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

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Claw got his hands into profits from festival games

Benjamin “The Claw” Castellazzo ordered a split of Razzle Dazzle profits at festivals, plus a cut for himself, federal court papers state.

A mobbed-up carnival company bamboozled patrons of Italian feasts with a rigged game called Razzle Dazzle, then split winnings among the Colombo and Genovese crime families, the feds say.
The scheme played out in the summer of 2010 with the two mob families embroiled in a beef over which crime clan would have the scamming rights to the crooked carnival game at New York City feasts, according to court papers.
An unidentified Genovese gangster had griped that Colombo associate Angelo "Little Angelo" Spata was blocking efforts to put the game at feasts including the annual Figli di Santa Rosalia on 18th Ave. in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
Spata, son-in-law of jailed Colombo crime boss Carmine "The Snake" Persico, owns Toy Store Amusements, a Brooklyn-based business that rents rides and games to feasts and church carnivals.
The gangsters held a sitdown to resolve the beef at the Salty Dog saloon in Bay Ridge, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes.
“Spata told the Genovese crime family soldier that he would not permit the Razzle Dazzle games at the feast because it would attract law enforcement scrutiny. . . . The Genovese crime family soldier told Spata that he knew Spata operated a similar game at these feasts,” Geddes wrote in court papers.
The Razzle Dazzle games are lucrative scams because they’re rigged so contestants lose their money and rarely win prizes, the prosecutor noted.
To play, the contestant lays down $1 to roll eight marbles onto a game board with numbered holes. To win, the contestant must accumulate 10 points, which almost never happens, but they get close enough to keep betting more.

"The game is not rigged mechanically, but the player is psychologically manipulated to make you think you are on the verge of winning," magician Darwin Ortiz told the Daily News.
To break the Razzle Dazzle logjam, reputed Colombo underboss Benjamin "The Claw" Castellazzo was brought into a second round of settlement talks at a sushi restaurant on Fourth Ave.
Castellazzo had inside dope that the Colombos were already getting a piece of the Razzle Dazzle action from the Genovese soldier's brother, so he ruled the Genovese family could operate the game at the feasts and the crime families would each get $7,500 of the proceeds, the court papers state.
Spata allegedly had to give a portion of his cut to Castellazzo, who earned his nickname because he gets his "claws" into everyone's illicit earnings.


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