Update On Colombo Family-Related Case

Facing racketeering and extortion charges, two gangsters in the Colombo crime family appeared before a federal judge on Tuesday for back-to-back bail hearings at Brooklyn federal court, after which one of them went home and the other learned he would need his toothbrush. 

The Wig is Daniel Capaldo's nickname.

Alleged Colombo soldier Daniel Capaldo, 54, learned he'd need his toothbrush, and reputed associate Anthony Silvestro, 28, was released on a $500,000 surety bond with a monitor strapped to his ankle.

Capaldo (aka The Wig and Shrek) and Silvestro (nicknamed Bugz) are among the 20 suspects charged with extortion, loansharking, racketeering and other offenses in three sweeping federal indictments unsealed Oct. 3, when they were all arrested following a probe that commence in November 2016 after MTA workers at a bus depot on Staten Island learned that someone had planted a GPS tracking device in the oil pan of a city bus.

That device would lead federal investigators to alleged Colombo captain Joseph Amato, who allegedly had planted the device as part of a personal investigation of his then-girlfriend.

Having established that, the feds planted wiretaps and over the next few years uncovered a slew of crimes. 

Fast forward to October 3 -- when 20 individuals — including 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family — were busted on charges including racketeering, loansharking and extortion.

Among the crimes alleged in the case, Benjamin Bifalco, a 25-year-old who lives in Staten Island, attempted to pay members of a Division I NCAA basketball team "thousands of dollars to intentionally lose the game."  This was learned when Bifalco was caught on a wiretap discussing the scheme with Joseph Amato Jr..

In a series of recorded discussions, Bifalco laid out his plans to fix the game, encouraging Amato Jr. to bet thousands on the game, according to the indictment. 

But ultimately Amato had a change of heart shortly before the targeted game, sending two  texts to defendant Thomas Scorcia: 

"Ok I wouldn't trust the game I was telling u about


"I'm not touching it personally."

The indictment notes that the "favored team did not cover the spread and the bets would not have been winning ones."

As per ESPN, "College basketball has been targeted in multiple point-shaving and game-fixing scandals for decades. Most recently, former Auburn point guard Varez Ward was arrested in June 2013 on allegations that he attempted to fix a game between the Tigers and Arkansas.

"Today's indictment and arrest of an individual for attempting to fix the outcome of a December 2018 college basketball game reinforces that game-manipulation threats and risks are real and ever-present," the NCAA said in a statement. "We are actively monitoring the situation, which is a part of the criminal process, and will respond accordingly if it is determined that NCAA rules were violated."

Philip Lombardo, left, and Dominick (The Lion) Ricigliano, who are among those charged.

In May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal statute that had restricted state-sponsored sports betting to primarily Nevada. Since the ruling, legal sportsbooks have begun operating in 11 states outside of Nevada, including New York.

The day after the bust, Joseph Amato's son was granted $1 million bail after spending a night in jail as part of the takedown — but before he could even leave the courtroom, a federal prosecutor spoke out against the decision to let him go, arguing that Amato Junior was too prone to dropping his dad's name in certain New York boroughs where the Amato name is resoundingly meaningful. It's so meaningful on Staten Island, in fact, that in 2014, when a man confessed to not knowing the meaning of the "Amato" name, he was beaten badly enough to require staples to close the wounds in his head.

“He understands that, on Staten Island, his father has a certain reputation for violence,” the prosecutor, Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes, told the judge. “And he uses it.”

He still got out, but four days after Ms. Geddes made her argument. Amato Jr. was released on $1 million bail. At the hearing, Brooklyn federal court Judge Leo Glasser said that Amato Jr. would be allowed out under house arrest because has no criminal record.

“This man has no prior arrests. I’m not suggesting a threat isn’t as serious, but that’s what we have," Glasser said.