Wednesday, Dec. 8, 1999 | 10:44 a.m.
A New York FBI special agent Tuesday positively identified a Pahrump resident as the man suspected of shooting a mob associate to death last fall in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Special Agent Joseph Sconzo's testimony cleared the way for federal authorities to fly Anthony Greco, 44, to New York to stand trial for the October 1998 murder of Joseph "Joey O" Masella.
Greco was arrested Thursday in Pahrump by Las Vegas FBI after a 68-page indictment was handed down by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Greco was charged with murder in the indictment. Thirty-eight other people, all from New York and New Jersey and all alleged to have Mafia ties, were named on a variety of other organized-crime related counts.
According to the indictment, Greco conspired with one of the heads of the Decavalate family, Vincent Palermo, to kill Masela. Masela was found dying from multiple gunshot wounds in the parking lot of a Brooklyn golf course on Oct. 10, 1998.
Sconzo testified during an identification and detention hearing held before U.S. Magistrate Roger Hunt Tuesday afternoon. After ruling Greco was indeed the man identified in the indictment, Hunt also ruled that Greco was an escape risk and ordered him detained.
Sconzo testified that he conducted surveillance on numerous people named in the indictment over a two-year period. He began watching Greco after Masella's murder and observed him on at least eight occasions, Sconzo said.
Assistant United States Public Defender Shari Kaufman argued that Sconzo could not possibly verify Greco was the man named in the indictment because he was not privy to what was testified to in grand jury proceedings. She also pointed out that Sconzo testified he never saw Greco and Palermo together.
Kaufman also disputed Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Ko's contention that Greco was a flight risk.
Ko told Hunt he believes Greco is likely to flee because he could receive the death penalty if he's convicted and has already gone to great lengths to avoid the authorities. The single-wide mobile home he is living in belongs to his girlfriend in New York, all of the utilities are in her name and mailed to her New York home and his car isn't even registered to him, he said.
Greco so wanted to avoid the police that he went to the Nye County Sheriff's Office to get a work card so he could get a job at the Terrible's Town Casino, Kaufman shot back sarcastically. Greco worked there nine months, up until his arrest, thus showing he has ties to the community, she said.
The FBI obviously had no problem in finding Greco either, Kaufman said. He was picked up the same day the indictment was handed down.
The government may want to think that Greco is a "mobster, a hitman and a triggerman," but he has absolutely no criminal history, Kaufman told Hunt.
Kaufman said Greco's parents also were willing to take responsibility for him while pending trial.
"You don't have anything before you that indicates he's the type of person who would commit this type of crime," Kaufman said.
Hunt told Kaufman he saw things differently than she did.
Greco is not expected to be flown to New York until after the holidays.