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

Friday, May 21, 2021

Staten Island man awaits sentencing in luxury car storage shakedown where he mentioned name of Colombo captain

He once sold luxury Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

But Philip Lombardo lost his job after his arrest in 2019 on extortion, racketeering and other charges.

Now, there’s a chance he could lose his freedom.

Lombardo, 62, awaits sentencing in Brooklyn federal court for conspiring to extort money from a victim by threats of violence.

The victim was a person who stored vehicles for Lombardo’s old Mercedes boss in Brooklyn.

The sentencing is scheduled for June 9.

Prosecutors have asked the judge to impose a sentence within the guideline range of 15 to 21 months in prison.

The defense seeks probation.

In October 2019, Brooklyn federal prosecutors announced the arrests of 20 suspects, including Joseph Amato Sr., a purported Colombo crime family capo, and other alleged mobsters.

The defendants were indicted on wide-ranging charges of racketeering, extortion, loansharking and stalking.

One defendant was accused of attempting to fix an NCAA college basketball game. He did not succeed.

Lombardo was among the 17 Staten Islanders charged. Public records indicate he is from New Springville.


Prosecutors identified him as a purported Colombo associate, an allegation his lawyer vehemently objects to in his sentencing memorandum.

“Mr. Lombardo is not a gangster, and he is not an associate of an organized crime family,” wrote John M. Murphy III.

Lombardo knew Amato Sr. through his job, Murphy wrote. He sold Amato and his family “numerous vehicles” throughout the years, said Murphy.

According to prosecutors’ court filings, the extortion occurred in December 2018 and January 2019.

Lombardo was working then at Mercedes-Benz of Brooklyn.

Sometime in 2018, the victim signed a contract to store some of the dealership’s vehicles at an off-site warehouse.

Shortly thereafter, Lombardo approached the man.

The defendant told him he needed to fork over a percentage of his proceeds from the contract, said prosecutors.

Otherwise, he said Amato Sr. would destroy the cars the man was storing for the dealership, prosecutors allege.

Lombardo demanded $500 a month from the victim, said prosecutors. He indicated he’d split the cash with Amato Sr. and possibly a third person, prosecutors said.

Based on Lombardo’s threat, the victim shelled out a one-time payment of $5,000, prosecutors wrote.

Four years earlier, the victim had learned the hard way who Amato was, said prosecutors.

The mob captain and others “violently assaulted” him after the victim had become embroiled in a verbal dispute with Amato’s son, Joseph Amato Jr., prosecutors said.

Lombardo had “lured” the man to the location where he was attacked, said prosecutors. However, it was unclear if Lombardo knew of Amato’s plans to assault the victim, prosecutors said.


The defendant lost his job at Mercedes after his 2019 arrest.

Afterward, he managed to land another car-sales gig. However, it was for less than half his salary at Mercedes, his lawyer said in court papers.

Last October, Lombardo pleaded guilty to interference with commerce by threat or violence to resolve his case.

Prosecutors maintain a sentence within the guideline range of 15 to 21 months is appropriate. Judges are not bound by the guidelines.

“Because extortionate conduct allows dangerous criminal organizations such as the Colombo family to earn money, these crimes are necessary for the Colombo family’s survival,” wrote prosecutors Elizabeth Geddes, Megan E. Farrell and James McDonald. “And, because extortions can lead to violence, this crime is particularly serious and warrants a sentence within the guidelines range.”

Murphy, the defense lawyer, maintained probation is sufficient punishment.

Lombardo, he contends, was “a minor participant in the extortion.”

He noted Lombardo has no prior criminal convictions. The lawyer also pointed to various letters of support submitted on the defendant’s behalf.

In them, family, friends and community members described him as a “caring, devoted father and friend” and talked about his “honesty and selflessness,” said Murphy.

“The most noteworthy part of this case, as it relates to Mr. Lombardo, is how aberrational this conduct is for him,” wrote the attorney. “… Phil Lombardo has made the world a better place for those he encounters. … It is extremely saddening to see a selfish act tarnish his exemplary character.”

Should the judge decide to incarcerate Lombardo, Murphy asked that he impose home detention or a sentence below the guideline range.

As part of his sentence, Lombardo must forfeit $5,000, said prosecutors’ court filings.



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