New York man charged with attempted bribery for trying to fix a college basketball game in 2018

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Benjamin Bifalco, a 25-year-old Staten Island resident, was charged last week with attempted bribery for his efforts in trying to fix a college basketball game in late 2018. The U.S. Department of Justice revealed his identity when it unsealed an indictment regarding the case last week.

In a statement put out by the Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney's Office, Bifalco is accused of offering members of a college basketball team "thousands of dollars to intentionally lose the game." The game in question -- and the players involved -- were not identified. The exact date of the crime in question isn't known, either, but the U.S. Attorney's office identified it took place "in or about December 2018."

The DOJ's discovery of Bifalco's attempted bribery came via wiretaps in a different investigation that led to separate arrests for racketeering, loansharking and extortion. In total, 20 individuals were arrested, including Joseph Amato, an alleged captain in the Colombo organized crime family. According to the investigation, Bifalco encouraged Amato to place thousands of dollars in bets on the game in question. Amato later sent texts to a defendant in the case prior to the game saying not to trust the game and that he was "not touching it personally," according to the report.

Though the exact game at the center of the case remains a mystery, the indictment notes that the favored team "did not cover the spread and the bets would not have been winning ones."

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