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

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mobster given probation by judge is nabbed by FBI on new charges

One of the dozens of people rounded up today in a mob related waste carting industry shakedown scheme is a mobster who last year was given a big break as he faced prison for threatening to maim a debtor.
Scott Fappiano, 51, a mob associate who has been linked to both the Gambino and Colombo crime families, allegedly broke his promise to go straight and went right back to his Mafia extortion tactics only days after a federal judge placed him on probation. He will be charged in Manhattan federal court later today for allegedly extorting "protection" payments from a trash hauler, an indictment says.
Scott Fappiano
Before he was placed on probation in January 2012, Fappiano apologized to the victim of the earlier loansharking extortion and said he was sorry for his bad decisions.
His contrition and tragic personal saga played a major role in the judge's decision last year to place Fappiano on three years probation, ordering him to pay a $40,000 fine, and hand over $2,000 in forfeiture to the government.
At the time, Brooklyn federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said that Fappiano's previous experience -- as an innocent man wrongly convicted who had endured the horrors of prison -- played a "very significant" role in her decision to not send Fappiano back to prison.
Fappiano was just 23 years old when he was wrongly convicted of raping an NYPD officer’s wife and imprisoned after a trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court back in 1985. He spent two decades behind bars before he was exonerated through DNA evidence that cleared him of the sexual assault.
Last year at his sentencing on the mob loansharking extortion. Fappiano recounted some of the chilling ordeals he underwent during his years in jail.
While serving time in New York's state prison system, his face was crushed with a pipe, his was cut with a razor blade, and he was 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 being exonerated six years ago, Fappiano has grappled with problems of substance abuse directly linked to his wrongful conviction, his attorney said last year.
“In the years following his release, Mr. Fappiano struggled with alcohol and drugs in a misguided attempt at self-medicating for the severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress from which he was suffering,” his lawyer, Harlan J. Protass, wrote to the judge last year.
Following a DUI arrest in New Jersey in 2010, Fappiano has tried to confront these substance abuse problems and is wrestling to conquer them, his attorney insisted.
In 2011, the wiseguy checked himself into a long-term residential drug and alcohol treatment facility in Queens and spent six months as an in-patient there.
Since leaving re-hab, Fappiano has started a new regimen -- participating in weekly counseling sessions and attending Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings, his attorney said.
But last year federal prosecutors say that since his release from prison six years ago after being cleared of the sexual assault, Fappiano was quick to resume his association with mobsters.
"He schemed with members and associates of the Colombo family to assault the ex-husband of his current wife, to commit a violent armed robbery, and to distribute marijuana," Brooklyn Assistant US Attorney Liz Geddes wrote in 2012.
Last year, Fappiano pleaded guilty to participating in the earlier mob loansharking extortion plot after the FBI captured the wiseguy discussing his debt collection methods with the help of a government informant wearing a hidden "wire" tape recorder.
"I want to be diplomatic," Fappiano said about pressuring the debtor to repay a loan.
If "it gets to the point where he may have to get his f--ing leg broken... I’ll make sure I’m in court somewhere or doing a deposition," Fappiano said, according to a transcript filed with court documents.
As he awaited sentencing last year, the feds voiced their skepticism about his vow to keep clean and said they were not convinced that the wiseguy will permanently leave his mob activities and forego a life of crime.
After Fappiano's arrest today - if the new waste hauling shakedown charges leveled against him are to be believed - it would seem to suggest that following his vow last year to go straight he waited only days before breaking his promise and resuming his alleged extortion activities, a mob expert told The Post.



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