Joseph "Tin Ear" Sclafani (born 1938) is New Jersey mobster and "soldier" in the DeCavalcante crime family.
Sclafani was inducted into the DeCavalcante crime family sometime in the mid 1980's, after failing to become made in the Gambino crime family of New York. A reputed Brooklyn mobster, Sclafani did not only join the crew of "Johnny Boy" John D'Amato in the Elizabeth faction of the family, but was also hired as D'Amato's private chaffeur and bodyguard, and drove him around the North Jersey area to meetings with his associates, including John Gotti at the Ravenite Social Club in New York.
A minor loanshark of the DeCavalcante crime family, Sclafani was reportedly involved in labor racketeering, illegal gambling and extortion activities in Elizabeth and Newark, New Jersey during the late 1980s but was not financially secure. He is a former U.S. Marine paratrooper and was hired on occasion as a contract killer but was said by law enforcement to be incompetent. For one contract killing he became obsessed about shooting the individual while riding a motorcycle but did not know how to drive one.
However, after Riggi was jailed on racketeering and extortion charges in 1990, Sclafani's captain John D'Amato was promoted to the family acting boss, and Sclafani's star almost began to rise, since he was the private chaffeur of the family's new boss. After D'Amato was recruited by John Gotti into take over the DeCavalcante crime family, and after D'Amato's girlfriend claimed D'Amato was homosexual, he was murdered in a conspiracy led by administration members Jake Amari and Stefano Vitabile, with assistance of captain Anthony Rotondo.
With D'Amato out of the way, Amari took over the day-to-day activities of the family, and Sclafani continued as a low-ranking soldier throughout the 1990s, still operating with labor racketeering, illegal gambling and extortion activities. In 1999, US law enforcement arrested and prosecuted more than 40 members of the DeCavalcante family for various criminal charges, leading soldier Anthony Capo, captain Anthony Rotondo and the current acting boss Vincent Palermo turning state's evidence. Reportedly, Sclafani was charged with involvement in loansharking and extortion activities, as well operating an illegal gambling ring in North Jersey. In 2001, Sclafani pled guilty to the charges and sentenced to a 8-10 year prison term.
On July 29, 2005, Sclafani was released from federal prison.