The FBI has indicted a group of about 20 people with links to the mafia on multiple charges, including an attempt to rig an NCAA basketball game.
Reputed Colombo family capo Joseph Amato Jr. was among those caught in FBI wiretaps discussing a plan to pay thousands of dollars to multiple members of an unidentified team to lose an NCAA Division I basketball game by more than the point spread.
The key defendant in the case was Benjamin Bifalco, who apparently couldn’t pull off the scheme back in December 2018, but had been recorded telling Amato Jr. to bet big on the game. Amato Jr. declined to do so.
Court papers revealed that Amato Jr. sent text messages warning another Colombo-related figure to not place any wagers on the game.
“Ok I wouldn’t trust the game I was telling u about” and “I’m not touching it personally,” Amato Jr. allegedly wrote, according to the New York Post.
Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis has recently taken heat for having hired Bifalco as an aid. Malliotakis (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn) said she hired Bifalco as her director of community affairs on Sept. 16, and fired him immediately upon learning about his indictment.
“He was active in local politics, planning to apply to law school and was recommended to me by a number of people,” Malliotakis said.
Bifalco, who’s charged with one count of attempted sports bribery, was awaiting arraignment in Brooklyn federal court.