Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Colombo mobster 'Big Mike' Castellano finds new scam

Mobster Michael 'Big Mike' Castellano, who once ran a million-dollar wire fraud scheme, is now scamming immigrant-run businesses in Long Island by posing as a fire extinguisher inspector. Claiming to inspect fire extinguishers for Liberty Fire Extinguisher Sales Co., he charged businesses $20 a fire extinguisher, replacing inspection tags without doing any work. Castellano, 51, ran his swindle on at least 30 businesses, ultimately scoring a little more than $1,000.

That's chump change compared to the MoneyGram scam Castellano ran for the Colombo crime family in the late 2000s — a scheme which cost him $1.4 million in restitution and landed him in federal prison for more than three years.
After his conviction in the MoneyGram case, Castellano said in a letter to his sentencing judge that he wanted to devote himself to caring for his autistic son, and declared, “The life I lived is behind me forever!”
"I know what this is about, the fire extinguishers and fake tags. I'm not hurting no one. Other guys do it. I don't charge much, $20, $40" he said. Castellano now faces charges of falsifying business records, scheme to defraud and petty larceny.

In the 1990s, he and other Colombo mobsters placed ads in newspapers, falsely promising to loan money to people with bad credit in exchange for an up-front payment. They took the payments, but never loaned out any cash.