sciandra listed her address at one point at 4045 Amboy Road, the same location as a Top Tomato store, according to deed records.
Malliotakis is the Republican Assemblywoman running for Congress in the 11th Congressional District covering Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn in a bid to oust Democratic freshman incumbent Rep. Max Rose.
Malliotakis defended Sandra Sciandra’s fundraising role in the campaign despite her past association with a mobster.
“Sandra Corda-Sciandra has been divorced from her ex-husband for a number of years, and she has moved on with her life,” said Malliotakis campaign spokesman Rob Ryan.
Sandra Sciandra declined comment outside her Staten Island home. The ex-mob wife previously donated $64 to Malliotakis’ campaign for Assembly in 2014, state Board of Election records show.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Defense lawyer says Lucchese soldier was stockpiling bed sheets not plotting prison escape

Stockpiling bed sheets isn’t a crime, the lawyer for a Lucchese associate accused of plotting to escape a Brooklyn lock-up using a linen ladder told jurors Tuesday.
“People have sheets,” attorney John Meringolo said of the 17 bed sheets found wadded under Christopher Londonio’s bunk in his eighth-floor cell of the Metropolitan Detention Center in 2017. “I submit to you, bed sheets in his room, that’s not gonna cut it.”
The remarks came as Meringolo tried to convince jurors to acquit his client following a four-week racketeering conspiracy trial alongside associates Terrence Caldwell, Steve Crea and acting Lucchese street boss Matthew Madonna.
Jailhouse snitch David Evangelista testified that Londonio’s elaborate plan involved cutting through the window with braided dental floss, severing bars with a hacksaw smuggled in by a priest, and a crash diet in which he binged on bran.
Once the 350 pound wiseguy could fit out the window, he allegedly intended to climb down the knotted sheets to the parking lot below.
“Where’s the hacksaw, where’s the dental floss, where’s the priest?” Meringolo asked Tuesday, before decrying the idea that his client dropped pounds to fit out a window.
“It’s okay to lose weight, you’re allowed to lose weight,” Meringolo bellowed.
Londonio did end up losing some 200 pounds, but only after his plot was discovered and he was thrown in solitary confinement, Meringolo previously told The Post.
The mobster lost so much weight a former associate who took the stand against him, Joseph Foti, couldn’t point him out among the people at the defense table.
Foti testified that Londonio admitted to his involvement in the 2013 slaying of rival Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish, who was shot while sitting in his car in the Bronx.
Prosecutors say Madonna ordered the hit after Meldish failed to repay a $100,000 gambling loan.
The jury is expected to get the case Wednesday.


Jailed NYPD cop who committed murders for Lucchese family dead at 71

Mafia cop Louis Eppolito — who along with his partner Stephen Caracappa helped whack several men for the Lucchese crime family — died on Sunday while serving a life sentence in federal prison, law-enforcement sources told the Post. He was 71.
The ex-NYPD detective was serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson for the eight contract killings that he and Caracappa helped carry out starting in the 1980s.
“Louis died in a hospital with dignity and caring people around him,” his wife, Frances Ann Eppolito, told The Post.
His daughter, Andrea Eppolito-Fisher, mourned her father’s death in a Facebook post Sunday.
“My father, Louis John Eppolito, died peacefully in his sleep at 9:03 pm,” she wrote in the message.
“He died like he lived, on his own terms, as a fighter. And I will miss him and love him forever,” she added.
His cause of death was not immediately known. A source said he’d been struggling with health issues for years.
Eppolito and Caracappa were arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents in 2005 and convicted for their involvement in the eight murders in 2006.
In a deal struck with Lucchese underboss Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso, the two NYPD detectives agreed to pass intelligence reports about mob rats to the crime family in exchange for a monthly salary.
In two of the slayings they did for the mafia family, Eppolito and Caracappa used NYPD intelligence to track down Lucchese rivals and deliver them to mob executioners.
One of the victims, Israeli diamond dealer Israel Greenwald, was pulled over by the dirty detectives after they tracked his license plate using an NYPD database.
They drove him to a warehouse on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, where Caracappa and another mafia hood killed him, while Eppolito acted as a lookout, it was revealed at their trial.
Greenwald’s remains were buried underneath the warehouse, until they were excavated in 2005.
In another one of the contract-hits, Caracappa and Eppolito shoved a canary into the mouth of a Lucchese associate suspected of informing on the mob outfit.
Caracappa died at a medical detention facility in Butner, North Carolina, in 2017. He was 75.


Prosecutor mocks Lucchese soldier's failed jail break

A Lucchese soldier who plotted to escape a lock-up using a bran-only diet and dental floss was mocked Monday by a federal prosecutor who tried to convince jurors they should convict the mobster and his cohorts.
“I want to be clear about one thing, this is a terrible plan,” Assistant US Attorney Hagan Scotten said of Christopher Londonio’s 2017 plot, which was foiled when his cellmate David Evangelista ratted him out to authorities.
The questionable scheme involved a priest smuggling in a hacksaw, Londonio sawing through the window with dental floss, squeezing out a window and climbing nine stories down 17 sets of knotted bed sheets to the parking lot below.
But first, the formerly 350-pound mafioso planned to drop over 100 pounds to even squeeze out the window — a feat he intended to accomplish solely by eating bran cereal.
“You all saw how narrow that prison window was,” Scotten told jurors. “He’s going to lower himself out a ninth-story window with sheets tied together … I don’t think Mr. Londonio has a mountaineering background.”
Londonio did lose the weight — but his attorney John Meringolo said it happened after he was thrown in solitary for the failed stunt.
Scotten’s comments came during closing arguments in the federal racketeering trial of Londonio and associates Matthew Madonna, Terrence Caldwell and Steven Crea.
The quartet are facing various charges, including murder, for the execution-style shooting for Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish in 2013.
Prosecutors claim Madonna, then the acting street boss, ordered Meldish whacked after he refused to pay back a $100,000 loan and told Madonna to “f–k off.”
“That kind of disrespect can’t be tolerated,” Hadden said Monday. “The mob is all about violence and respect.”
Defense closings are expected Tuesday.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Infamous Chicago mob boss Joey the Clown Lombardo dies in federal prison

They are the defiant, last words of notorious Chicago mob boss Joey "The Clown" Lombardo who died on Saturday while in prison.

"I am Positively Not Guilty of all charges in the lndictment. I rest my case Judge (sic)."

That is the conclusion of Lombardo's rambling letters this summer sent to U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey and obtained by the I-Team. Lombardo sent the letters in connection with his 2015 civil suit aimed at vacating his life sentence from the Family Secrets mob murder case. In short, Lombardo wanted out of prison up to the very end.

The mostly handwritten letters are part legal argument, part revisionist history and part play on the heartstrings; i.e. tears of the Clown who was best known for his wisecracks, quips and courthouse antics.

"I am 90 years old, on 12 pills a day, had 32 radiation on my throat cancer, had 4 stents in my arterys at 4 different times, had golbladder removed, had 4 polips cut, all my teeth are gone, I've waited 6 months for dentures they tell me I have to wait my turn...(sic)." wrote Lombardo in a letter postmarked June 26. "Had my daughter die at June 30, 2015 she was 57 years old died from pancreatic cancer...(sic)."

The nonagenarian was doing time at the fed's so-called "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado-and had no chance of release-unless he were to win a super-longshot legal case challenging his life sentence.

In the first letter, addressed to the clerk of the court, Lombardo wrote: "I hope and pray that you and Judge Blakey correct the unjust guilty verdict by the jury."

Lombardo cites "positive proof of my innocents (sic) of a conspiracy enterprise and the murder of Dan Seifert. We were friends until he was killed."

There was nothing friendly about what happened to Seifert, according to federal investigators. The suburban businessman was ambushed and murdered 45 years ago outside his Bensenville plastics factory, as his wife and their four year old son watched. Authorities said Lombardo killed Seifert to prevent him from testifying a few weeks later. Seifert was to be the government's star witness in a Teamster pension fund embezzlement case against Lombardo. Instead, he was cut down first with a .38 revolver and then finished off with a shotgun blast to the head.

Seifert's murder was one of 18 unsolved killings that occurred during decades of mob hits, that federal agents and prosecutors cleared during Operation: Family Secrets, a landmark Outfit trial that began in 2007.

Mob boss Lombardo argued that he had nothing to do with the hit on Seifert and claimed he wasn't one of the two ski-masked assassins.

He also claimed, once in a newspaper classified ad, that he had nothing to do with the Chicago mob. Federal agents didn't believe him, and said that he was at the top of the Outfit's hierarchy for years-especially as his contemporaries died or were themselves imprisoned.

Gangland-Chicago has produced a roster of clever and usually fitting nicknames given to organized crime figures. The characters include:

John "No Nose" DiFronzo (whose schnozzle was partially sliced off while jumping through a Michigan Ave. plate glass window during a retail theft) to Victor "Popeye" Arrigo (who would remove his glass eye, place it on a stack of cash piled on the bar and announce he was "keeping my eye on my money.")

But in the annals of Outfit history, perhaps only Al "Scarface" Capone had a more memorable nickname than Joey "The Clown."

He made his mark, and lived up to the nickname, even in mugshots. An early police picture of the hoodlum has him with his mouth open, head cocked and looking skyward-appearing like a rabid dog.

Most of his comedic antics occurred while coming and going from federal court. Lombardo's most legendary (and frequently displayed) stunt was to take the day's newspaper-usually the tabloid sized Sun-Times-and place it over his face as a makeshift "disguise" complete with eye cutouts. Sometimes he would also cut a small mouth hole near his mouth to make room for a typically-present cigarette.

A Lombardo family member on Monday told the ABC7 I-Team that there were no funeral arrangements to announce but that "he probably won't be laid out."


Friday, October 18, 2019

Lucchese turncoat couldnt identify defendant due to massive weight loss

At least half the plan worked.
A reputed Lucchese crime-family soldier who allegedly plotted to slim down to escape through a Brooklyn jail window has dropped so much weight that a longtime crony failed to recognize him in federal court Friday.
Christopher Londonio — whose formerly 350-pound frame graced The Post’s “Veal Shank Redemption” front page  Friday — was unidentifiable to Lucchese turncoat Joseph Foti in court in White Plains, Westchester County, despite the witness knowing the defendant for years.
Foti first said on the stand that he couldn’t point to Londonio in the courtroom because he didn’t see him. Then when Londonio’s lawyer, John Meringolo, said his client was there beside him at the table, a seemingly genuinely stunned Foti let out a surprised whistle.
“You lost a lot of weight,” Foti muttered to Londonio.
Meringolo later told The Post that his client lost about 200 pounds after his alleged escape attempt — because he was thrown into solitary confinement for 19 months over the doomed plot.
The lawyer said the “terrible conditions” in solitary contributed to his client’s drastic weight loss. He declined to elaborate.
The feds have said Londonio was plotting to escape Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center while awaiting trial by stockpiling dental floss and bedsheets to help break out — and planning to lose enough weight so he could shimmy out the eighth-floor window when he finally did and climb to the parking lot below.
The scheme also involved the help of his parents, his estranged wife, a bookie and a priest, according to a newly unsealed FBI report on the 2017 incident.
Jurors seated the case were grilled Friday over whether they saw The Post’s front page.
Both federal prosecutors as well as lawyers for the once-sizeable suspect and his cronies, Matthew Madonna, Terrence Caldwell and Steven Crea, agreed the jurors should be individually questioned on whether they saw the report.
No panelist said he or she had seen the front page.
Foti testified Friday that Londonio admitted to him that he drove a triggerman to the scene of the 2013 execution-style slaying of Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish.
Prosecutors claim that Madonna, the street boss at the time, ordered the hit after Meldish refused to pay back a $100,000 loan and told Madonna to “f–k off” when he called to collect.
The four men are on trial for racketeering conspiracy and other various charges, including Meldish’s murder.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Federal judge releases one and holds another Colombo mobster citing safety risk to Staten Island residents

A federal judge released one tough-talking Colombo crime family associate from custody Tuesday, but decided his seasoned wiseguy co-defendant was too dangerous to let loose.
Daniel Capaldo, 54, an alleged Colombo gangster, was held in custody at his Brooklyn federal court bail hearing, with U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo citing his criminal record in deciding his release would pose a danger to Staten Island residents.
“It’s almost as if Mr. Capaldo can’t help but get himself in trouble — even if he’s being watched by the government,” she said. “So I find that I cannot release him under those circumstances.”
Prosecutors said career criminal Capaldo, who was sentenced to 14 years in federal lockup on drug trafficking and tax fraud charges in the late 90s and another three years for financing and extortion a few years after his release, used his larger-than-life presence to “intimidate and extort” victims in loansharking schemes.
“He’s committed crime after crime after crime,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes.
The alleged mobster’s younger co-defendant, Anthony Silvestro, 28, was released on a $500,000 surety bond. Citing the Bail Reform Act and Silvestro’s clean record, Judge Kuo placed him on home detention with an ankle monitor, which she ordered him to pay for.
Geddes said an eager-to-please Silvestro was heard bragging about beatings and making “a grown man cry” in wiretapped calls, adding that he signed himself up for violent shakedowns without ever questioning their purpose.
“If you say you need me, I’m there,” she quoted Silvestro as saying on one call.
Silvestro’s mother, brother, aunt and uncle, who were all present in court Tuesday, co-signed the mammoth bond amount.
“That’s half a million dollars — that’s a lot of money,” the judge warned them.
Capaldo and Silvestro are two of 20 suspects charged with extortion by violent means, loansharking, racketeering and other offenses in three sweeping federal indictments unsealed Oct. 3.
The investigation started in November 2016 after workers at an MTA bus depot in New Springville, Staten Island, discovered a GPS tracking device planted on the oil pan of a city bus.
Prosecutors connected the device to alleged Colombo captain Joseph Amato — who they allege was stalking his then-girlfriend — and began wiretapping his calls.
During the back-to-back hearings, lawyers for the two men said the government failed to prove either man engaged in violent or criminal acts.
“Can you detain someone for talking tough?” Silvestro’s attorney Mathew Mari said. “Maybe he’s got the wrong friends . . . but I don’t think that’s enough to convict someone of these crimes.”
Capaldo’s lawyer, Vincent Romano, said Geddes’ arguments were “cut and pasted” from a 2011 detention memo filed against Capaldo in the same courthouse. The lawyer said his client has given the court no reason to believe he won’t abide by certain conditions under release.
“He’s got a 4-year-old at home. He’s got a wife,” Romano told reporters. “We’ll deal with the charges in court and hopefully he’ll be granted bail in the near future.”


Monday, October 7, 2019

Feds say former acting Lucchese boss ordered murder over $100K unpaid loan

Former acting Lucchese mob boss Matthew Madonna ordered a 2013 Bronx hit on a onetime ally after the man refused to repay a $100,000 loan, a prosecutor said Monday.
The statement came during opening arguments in the White Plains trial of Steven Crea Sr., Christopher Londonio, Terrence Caldwell and Madonna — who are accused of racketeering conspiracy and other charges for their respective roles in the Lucchese organized crime family.
Prosecutor Celia Cohen told jurors that Madonna and Crea ordered the murder of notorious Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish after Meldish told Madonna to “f–k off” when he asked about his money.
“Not repaying a boss is a dangerous game,” said Cohen, adding that Londonio and alleged triggerman Caldwell subsequently executed Meldish as he sat in his parked car in November 2013.
“Michael Meldish is dead because of these four men,” said Cohen.
In addition to racketeering, the reputed wiseguys are also accused of extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling and other acts of ruthless violence. Londonio is also facing a separate charge for stockpiling bed sheets while in custody — purportedly as part of a plot to escape out the window of a federal lockup.
Lawyers for the four men encouraged jurors to focus on the array of turncoat cooperators expected to take the stand during the trial.
“They have lied, stolen, cheated — they put their own personal interests above all else,” Crea’s lawyer Robert Franklin said of the government cooperators.
Caldwell’s lawyer George Goltzer also emphatically denied that his client killed Meldish — noting the two were such close friends that Meldish routinely drove Caldwell to the hospital for chemotherapy.
Later Monday, jurors heard testimony from a mother and daughter who discovered Meldish’s remains.
“We saw a car door and someone’s leg hanging out of the car,” retired nurse Janet Forbes testified. She drove the car around the block, and pulled up alongside to investigate, thinking he might be in a booze-induced stupor.
“When I saw him up close he didn’t look drunk, he looked dead,” said Forbes.
Madonna, 83, served as the Lucchese family’s “street boss” until 2017, when the formal boss Vittorio “Vic” Amuso — who’s serving out a life sentence for murder — allegedly appointed Michael DeSantis in his stead.
The trial continues Tuesday.


Tracking device led to arrests of 20 Colombo mobsters

A domineering mobster’s efforts to track his girlfriend with a GPS device led authorities to uncover an array of criminal schemes that included an attempt to fix a college basketball game, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
The stunning turn of events was revealed as 20 people — including 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family — were busted on charges including racketeering, loansharking and extortion.
Reputed Colombo capo Joseph Amato, 60, allegedly bought the electronic tracker to keep tabs on his then-girlfriend, identified only as “Jane Doe,” by secretly attaching it to her car.
Amato stalked the woman between Jan. 1, 2015, and Oct. 21, 2016, during which time he had to “regularly and covertly retrieve the device, charge it and then re-position it on Jane Doe’s car,” according to papers filed in Brooklyn federal court.
The controlling capo also allegedly sent the woman intimidating emails about his influence and power on Staten Island, including one that said, “This is my island. Not yours. I have the eyes all over.”
In another, Amato — who in 1995 was convicted in the shooting of a 15-year-old witness to an attempted rubout during the third Colombo family civil war — allegedly boasted that “I’m called a MAN’S MAN!!!”
“Anyone could end up in jail. I don’t wish it on anyone[.] Especially weak men. Who could never deal with it. I thrived there and anywhere I go,” court papers say he wrote.
The woman eventually discovered the GPS tracker, which then somehow wound up attached to the oil pan of an MTA bus, “likely to thwart Amato’s stalking efforts,” court papers say.
A mechanic found the device in November 2016 during a routine maintenance inspection at the MTA bus depot on Staten Island, leading the feds to launch an investigation, according to the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office.
Wiretaps on the phones of Amato, his son Joseph Amato Jr. and reputed Colombo soldier Thomas Scorcia resulted in “thousands of intercepted phone calls and text messages,” court papers say.
The eavesdropping allegedly caught Amato Jr., 26, talking on a cellphone with Benjamin Bifalco, 25, about Bifalco’s plan to “pay thousands of dollars to multiple members” of an unidentified team to lose an NCCA Division 1 basketball game by more than the point spread.
But Bifalco apparently couldn’t pull off the December 2018 scam, with court papers saying that Amato Jr. sent two text messages to Scorcia, 52, shortly before the opening tip.
“Ok I wouldn’t trust the game I was telling u about” and “I’m not touching it personally,” Amato Jr. allegedly wrote.
Vincent Scura of the Colombo crime family leaves the Brooklyn Federal Court.
In court papers, prosecutors said that “was good advice given that the favored team did not cover the spread and the bets would not have been winning ones.”
The defendants — who include reputed Colombo soldiers Daniel “The Wig” Capaldo and Vincent “Vinny Linen” Scura, and reputed associate Anthony “Bugz” Silvestro — were being arraigned Thursday afternoon.


Colombo captain's GPS tracking device shook up the MTA

The Colombo crime family wasn’t the only victim of the GPS tracking device that sparked Thursday’s big mob takedown — it also shook up the New York City bus system.
When MTA mechanics found the tracker during a routine maintenance inspection in November 2016, the Staten Island depot where it was located was evacuated and explosives experts were called in to make sure it wasn’t a small bomb, two sources told The Post.
“It was considered a ‘suspicious package,'” one source said. The Yukon Bus Depot in New Springfield was evacuated for more than two hours “as a precaution.”
The device, which was stuck by magnets to the oil pan under a bus in the middle, quickly turned out to be “just” a GPS — and officials confirmed it hadn’t been installed as part of any official MTA study.
Still, the undercarriage of every bus in the five boroughs was searched for any similar devices using mirrors on metal poles.
“We searched every bus as soon as it happened,” one MTA source said.
The mystery of who might want to track the comings and goings of a Staten Island bus — Terrorists? A disgruntled employee? Some renegade, amateur transit geek? — was quickly solved by the feds.
They tracked the tracker with help from an unlikely source, reputed Colombo capo Joseph Amato Sr. who, amazingly, had reported it lost.
Amato had been keeping tabs on his girlfriend by secretly sticking the GPS on her car for “a period of months,” the feds said in court papers.
“Joseph Amato had purchased the device to place a girlfriend, identified herein as Jane Doe, under close surveillance,” the feds said.
The jealous capo would have to “regularly and covertly retrieve the device, charge it and then reposition it on Jane Doe’s car,” the feds said in the papers, which sought to convince a judge to keep Amato and four other defendants held without bail.
“He abandoned the surveillance only after he discovered that the tracker was no longer attached to Jane Doe’s car, at which time he reported the device lost to the electronic service provider administering the tracking service,” the feds said.
“The device apparently had been discovered and was placed on the MTA bus, likely to thwart Amato’s stalking efforts.”
It didn’t work — Amato promptly bought a new GPS, the feds said.
“Apparently not deterred by the discovery of the first device, in May 2017, Amato obtained a replacement tracking device and again took efforts to place it on Jane Doe’s vehicle and surveil her movements.”
Still, the damage was done: it was upon the discovery of the first tracking device that “the government commenced a larger investigation into Amato,” the feds said.
The FBI investigation, which would loop in the Drug Enforcement Administration and the NYPD, found through wiretaps, search warrants and witness interviews that “the Colombo family is thriving and continues to engage in criminal activity including, among other crimes, acts of explicit violence, extortion, loansharking and the operation of illegal gambling businesses,” the feds wrote.
Twenty defendants have been hit with charges that include racketeering, loansharking and extortion.
Amato faces racketeering charges relating to six alleged victims, two counts of cyberstalking and one count of threatening to commit a crime of violence; he pleaded not guilty Thursday and is being held without bail.


Son of Colombo captain released on $1M bail

The son of reputed Colombo capo Joseph Amato Sr. was granted release on $1 million bail — four days after federal prosecutors objected to his release because he keeps dropping his dad’s name around town.
But Brooklyn federal court Judge Leo Glasser — a bench veteran who presided over the 1992 John Gotti murder trial and other mob cases — said Monday that Joseph Amato Jr. would be allowed out under house arrest because has no criminal record, even if he “comes off as a very tough guy.”
“To my knowledge, 25 years ago, when I dealt in a case with his father has no use here,” Glasser said. “This man has no prior arrests. I’m not suggesting a threat isn’t as serious, but that’s what we have.”
Prosecutors argued the younger Amato has a penchant for throwing out his infamous dad’s name to intimidate people — and once beat a man who told him he didn’t know who his father was.
“Home detention isn’t viable for pretrial for the safety of the community,” Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes told Glasser Monday. “The defendant has a history of using electronic devices to carry out his threats of violence and it’s hard to supervise.”
“It’s clear the defendant not only turns to his father, he debriefs him and seeks his approval on acts,” she added,
Amato Jr.’s lawyer called comparing “watermelons to oranges.”
“This is not a case for remand. My client has no criminal history, there’s no allegations of violence and no allegations of destruction. They are hypothesizing that somehow, this will lead to violence,” attorney James Froccaro told the judge.
Both Amatos were scooped up last week in a wide-ranging federal sweep alleging criminal activity dating to 2014 — brought on by the elder Amato using a GPS device to keep tabs on his girlfriend that was discovered by the feds.
Amato Jr. was charged with racketeering, conspiracy, extortion and conspiracy to distribute marijuana.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Feds bust major Colombo family operations on Staten Island

Three indictments were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn variously charging 20 defendants with racketeering, extortion, loansharking, stalking, attempted sports bribery and related offenses.  Among those charged with racketeering were Joseph Amato, an alleged captain in the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (“the Colombo family”); Daniel Capaldo and Thomas Scorcia, alleged Colombo family members; and Joseph Amato, Jr. and Anthony Silvestro, alleged Colombo family associates.  An additional alleged Colombo family member, Vincent Scura, was also indicted.  The indictments relate to the defendants’ charged criminal activities in Staten Island and elsewhere since January 2014.
The defendants were arrested this morning, and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.
As alleged in the indictments and the government’s detention letters, the investigation began in November 2016 when a GPS tracking device was found concealed on an MTA bus.  Amato had earlier obtained the device to surveil his then-girlfriend and boasted about the resources at his disposal to keep her under close surveillance.  In one email, Amato stated, “This is my island. Not yours.  I have eyes all over[.]”  In another email, Amato stated, ‘I’m a MANS MAN!!!”  His then-girlfriend discovered the device on her vehicle and removed it, and it was subsequently attached to and recovered from the MTA bus at a depot n Staten Island.  Thereafter, the government obtained court-authorization to intercept communications over various cellular telephones used by the defendants.
As detailed in the government’s court filings, Amato and members of his crew used violence and threats of violence to earn illegal proceeds and solidify the crew’s reputation and standing.  On one occasion, an individual confronted Amato Jr. for insulting a woman in a bar.  Amato Jr. told the individual to back off, and threatened, “Do you know who my father is?”  The following day, the individual was lured to a location where Amato, Amato Jr. and other members of Amato’s crew brutally beat the victim, leaving him bloodied and in need of staples in his scalp.  On other occasions, court-authorized intercepts captured: (1) Scorcia boasting, “I told the guy sit in the car, and the kid had the tears,” (2) Silvestro advising Scorcia, “[Y]ou send him a smack.  If he raises his hand back to you, we beat the bricks off him, that’s it” and (3) following the commission of one of the charged crimes of violence, Amato Jr. described the crime and the victim’s reaction, “[W]e abused him so bad.  Yo I had, bro, me and Pap (Silvestro), bro, had him shaking bro.  He was in tears, he was crying.”
The court-authorized wiretaps also captured the defendants’ scheme to fix an NCAA college basketball game.  To further the scheme, defendant Benjamin Bifalco offered members of a college basketball team thousands of dollars to intentionally lose the game.  
Two firearms, two stun guns, a canister of purported tear gas and thousands of dollars in U.S. currency were recovered during court-authorized searches of residences of Amato and Scorcia.
“The mafia is not the criminal threat it once was, but we remain vigilant and will vigorously investigate and prosecute members and associates who engage in violence and extortion to intimidate victims and enrich themselves and their crime family,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force for its assistance during the investigation.
“One of the stunning things revealed in this investigation, it seems members of the mafia families that were once almost romanticized by Hollywood and pop culture, have resorted to acting like playground bullies.  As alleged, they are still up to their old extortion and bribery schemes, and terrorizing their victims, but they are also still getting caught.  The FBI New York Joint Organized Crime Task Force wants to send a clear message to members of the families in our communities who continue to operate, we will do all we can to stop a true resurgence from ever happening,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
“The successful outcome of this investigation shows our continued efforts to target and hold responsible organized criminal syndicates,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill.  “I thank our investigators and law enforcement counterparts whose cooperation was vital to bringing these individuals to justice.”
The charges in the indictments are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth A. Geddes and Megan E. Farrell are in charge of the prosecution.
The Defendants:
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-442 (S-1)(ILG)
Age: 60
Colts Neck, New Jersey
Age: 26
Staten Island, New York
Age: 27
Staten Island, New York
DANIEL CAPALDO (also known as “The Wig” and “Shrek”)
Age: 54
Staten Island, New York
Age: 31
Staten Island, New York
Age: 21
Staten Island, New York
Age: 30
Staten Island, New York
Age: 61
Staten Island, New York
JOSEPH MARRA (also known as “Joe Fish”)
Age: 58
Brooklyn, New York
Age: 57
Brooklyn, New York
DOMINICK RICIGLIANO (also known as “The Lion”)
Age: 30
Staten Island, New York
Age: 52
Staten Island, New York
VINCENT SCURA (also known as “Vinny Linen”)
Age: 58
Staten Island, New York
ANTHONY SILVESTRO (also known as “Bugz”)
Age: 28
Staten Island, New York
Age: 26
Staten Island, New York
Age: 39
Staten Island, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-443 (CBA)
Age: 26
Staten Island, New York
Age: 30
Staten Island, New York
Age: 55
Staten Island, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-444 (ARR)
Age:  25
Staten Island, New York