It took a few years, but several Genovese crime family mobsters busted back in 2014 during Operation Fistful finally decided to plead guilty to their role in a multi-million-dollar criminal enterprise on Wednesday. The group includes made man Vito Alberti, who collected “tribute” payments that were kicked up the Mafia ladder.
60-year-old Alberti allegedly worked under supervision of Genovese family capo Charles Tuzzo. In turn, Alberti ran a crew comprised of several enterprising criminals, including 61-year-old Domenick Pucillo, who ran licensed and unlicensed check-cashing businesses in Newark. Pucillo used these to launder illicit revenue from loansharking operations. A very sophisticated scheme that proved very profitable.
Making millions a year
Over a two-year period, Pucillo had approximately $3 million in usurious loans on the street and collected around $1.3 million in interest per year. It is alleged that 71-year-old Genovese associate Robert “Bobby Spags” Spagnola partnered with Pucillo in the loansharking business and received a commission of one point on each loan he secured for Pucillo.
Debtors were required to pay interest on a weekly basis. The scheme was designed so that, when the they made loan payments by check, it appeared that they were cashing checks in the ordinary course of Pucillo’s check-cashing business. When they took out loans, victims were required to sign partially completed checks, which Pucillo and his crew could complete and cash through the check-cashing business to collect weekly interest or payments of principal. Debtors could also pay in cash.
After pleading guilty to first-degree conspiracy to commit money laundering, Pucillo faces a decade behind bars. Alberti and Spagnola pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal usury and face a 5-year prison sentence.
For more on this criminal scheme and how it worked, read Genovese crew charged with multi-million-dollar scheme
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