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DOJ Indicts Man They Say Tried to Fix College Basketball Game

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Oct/07/2019

Benjamin Bifalco, 25, of Staten Island, New York, is accused of offering members of an unidentified NCAA college basketball team "thousands of dollars to intentionally lose the game," according to a news release from the Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney's Office.  Many of his conversations were recorded via wiretap.  The probe involves the Colombo crime family.


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

No specifics regarding the game in question are mentioned in the complaint outside the month and year, December 2018.

"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."

From USA Today:

According to intercepted phone calls, Bifalco told one of the 20 defendants charged Thursday in the grander scheme, Joseph Amato Jr., the son of an alleged Colombo captain, to bet thousands of dollars on the game. Amato then sent a pair of texts to another indicted associate, Thomas Scorcia, an alleged member of the Colombo mob family, culminating with him "not touching it personally."

With sports gambling legal in 11 states and a growing enterprise, the vigilance against bad actors remains a sticking point for detractors of the movement.

"The successful outcome of this investigation shows our continued efforts to target and hold responsible organized criminal syndicates," New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill said. "I thank our investigators and law enforcement counterparts whose cooperation was vital to bringing these individuals to justice."

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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