Law & Justice

New Providence Man Arrested for 1st-Degree Racketeering Charges

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NEWARK, NJ - A New Providence resident was one of seven arrested on Tuesday on first-degree racketeering charges for allegedly reaping millions of dollars in criminal profits in New Jersey through loansharking, unlicensed check cashing, gambling and money laundering, including laundering of funds generated from narcotics trafficking.

According to Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman, Vito Alberti, 55, of New Providence has been a "soldier" for the New York-based Genovese crime family who was one of the suspects arrested.

Much of the illicit revenue allegedly was collected and laundered through licensed and unlicensed check-cashing businesses in Newark run by alleged Genovese associate Domenick Pucillo, 56, of Florham Park. Pucillo and the other associates charged today allegedly are part of a New Jersey crew operating under the supervision and control of two alleged “made” members of the Genovese crime family – Charles Tuzzo, 80, of Bayside, N.Y., a Genovese “capo,” and Alberti – who answer to the Genovese hierarchy in New York. Tuzzo, Alberti and Pucillo were among the seven men who were arrested early Tuesday.

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“We charge that this crew of the Genovese crime family was up to many of the Mafia’s old tricks in New Jersey, including loansharking and illegal gambling, to the tune of millions of dollars,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “History teaches us that as long as demand exists for illegal loans, illicit gambling, drugs, and other black-market goods and services, organized crime is going to turn a profit by preying on society. Our message to the Mafia is that as long as they do, we’re going to be here to send them to prison.”

“This case illustrates that the Mafia has evolved and learned to exploit sophisticated financial systems to hide and launder the proceeds of traditional street crimes such as loansharking and illegal gambling,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Through it all, as always, the Mafia makes its money largely through the ever-present threat of violence. This case demonstrates that, as much as the Mafia may change its criminal tactics, we will work tirelessly to remain one step ahead and root out their corrosive influence.”

The following criminal schemes generated payments up the Genovese chain of command:

  1. a massive loansharking operation that yielded about $1.3 million in illegal interest per year;

  2. an illicit multi-million dollar offshore sports gambling enterprise;

  3. an unlicensed check-cashing business that made $9 million in fees in four years, while enabling customers to launder funds and evade taxes by skirting federal reporting requirements;

  4. laundering of $666,000 in drug money via check-cashing businesses owned by Pucillo in Newark and Florida;

  5. illegal control and use of a trucking firm with a contract to transport cars from Port Newark;

  6. tax fraud and evasion.

The charges stem from “Operation Fistful,” an ongoing joint investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, conducted with assistance from the New York and Queens County District Attorneys’ Offices and other law enforcement agencies. The eight men targeted for arrest face racketeering and money laundering charges that carry consecutive sentences of 10 to 20 years in prison for each charge, including lengthy periods of parole ineligibility.

The specific charges brought against Alberti are: Racketeering (1st degree), Money Laundering (1st degree), Conspiracy (1st degree), Criminal Usury (2nd degree), Promoting Gambling (3rd degree), Filing a Fraudulent Tax Return (3rd degree).

Because they are indictable offenses, the charges will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.

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