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

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Staten Island man who is son of turncoat Gambino soldier is accused of being a Colombo associate and is sentenced for extortion

Staten Island resident Primo Cassarino is a Colombo crime family associate, federal prosecutors allege.

And the son of mob turncoat Primo Cassarino Sr. used those wiseguys’ “violent reputation” to extort payment of gambling debt, contend prosecutors.

For that “serious” crime, Cassarino deserved to spend up to 27 months in prison, Brooklyn federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Cassarino’s lawyer, however, contended the alleged mob links are way off.

Such accusations are “extremely inflammatory and prejudicial,” wrote Vincent J. Licata in his memo to the court.

Cassarino, 33, was never accused of engaging in any organized criminal activity, Licata wrote. Nor did he plead guilty to doing so.

But last year Cassarino, did admit to the crime of extortionate collection of credit.

And for that felony he was sentenced on Thursday to 18 months in prison, plus a year of supervised release.

Cassarino has also agreed to forfeit $13,500, which represents his portion of the collected debt, said court papers.

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.

Cassarino was among those charged.

According to prosecutors’ court filings, Cassarino ran a lucrative, illegal online sports-betting operation.

The business “generated significant profits for the operators and significant debts for the gamblers, which, in turn, led to loansharking loans,” wrote prosecutors.

One individual who obtained a loan was a cooperating witness. He had accumulated a gambling debt of over $30,000 on the site, prosecutors said.

Under an arrangement with Joseph Amato Jr., the mob captain’s son, the debt was owed jointly to Cassarino and the younger Amato, said prosecutors.

In intercepted phone calls, Cassarino and Amato Jr. discussed extending a loan to the witness and collecting the debt, prosecutors said.

The two men allegedly used burner phones to try to avoid detection.

Cassarino also regularly contacted a co-defendant who was collecting payments on the loan, said prosecutors.

When the cooperator fell behind, the co-defendant threatened him “on multiple occasions,” prosecutors contend.

Cassarino assisted the co-defendant at least one time in July 2019, said prosecutors.

He texted the witness, said he was a friend of the co-defendant’s and arranged to pick up a payment, prosecutors said.

However, Licata, the defense lawyer, maintained his client never met with or spoke to the witness. Nor did he help in collecting the loan, said the attorney.

As such, his role in the crime was “only peripheral,” Licata contended.

“Mr. Cassarino had nothing whatsoever to do with arranging and/or collecting any loan or with repayment,” Licata wrote. “Mr. Cassarino’s only interest was receiving payment of the gambling debt. … At no time did Mr. Cassarino participate in the use of any type of extortionate means to collect the gambling debt owed by (the cooperating witness).”

Licata sought a sentence of 366 days behind bars for his client, plus a year of supervised release.

Prosecutors asked the judge to impose a sentence within the guideline range of 21 to 27 months in prison.

Judges are not bound by the sentencing guidelines.

Cassarino’s father, also named Primo Cassarino, is a purported Gambino crime family soldier who turned on the mob.

He began cooperating with authorities well over a decade ago.

Previously, in 2003, the elder Cassarino had been convicted of shakedowns at the Staten Island waterfront and of actor Steven Seagal.



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