More than 20 defendants were charged with racketeering, extortion, loansharking, stalking, and attempted sports bribery according to indictments unsealed in Brooklyn federal court. Among those charged with racketeering along with 60-year-old Amato were Daniel Capaldo and Thomas Scorcia, alleged Colombo family members and Joseph Amato Jr. and Anthony Silvestro, alleged Colombo family associates. According to the indictment the defendants have been engaged in criminal activities in Staten Island and elsewhere since January of 2014.
The investigation reportedly began after a GPS monitoring device that was used by Joseph Amato to track his then-girlfriend was found attached to an MTA bus. She apparently discovered the device and removed it attaching it to the bus at a Staten Island depot. The discovery of the device on the bus helped authorities obtain court-authorization to intercept communications over various cellular telephones used by Amato and his Colombo family crew.
According to the indictment Amato was caught in an email telling his then-girlfriend “This is my island. Not yours. I have eyes all over.” In a separate email, he boasted about his standing saying ‘I’m a MANS MAN!!!” But that’s not all the feds were able to find out they also caught the Cosa Nostra captain and his crew using violence and threats of violence to earn illegal proceeds and solidify their reputation and standing.
During an altercation at a bar, Amato Jr. told an individual that had confronted him to back off saying “Do you know who my father is?” The following day the individual was lured to a location where Amato Jr. his dad and members of their mafia crew brutally beat him. The court authorized intercepts also captured other conversations relating to acts of violence against multiple victims.
A scheme by the defendants to fix an NCAA college basketball game in 2018 was also captured on wiretaps. Benjamin Bifalco planned to pay members of an unnamed basketball team thousands of dollars to intentionally lose the game by more than the point spread. The plot was seemingly unsuccessful because Amato Jr was caught allegedly sending texts to Scorcia saying “Ok I wouldn’t trust the game I was telling u about” and “I’m not touching it personally.”
United States Attorney Donoghue. Mr. Donoghue said, “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.”