Twenty people, including 11 members of the Colombo crime family, are facing a host of charges that include racketeering, extortion, sports bribery, and loansharking.
Federal officials announced that three indictments were unsealed that charged Joseph Amato, an alleged captain in the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, as well as Daniel Capaldo and Thomas Scorcia, alleged Colombo family members; and Joseph Amato, Jr. and Anthony Silvestro, alleged Colombo family associates. For a rundown of all 20 facing charges, click here.
The alleged criminal activities detailed in the indictments allegedly took place in Staten Island and elsewhere since January 2014.
Prosecutors, citing the indictments and the government’s detention letters, said that the investigation began in November 2016 when a GPS tracking device was found concealed on an MTA bus. Amato had allegedly obtained the device to surveil his then-girlfriend and boasted about the resources at his disposal to keep her under close surveillance.
In one email, Amato stated, “This is my island. Not yours. I have eyes all over,” prosecutors said. In another email, Amato stated, ‘I’m a MAN'S MAN!!!”
His then-girlfriend allegedly discovered the device on her vehicle and removed it, and it was subsequently attached to and recovered from the MTA bus at a depot in Staten Island.
The government then obtained court-authorization to intercept communications over various cellphones used by those charged.
According to prosecutors, “Amato and members of his crew used violence and threats of violence to earn illegal proceeds and solidify the crew’s reputation and standing. On one occasion, an individual confronted Amato Jr. for insulting a woman in a bar. Amato Jr. told the individual to back off, and threatened, ‘Do you know who my father is?’ The following day, the individual was lured to a location where Amato, Amato Jr. and other members of Amato’s crew brutally beat the victim, leaving him bloodied and in need of staples in his scalp.”
On other wiretaps, members of the La Cosa Nostra could be heard boasting of various beatings and schemes to fix an NCAA college basketball game, with a member offering thousands of dollars to a team to intentionally lose a game.
U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue noted that two firearms, two stun guns, a canister of purported tear gas and thousands of dollars in U.S. currency were recovered during searches of residences of Amato and Scorcia.
“The mafia is not the criminal threat it once was, but we remain vigilant and will vigorously investigate and prosecute members and associates who engage in violence and extortion to intimidate victims and enrich themselves and their crime family,” Donoghue said in a statement.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney. added, “one of the stunning things revealed in this investigation, it seems members of the mafia families that were once almost romanticized by Hollywood and pop culture, have resorted to acting like playground bullies. As alleged, they are still up to their old extortion and bribery schemes, and terrorizing their victims, but they are also still getting caught. The FBI New York Joint Organized Crime Task Force wants to send a clear message to members of the families in our communities who continue to operate, we will do all we can to stop a true resurgence from ever happening.
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