Brooklyn Boro

Columbo crime family loan shark gets 37 months

August 12, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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A 65-year-old loan shark from Brooklyn was sentenced to 37 months in prison by Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Hon. William Kuntz on Wednesday, Aug. 5 for racketeering.

Vito DiFalco, who is also known as “Victor” or “The Mask,” is allegedly an inducted member of the Columbo organized crime family that operated a loansharking business with co-defendant Joseph Maratea.

The two loaned out money with an estimated 156 percent annual interest rate and used threats of physical violence, or actual violence, if weekly payments were not on time, according to prosecutors.

DiFalco operated out of a now-defunct bar called the Tryst Lounge located on 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights, where he also earned money through an illegal gambling business that included both sports betting and video gambling machines. Prosecutors said he used this business to attract customers for his loan shark business.

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DiFalco’s co-defendant Maratea previously pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced to time served plus probation in April 2020.

“With today’s sentence, the defendant has been held accountable for his participation in a violent criminal enterprise that used fear as fuel,” said acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme. “Investigating and disrupting the activities of organized crime will always remain a priority of this office and our law enforcement partners.”

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