Colombo Wiseguy Greg Scarpa Jr. Nearly Beat Luchese Boss Vic Amuso To Death, Former Federal Prosecutor Writes

In 1995, when their paths crossed inside Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), and after trading insults, Greg Scarpa Junior nearly beat Luchese boss Vittorio (Vic) Amuso to death.

Greg Scarpa Junior
The NYPD linked Greg Scarpa Junior to 24 gangland hits.

Former Assistant US Attorney John Kroger highlights the violent encounter in his memoir Convictions: A Prosecutor's Battles Against Mafia Killers, Drug Kingpins, and Enron Thieves.

Aside from passing reference to the incident on Gang Land News, it seems the Feds successfully downplayed what happened, with Jerry Capeci reporting that in September 1998 that, "Scarpa (Jr.) has been kept away from other mobsters ever since he punched out Lucchese boss Vittorio (Vic) Amuso three years ago. Amuso had made some disparaging remarks about his father's FBI informer status." (We’re referring to references found via Google Search regarding the assault. Someone in a comment says the assault was widely covered, presumably in 1995 when the events occurred. The commenter also says the assault didn’t happen at MCC. We’re seeking confirmation of this as we can’t change a story based solely on one comment.)

Amuso did make disparaging remarks, according to Kroger, but Scarpa Junior did much more than punch Amuso out.... 

By way of background, Amuso had been in prison since his 1991 arrest. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1992 following his conviction on 54 racketeering charges that included nine murders.

Greg Scarpa Jr. has been in prison even longer than Amuso, since 1988. Because of repeated delays in his trial, Scarpa wasn't even hit with a formal sentence until around a decade later, in May 1999, when a Brooklyn Federal Judge slammed him with 40 years for racketeering and other crimes, having rejected Scarpa's plea for leniency and downplaying his spying on a known terrorist for the FBI. (Kroger has quite a bit to say about the spying stuff, too.) And while Scarpa was acquitted of five murder allegations, Federal prosecutors continue to believe Scarpa Jr is a veteran killer who pulled off multiple hits during his time robbing, pillaging, plundering, drug dealing, on the street with the Colombos. NYPD law enforcement has specific information directly linking Scarpa Jr. to 24 gangland hits during his Mafia career on the street, prompting one NYPD source to tell us: "He's never getting out." 

But then back in 2016, certain "inexplicable" things started happening to Scarpa Jr. -- or at least we seemed to think so based on casual perusals of the BOP inmate locator site, which reported that Scarpa Junior had been moved to  a Residential Reentry Management Field Office based in Kansas City, Kansas. (We admit we used to be amazed by silly things. We've matured considerably, however, we can assure readers.) 

In any event, Scarpa today is still at the Kansas City RRM and his release date is July 3, 2026. That's a revised release date. In late 2016, a Brooklyn federal judge deleted 10 years from Scarpa's 40-year sentence. Still, as reported then, it's unlikely Scarpa will live long enough to see freedom as, according to published reports, Scarpa Junior has nasopharyngeal squamous cell cancer, which gives him a lifespan of possibly five years. The cancer "will probably kill him" before he will ever benefit from the sentence reduction ruling, Justice Edward Korman noted in his decision. (In 2017, there was an effort to overturn the ruling, though his BOP release date hasn't changed.)

So one day in 1995 at MCC, Amuso told Greg Jr. that his father  was a rat. Greg Junior sought to defend his father.... 

Though of course, Amuso had good cause to trot out the "rat" conceit, as Greg Jr's father was indeed a rat (to use the parlance of our times). Scarpa Sr., who died in 1994, had been giving the FBI information back before anyone had even heard of the Mafia -- or perhaps we should say, before anyone even heard of Joe Valachi, the infamous onetime Genovese button man who flipped and gave televised testimony about the Five Families in 1963 in a direct response to certain animosity he had been detecting from his boss, Vito Genovese.  

Luchese boss Vic Amuso
Vic Amuso, official Luchese boss.

Scarpa Sr., aka The Grim Reaper himself, who was among the most ruthless mobsters in New York, had a career that spanned back to 1950, the year Joseph Profaci inducted him into the family that is known today as the Colombos. Scarpa had followed his older brother Salvatore into the life and got his start cracking heads for Profaci consiglieri Charlie the Sidge. By 1960, when Scarpa was elevated to capo he had already flipped shortly after he was nabbed for hijacking a truckload of booze. In return for providing the Feds with valuable assistance on assorted wiseguys, including Ralph (Whitey) Tropiano, Scarpa--despite spending decades robbing and stealing and killing, and despite a flurry of indictments--spent very little time in prison, about 30 days in 42 years. Scarpa's cooperation went dormant for a while and was renewed in 1982 when FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio started to cultivate him. Of course, the Scarpa-DeVecchio relationship blew up and the shrapnel had consequences in multiple ongoing court cases for years. For a time, many Colombo wiseguys (William (Wild Bill) Cutolo et al) were able to leverage the controversy to print "get out of jail free" cards.

Anyway, Greg Scarpa Jr., sought to defend his father....But then Amuso apparently opted to take a more direct shot at Scarpa Jr., saying: "The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Wiseguys hate that "apples falling from trees" shit...

Scarpa Jr. lunged at Vic and repeatedly banged his head against a metal bed frame, then cracked him over the skull with a heavy porcelain bowl (presumably the toilet?).  

An unconscious Amuso was carted off to the prison hospital. 

As Kroger writes in Convictions: Assaults are common in prison, but Scarpa’s crime had unusual real-world consequences, for his victim was a mafia boss. Amuso put out a contract on Scarpa’s life, promising generous compensation to any inmate who put Scarpa into a grave.

Convictions: A Prosecutor's Battles Against Mafia Killers, Drug Kingpins, and Enron Thieves
Click on image to purchase.

Word of the contract soon leaked to the FBI and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. 

When an inmate’s life is in danger, the Bureau of Prisons moves him into protective custody. For Scarpa, that meant Floor Nine South of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, the MCC. Nine South is one of the federal government’s most secure prison units. It houses two types of inmate. A small number, like Scarpa, are in mortal danger from their peers. The remainder, also like Scarpa, are homicidal sociopaths. 

When Scarpa was moved to Nine South in 1995, he wound up in a cell next to just such a man. Ramzi Yousef was one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world. In February 1993 he masterminded the bomb attack on the World Trade Center that killed six Americans, wounded a thousand others, mostly from smoke inhalation, and caused more than five hundred million dollars in damage. Two years later he bombed a Philippines airliner, part of a practice run for larger-scale attacks on U.S. aircraft. In 1995, after an international manhunt, he was arrested in the Philippines. 

When Scarpa was moved to the MCC, Yousef was already there, awaiting trial on terrorism charges. A few weeks after Scarpa got to Nine South, he sent word through his attorney that he wanted to meet with the FBI. At this meeting Scarpa shared electrifying news. According to Scarpa, Yousef admired the mafia, which he viewed as being at war with the United States. 

This admiration created a bond of trust between the two men, which led to frequent discussions about their criminal careers. Scarpa now proposed to exploit that friendship. Yousef, Scarpa claimed, had begun to describe his ideas for future terrorist attacks. Scarpa offered to cooperate against Yousef by providing the FBI with detailed information about Yousef’s plans. Under normal circumstances, the government would have refused to allow Scarpa to cooperate. 

The problem was not that he had killed a dozen people; the government recruits murderers as witnesses all the time, as long as they have testimony to give against even more culpable criminals. The real barrier was trust. After stalking Scarpa for years, EDNY prosecutors felt they knew him very well, and everyone thought he was dishonest and treacherous. The fact that his father took our money and killed behind our backs made matters worse. 

As Valerie Caproni later told me, “it would have been a cold day in hell before I would have signed him up.” Terrorism, however, is a special case. When someone comes forward with intelligence about potential terror strikes, the federal government always listens. Yousef was an extraordinarily dangerous man, with ties to terror cells all over the world. If there was even a small chance that Scarpa’s information was accurate, the government had to take it seriously. 

The EDNY passed Scarpa’s proposal to AUSA Pat Fitzgerald of the Southern District, then involved in a major investigation of ongoing radical Islamic terror.

Fitzgerald wanted Scarpa’s information, and the EDNY agreed. The FBI gave Scarpa a miniature spy camera and told him to get to work. For the next several months Scarpa regaled the FBI with tantalizing intelligence.

Yousef, Scarpa claimed, was planning to blow up a federal judge, murder several prosecutors, bomb the upcoming Atlanta Olympics, and bust Scarpa out of jail. To corroborate his stories, Scarpa provided the FBI with photographs of “kites,” informal prison letters from one inmate to another, in Yousef’s handwriting, apparently describing these plots. Scarpa even claimed to be able to intercept Yousef’s messages to terror cells on the street.

Unfortunately, it turned out that Vic Amuso was right: like father, like son. When FBI agents and terrorism prosecutors from the Southern District of New York tried to follow up on Scarpa’s leads, they quickly determined that Scarpa’s cooperation was a ruse, the product of collusion between Scarpa and Yousef. Yousef apparently agreed to provide Scarpa with false information about upcoming attacks in order to waste government resources and throw terror investigators off the track. Scarpa in turn received a chance to bargain with the government, exchanging the fake terror intelligence for a shot at a lighter sentence.

The FBI terminated Scarpa’s cooperation, but not before serious damage had been done to the EDNY’s case. After Scarpa’s scam with Yousef, the Scarpa Defense looked even more powerful than before, from a nullification perspective. Scarpa would now be able to tell the jury that he too worked for the FBI, just like his father.

(AUSA Ellen) Corcella doubled her efforts to get Scarpa to plead, but Scarpa hung tough. He understood that his fake stint as a terrorism spy had strengthened his position.

THE NEXT UNUSUAL DEVELOPMENT in the Scarpa case was caused by the prosecutors. In early 1998, on the eve of trial, the FBI learned that Scarpa was threatening several important government witnesses....

If you want to know more about this story, check out John Kroger's book... Yes, if you purchase a copy, Amazon might pay us like five cents ....Or you can read more about Scarpa Junior here....