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

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Former New Jersey cop and Genovese associate busted for threats to debtor

A former Passaic police officer turned mob enforcer who served more than a decade in prison for stabbing and beating a debtor was arrested Friday by the FBI on charges of using threats of violence to collect a $30,000 debt.

Stefano Mazzola, 68, of Rockaway, was accused of threatening to physically harm the victim if he did not repay the loan, which had been transferred to Mazzola, authorities said.

The arrest complaint detailed two telephone conversations recorded last month in which Mazzola allegedly used extortionate means to try to collect the debt.

"Let me explain something to ya … and I don't care who is listening to my phone or not, if I want to do something to ya, I don't give a [expletive] if you give me a million dollars," Mazzola allegedly said in the first call, on Jan. 17. "If I'm looking to hurt ya, I'll take the money and still hurt ya."

During the second call, on Jan. 23, the victim told Mazzola, "You know you're going to get paid."

In response, Mazzola said: "I don't believe nothing. But listen, I know what I'm gonna do. 'Cause it doesn't matter to me. It don't matter whether it's now or 10 years from now. It don't matter. You don't understand. You just don't know me. I don't give a [expletive] if an agent is listening."

Wearing a black hooded sweat shirt and blue jeans, the bald-headed Mazzola was brought in shackles before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark on Thursday afternoon to be advised of the charges and his rights.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Colone told the defendant he could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the extortion charge.

She said the government was seeking detention on grounds that no combination of conditions could guarantee his future appearances and the safety of the community.

Mazzola's attorney, Miles R. Feinstein, said he would submit a bail package next week.

Outside the courtroom, Feinstein said his client "absolutely denies that he did anything wrong."

"There's no doubt that there's a defense in the case and we're confident that he'll be vindicated," Feinstein added.

"Since he's been out of prison, he's been leading an exemplary life," Feinstein said. "It's our position that he has paid his debt to society and there's no justification for this particular charge."

Mazzola, who once boasted on a wiretap that he opened a victim's head "like a cantaloupe," was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison in 1999 for assaulting a debtor in a Passaic store as part of a plot to collect an $80,000 loan-sharking debt.

Mazzola, a reputed Genovese crime family associate, has also previously served time on state armed robbery charges and a federal extortion charge stemming from his involvement with the Genovese crew once headed by Louis "Streaky" Gatto.



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