It is a crime group that people claim is “dead,” yet law enforcement keeps taking down different crews that still pull down cash. The latest bust went down in New Jersey, called “Operation Fistful.” It was a 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 operation targeted a group of associates that were part of a New Jersey crew operating under the supervision and control of two alleged “made” members of the Genovese crime family: Charles “Chuckie” Tuzzo, 82, of Bayside, N.Y., (“capo”), and Vito Alberti, 57, of Morristown NJ, a Genovese “soldier.”
The investigation centered on the check cashing businesses of Genovese associate Domenick Pucillo. He ran both legal and illegal check cashing business that he used to launder and shylock money through. The shylock operation was a simple but profitable enterprise. Pucillo would make loans to those close to him for 1 point or 1% a week which comes to 52% a year. The other shylocks would add a half point or much more, and then put it to work by loaning it out. The business took in 4.7 million dollars in interest alone while the investigation had them under surveillance.
The operation was mainly based out of Tri-State Check Cashing, Inc., with headquarters at 17 Avenue A in Newark, NJ which was owned by Pucillo. Vito Alberti got a piece of the whole shylock business and loans that he handled he took 2 points off the top. They would have people who got the loans give them checks which they would cash weekly at the check cashing business so it looked like a legitimate transaction.
Vincent Coppola, the son of Genovese Capo Michael Coppola, ran a sports betting operation that took in 1.7 million and generated 400k in profits that he shared with Alberti and Capo Chuckie Tuzzo at the same time.
They also had a very lucrative side business which they named Viriato Corp. Viriato was used for their illegal check cashing business that was run out of a neighborhood bar. They cashed over 400 million in checks and took in 9 million in tax free fees, which they all split. People would write them large checks to cover under the table payroll or whatever they wanted to get cash for that was not traceable. They did not have to file a CTR aka Currency Transaction Report like you do at a bank for anything over or totaling 10k.
Viriato Corp got the cash from Tri-State Check Cashing and cashed checks, which they deposited and then wrote big checks to Tri-State which they filed CTRs on.
They then gained control of GTS Auto Carriers which transported cars from the docks to other locations. They looted the company and used it to launder more checks through while the task force was watching.
The whole operation was a cash machine. They took in almost 700k in cash from a drug dealer who paid them a fee to launder it, and then they used that cash to cash checks.
It's a circle of undeclared cash kept in play by mixing it up with their legitimate businesses. So much for a dying crime industry. The mafia is alive and well in New York and New Jersey. This was just one small part of a crew that involved one made guy in the family and his capo. Imagine what the rest of the family has going on.