|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.