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

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gambino associate reinvents himself as a succesful car salesman

MEET THE mobster car dealer with an Infiniti of chutzpah.
A reputed Gambino associate convicted of a $20 million securities scam has reinvented himself as a successful car salesman — a lucrative skill he’s hoping will keep him out of prison.
Michael Scarpaci, of Staten Island, is set to begin serving a 25-month federal sentence on Sept. 12.
But his boss at the Long Island Infiniti dealership he has been helping to notch record sales is lobbying to keep him on the payroll until the end of the year.
“If allowed to remain with us until the end of the year it will give us ample opportunity to finish well above our factory objectives for 2012,” Infiniti’s executive manager David Fine wrote in a letter to Federal Judge Jack Weinstein. “He has had a tremendous impact on our organization.”
Fine claims sales at the dealership are the best in seven years — “largely in part to Michael’s hard work and dedication.”
Scarpaci was sentenced in September and has already been granted two adjournments that have allowed him to remain free. Federal prosecutors say Scarpaci was a ringleader of the massive scheme that duped more than 1,000 victims into believing they were investing with a Wall St. investment firm called Gryphon Holdings.
In reality, it was nothing more than a boiler room operation run from a Staten Island strip mall.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Burlingame said it’s well past time for Scarpaci to face the music.
“The defendant has also already benefited immeasurably from the court's largesse,” Burlingame stated in court papers.
It’s unclear whether Scarpaci has started paying the $855,018 he has been ordered to forfeit or the $2.1 million he owes victims. His lawyer, Joseph Corozzo, did not return a call.
Scarpaci, 36, told the Daily News he’s just trying to support his wife and four kids.
“With my wife going back to work, my children starting school and me going off to handle this situation, it’s a lot for my family to swallow,” he said from the showroom of the Manhasset dealership.
Scarpaci acknowledged that his customers are unaware of his shady past, and he’s actively tried to scrub the Internet of photos of himself.
“It’s so embarrassing for my career,” he said.
He said it’s easy for his customers to trust him.
“I can only control how I take care of them, how I gain their trust and friendship . . . as if they were customers for life,” he said.
Scarpaci’s Thursday explanation was eerily similar to his secretly recorded spiel at Gryphon on the art of the scam.
“These clients have to befriend you,” Scarpaci told his accomplices, according to a court transcript. Apparently, his sweet talk works. Before the Gryphon fraud, Scarpaci sold cars at a Nissan dealership in Queens — earning between $250,000 and $300,000 in 2009, according to court papers.
His career trajectory might come as a surprise to people familiar with one of his earliest experiences with cars. At the age of 5, he was left alone by his mother and brother in the family car, which was stolen with him in it.
The car thief crashed into a pole, leaving Scarpaci with lingering feelings of abandonment, his lawyer claimed in court papers. In addition to the fraud conviction, Scarpaci’s rap sheet contains prior arrests for illegal gambling and DWI, and court papers document past addictions to alcohol, cocaine and gambling.
The secret of his car success is simple, he said.
“We strive for perfection and only accept excellence,” he said. “You’re not just buying a car, you're becoming part of our family.”



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