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Press Release

20 Defendants Charged with Crimes, Including Racketeering, Extortion, Loansharking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
11 Members and Associates of the Colombo Crime Family Indicted

Three indictments were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn variously charging 20 defendants with racketeering, extortion, loansharking, stalking, attempted sports bribery and related offenses.  Among those charged with racketeering were Joseph Amato, an alleged captain in the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (“the Colombo family”); Daniel Capaldo and Thomas Scorcia, alleged Colombo family members; and Joseph Amato, Jr. and Anthony Silvestro, alleged Colombo family associates.  An additional alleged Colombo family member, Vincent Scura, was also indicted.  The indictments relate to the defendants’ charged criminal activities in Staten Island and elsewhere since January 2014. 

The defendants were arrested this morning, and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.

As alleged in the indictments and the government’s detention letters, the investigation began in November 2016 when a GPS tracking device was found concealed on an MTA bus.  Amato had earlier 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[.]”  In another email, Amato stated, ‘I’m a MANS MAN!!!”  His then-girlfriend discovered the device on her vehicle and removed it, and it was subsequently attached to and recovered from the MTA bus at a depot n Staten Island.  Thereafter, the government obtained court-authorization to intercept communications over various cellular telephones used by the defendants.

As detailed in the government’s court filings, 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 occasions, court-authorized intercepts captured: (1) Scorcia boasting, “I told the guy sit in the car, and the kid had the tears,” (2) Silvestro advising Scorcia, “[Y]ou send him a smack.  If he raises his hand back to you, we beat the bricks off him, that’s it” and (3) following the commission of one of the charged crimes of violence, Amato Jr. described the crime and the victim’s reaction, “[W]e abused him so bad.  Yo I had, bro, me and Pap (Silvestro), bro, had him shaking bro.  He was in tears, he was crying.” 

The court-authorized wiretaps also captured the defendants’ scheme to fix an NCAA college basketball game.  To further the scheme, defendant Benjamin Bifalco offered members of a college basketball team thousands of dollars to intentionally lose the game.   

Two firearms, two stun guns, a canister of purported tear gas and thousands of dollars in U.S. currency were recovered during court-authorized 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,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force for its assistance during the investigation.

“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,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.

“The successful outcome of this investigation shows our continued efforts to target and hold responsible organized criminal syndicates,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill.  “I thank our investigators and law enforcement counterparts whose cooperation was vital to bringing these individuals to justice.”

The charges in the indictments are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth A. Geddes and Megan E. Farrell are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-442 (S-1)(ILG)

Age: 60
Colts Neck, New Jersey

Age: 26
Staten Island, New York

Age: 27
Staten Island, New York

DANIEL CAPALDO (also known as “The Wig” and “Shrek”)
Age: 54
Staten Island, New York

Age: 31
Staten Island, New York

Age: 21
Staten Island, New York

Age: 30
Staten Island, New York

Age: 61
Staten Island, New York

JOSEPH MARRA (also known as “Joe Fish”)
Age: 58
Brooklyn, New York

Age: 57
Brooklyn, New York

DOMINICK RICIGLIANO (also known as “The Lion”)
Age: 30
Staten Island, New York

Age: 52
Staten Island, New York

VINCENT SCURA (also known as “Vinny Linen”)
Age: 58
Staten Island, New York

ANTHONY SILVESTRO (also known as “Bugz”)
Age: 28
Staten Island, New York

Age: 26
Staten Island, New York

Age: 39
Staten Island, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-443 (CBA)

Age: 26
Staten Island, New York

Age: 30
Staten Island, New York

Age: 55
Staten Island, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-444 (ARR)

Age:  25
Staten Island, New York




John Marzulli
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated October 3, 2019

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