Earlier today, Vito Difalco, also known as “Victor” and “The Mask,” an inducted member of the Colombo organized crime family, was sentenced by United States District Judge William F. Kuntz, II, to 37 months’ imprisonment for racketeering.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sentence.
“With today’s sentence, the defendant has been held accountable for his participation in a violent criminal enterprise that used fear as fuel,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “Investigating and disrupting the activities of organized crime will always remain a priority of this Office and our law enforcement partners.” Mr. DuCharme thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and the New York City Police Department, for their outstanding investigative work.
Difalco and co-defendant Joseph Maratea operated a loansharking business, extending loans at exorbitant interest rates and under the threat physical violence or harm if interest payments were not made on a timely basis. Specifically, they charged $15 in weekly interest payments on every $500 extended, which amounted to 3% weekly interest payments or 156% annual interest. To ensure both that they could locate their debtors and that their debtors understood that Difalco and Maratea knew where they resided, they required debtors to provide copies of their driver’s licenses and their contact information. Defendant Difalco also earned illegal proceeds through his gambling business, which included illegal sports-betting and video gambling machines, Difalco used a legitimate business – a bar called Tryst which he operated – to facilitate his criminal activity and limit detection by law enforcement. Specifically, he used the bar to attract new loansharking customers and used his employees to collect loansharking payments. He also used the bar to operate and promote his illegal gambling businesses.
On April 19, 2018, Difalco and Matera had the following conversation about a debtor’s missed payments:
DIFALCO: Alright stretch out, ‘cause we are going to take a ride in a little while.
DIFALCO: I’ll be here, then we’ll take a ride up there.
MARATEA: Where by [John Doe #8]?
DIFALCO: Yeah, we’ll go by [John Doe #8].
MARATEA: Did you call him?
DIFALCO: I called him, he didn’t pick up. I figure I’ll ring the bell and flood
Maratea pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced in April 2020 to time served and two years’ probation with the first four months to be served under home incarceration
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth A. Geddes and Mathew S. Miller are in charge of the prosecution.
VITO DIFALCO (also known as “Victor” and “The Mask”)
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-337 (WFK)