Staten Island man pleads guilty in NCAA basketball fixing scheme

A Staten Island man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he tried to bribe college basketball players to fix games, his attorney said.

Federal prosecutors said that Benjamin Bifalco concocted a “scheme to fix an NCAA college basketball game.” Investigators learned of the alleged crime in December 2018 as part of an organized crime investigation.

He acknowledged to the court that he approached a player and offered him money to lose by more than the point spread of a college basketball game but the player wouldn’t accept it, as per his attorney, Vincent J. Martinelli.

Bifalco, 25, allegedly has purported ties to the Colombo crime family and was caught on an FBI wiretap telling a family capo about a plan to pay thousands of dollars to players of an unnamed team, according to his indictment.

The players were to throw the NCAA Division 1 game, the indictment claimed.

Bifalco allegedly encouraged the Colombo capo to place a big bet on the game but the indictment said there were no wagers placed.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of sports bribery, according to his attorney.

Bifalco had previously worked for the office of Assemblywoman Nicole Milliotakis, but was swiftly fired when he was arrested last October.

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