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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Once wrongfully convicted Colombo mobster dodges return to jail


A reputed Colombo crime family associate who served more than 20 years in prison on a wrongful conviction escaped a return to jail today when he was sentenced to probation on extortion charges.
Scott Fappiano will have to serve three years probation, pay a $40,000 fine, and hand over $2,000 in forfeiture to the government for participating in the mob-connected shake-down plot.
Brooklyn federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said Fappiano's experience as an innocent man who endured the horrors of prison played a "very significant" role in her decision to not send Fappiano back to jail.
Fappiano - who is now 50 - was just 23 years old when he was convicted of raping a NYPD officer’s wife after a trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court back in 1985.
Two decades passed before he was exonerated through DNA evidence that cleared him of the sexual assault.
At today's hearing, Fappiano recounted some of the chilling ordeals he underwent during his years behind bars.
While serving time in New York's state prison system, his face was crushed with a pipe, he was cut with a razor blade, and stabbed in the back with an icepick.
Once Fappiano saw a man burn to death in prison after being doused with gasoline and set afire.
To escape such dangers, Fappiano says he voluntarily spent eight years in solitary confinement.
Since his release from prison five years ago, he has struggled with alcohol and drug problems directly linked to his wrongful conviction, said Harlan Protass, his attorney.
But Brooklyn federal prosecutors pointed out that after Fappiano was freed, he returned to his life as a mobster and was involved in a number of crimes.
Last summer, the Colombo wiseguy pleaded guilty to participating in the extortion plot, which involved threats of violence.
Fappiano apologized today to the victim of the extortion and said he was sorry for his bad decisions.
Assistant US Attorney Liz Geddes told the judge that prosecutors did not object to Fappiano being placed on probation, but said she was not convinced that the wiseguy will permanently leave the Colombo crime family and fore-go a life of crime.
After the hearing, Fappiano's defense attorney said justice had been done.
"We are grateful to the court for the careful consideration it gave to the special circumstances in Mr. Fappiano's case," Protass said.


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