By JERRY CAPECI
April 8, 2021
It got a little crowded in a courtroom in Brooklyn this week as Colombo wiseguy Thomas (The Plumber) Scorcia appeared for sentencing. Or at least that is how federal judge Brian Cogan saw things, even though the proceeding took place remotely via computer hookup. As the defense and government debated how long The Plumber should be locked up for his conviction for loansharking and racketeering, Cogan said they had all missed "the elephant in the room." He then went on to name said elephant.
"The defendant," said Cogan, "is a made guy" who is likely to resume his activities for the Colombo crime family once he completes his sentence. He added that he had "never seen (one) walk away from the mob" after getting out of prison.
The judge also noted, as prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes had stressed in arguing for a guidelines sentence of almost four years in prison, that it "was very troubling" that Scorcia had threatened the use of violence against rival family loanshark Dominick (The Lion) Ricigliano. Cogan cited as well the evidence collected by the FBI when the Plumber was arrested, including guns, clubs, batons, ski masks and other tools of the mob trade.
But even after introducing the big gray pachyderm in the courtroom, and bemoaning Scorcia's mob pedigree, Cogan then proceeded to cut him something of a break.
Instead of the 47 months prison time sought by the government, and the even longer five-year sentence that probation officials recommended for the 54-year-old mobster, Cogan dispatched The Plumber to federal custody for just 42 months.
Cogan stated that under most circumstances when dealing with a mobster, he would "accept probation's recommendation to do an upward variance." But he said there were "substantial" mitigating factors that in Scorcia's case that "warrant a lot of consideration."
In a reference to the sentencing memo that lawyers VINCENT ROMANO and Anthony DiPietro had filed for Scorcia, Cogan noted that the "hard work" that Scorcia had done in completing the numerous self-help courses he attended while locked up since his arrest 16 months ago was "very impressive" especially considering his "relative short time in custody."
In their filing, the lawyers wrote that Scorcia had "excelled with above average grades" in 23 separate courses he completed at the Metropolitan Detention Center that "demonstrate his extraordinary rehabilitative efforts and his commitment to reenter his community as a positive contributor."
Cogan turned down an impassioned plea by ROMANO to downwardly depart from the guidelines and impose a 27 month sentence. The lawyer highlighted his client's work with suicide prevention at the MDC, crediting him with "saving the lives of inmates" while enduring harsh physical and emotional trauma himself, including a debilitating bout with the deadly COVID virus.
The judge agreed that he had "never seen an inmate" complete as many rehabilitative courses as The Plumber had, but noted that in their remarks to the judge, both ROMANO and Scorcia had "ignored the elephant in the room."
Last week, Cogan sentenced Ricigliano, who teamed up with Scorcia in a loansharking venture after they settled their feud to two years in prison followed by a year of post-prison supervised release when he completes his sentence. Ricigliano, 31, was ordered to self-surrender and begin serving his prison term next month.