Staten Island Lawmaker Fires Staff Member Implicated In NCAA Betting Scheme


Former New York City mayoral candidate and current Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis fired a staff member who was allegedly caught attempting to fix an NCAA men's basketball game.

Benjamin Bifalco was hired by Malliotakis to be her director of community affairs on September 16 after "he was recommended to me by a number of people," said the assemblywoman.

Bifalco, who according to sources is the nephew of disgraced former Staten Island Representative Vito Fossella, was pulled into the investigation after he was allegedly heard on a wiretap trying to talk Joseph Amato Jr., son of Colombo Family capo Joseph Amato, into the betting scheme.

Malliotakis read a prepared statement to the media Thursday: "I am shocked and saddened by this news. I have zero tolerance for criminal activity and he was dismissed from my staff effective Thursday, October, 3rd."

According to an article in the New York Daily News, Bifalco was indicted with 19 others involved in the three-year investigation.

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