By JERRY CAPECI
October 10, 2019
It was March 8, the day after the death of longtime Mafia boss Carmine (Junior) Persico, and a freshly-minted soldier in the Colombo crime family was promising his capo that he wouldn't embarrass him at the upcoming funeral.
"I ordered a charcoal grey suit, something new," Thomas (The Plumber) Scorcia, told veteran wiseguy Joseph Amato, Sr."I don't want to be like a stumble bum like everybody else. I represent you. This way we'll be nice and sharp."
As it turned out, the embarrassment was all on Amato. Last week the feds rounded up Amato, Scorcia and 18 other mob-tied defendants and charged them with a slew of crimes, including a scheme to fix an unidentified NCAA college basketball game.
The lucky break on the case came when Amato, consumed with jealousy that his flame was stepping out on him, planted a GPS device on her car in hopes it would let him know her whereabouts.
Instead, the clever lady ditched the gizmo on a city bus. And when authorities went to track down the owner, they found that it held the key to a crew of active, but decidedly klutzy, Colombo mobsters and associates.
Amato Sr., his son Joseph Amato Jr. and newly inducted wiseguy Scorcia were among five defendants hit with racketeering charges that include extortion, loansharking and gambling from January of 2014 through last week.
The arrests came after a three year probe that began in November of 2016 when the GPS tracking device was found on an MTA bus. Traced to Amato, authorities learned that he had purchased it to keep tabs on an ex-girlfriend "who discovered the device on her vehicle and removed it," according to U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.
In court filings which sought to detain the Amatos as dangers to the community, the feds charged the father and son team with assaulting Neil Devito, cardboard thief who played Uncle Neil in Made In Staten Island, the short-lived reality TV show about young offspring of Staten Island mobsters that Gang Land told you about last month.
The elder Amato, 60, who spent a 15 year stretch behind bars for the killing of an innocent 18-year-old Brooklyn youth during the 1990s Colombo war was detained but Amato Jr., 26, was ordered released first by a U.S. Magistrate and then by Brooklyn Federal Judge I. Leo Glasser, who affirmed Amato Jr.'s release on $1 million bail that was secured by property.
Scorcia, 52, who was detained as a danger to the community, was inducted into the crime family on December 11, 2018 on Avenue U in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn at the Cafe di Giorno Lounge, or at the Panino Perfetto, a sandwich shop next door, "where they remained for a few hours," according to a detention memo filed by prosecutors Elizabeth Geddes and Megan Farrell.
The part owner a major plumbing company, Scorcia was sponsored for induction by the elder Amato reports to him almost every day, prosecutors say. Scorcia also has a large loanshark book with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the street, and buys new cell phones each month for himself, Amato, and mobster Daniel (The Wig) Capaldo, the prosecutors say.
On the same phone call where the feds heard Scorcia brag about the new threads he was wearing to the Persico funeral, the prosecutors said they heard Amato suggest that Scorcia and Capaldo drive the dead boss's body back to New York from the North Carolina hospital where he died. Scorcia joked: "Do