By Rich Calder
A reputed Columbo-family mobster was sentenced to a year in jail on extortion charges Friday after spending nearly a half hour passionately pleading with a federal judge for sympathy by reminding him that he’s already spent more than two decades behind bars for a rape he didn’t commit.
Manhattan federal Judge Kevin Castel cut Scott Fappiano, 53, a mini-break considering the wiseguy was facing between 15 to 21 months in prison after copping a plea to being a part of a massive gangland effort to control the New York-New Jersey garbage carting industry.
‘I’ve done enough time for more than two people! I just want to live a normal life.’
- Scott Fappiano to Judge Kevin Castel
The short, stocky Fappiano, a dead ringer for Joe Pesci, resembled the actor’s courtroom mannerisms in “My Cousin Vinny.”
He waved his hands and told the judge how a cocaine addiction he’s battling and the “tough time” he had finding legitimate work after being released from prison led him down a wrong path. He also ranted about how his Staten Island home recently burned down and how should be spared jail time to “to put my house in order.”
“I’ve done enough time for more than two people! I just want to live a normal life,” pleaded Fappiano, who became a poster boy for DNA-crime scene testing in 2006 when he was cleared in the 1983 rape of a cop’s wife.
Castel, however, felt some jail time was warranted – especially since Fappiano was already convicted of another mob-related crime after being sprung and caught a “break” by only being sentenced to probation.
“This is a circumstance where the reset has been hit again,” Castel said. “You have a price to pay and then you can get on with your life.”
Fappiano was sentenced to 20 to 50 years in prison after a Brooklyn jury found him guilty of raping and sodomizing a woman in a brutal Dec. 1, 1983, attack. The woman’s cop husband was bound and forced to watch the horror.
The cop’s wife identified him from a mug shot, and prosecutors brought the case to trial despite Fappiano being a half-foot shorter than the 5-foot, 10-inch Italian-looking man she described as her attacker.
He remained in Attica before the Innocence Project got involved and cleared his name. The non-profit group’s lawyers tracked down a private Texas lab that had samples of jogging pants the victim was wearing at the time of the rape and found through testing that the male DNA on it didn’t match Fappiano.
But even after his stunning release, Fappiano still managed to find trouble.
He was one of 127 people arrested in 2011 in the biggest US mob racketeering crackdown ever.
He was sentenced to one month of time served and three years of probation after copping a plea to loan-sharking and extortion charges.
The Brooklyn federal judge who sentenced him, Kiyo Matsumoto, said Fappiano’s wrongful conviction in the rape case played a “very significant” role in her decision to not send him back to prison.
He was busted again in January 2013 along with 31 other reputed mobsters for allegedly scheming with rival Mafia families to shake down owners of legitimate garbage companies and secretly assume control of their operations.
Fappiano admitted to shaking down a wire-wearing FBI informant for a no-show job at the informant’s waste hauling company and other crimes.
Fappiano also has ties to the Gambino crime family.
He had three “made” uncles who rose to power in the Gambino ranks, including two notorious capos-turned-canaries, Frank “Frankie Fap” Fappiano and Michael “Mikey Scars” DiLeonardo.
His third Mafia uncle, the late Frank DeCicco, was “Dapper Don” John Gotti’s first underboss.