Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Judge lowers bail for broke Genovese associate

A Superior Court judge lowered bail Wednesday from $400,000 to $300,000 for a reputed associate of the Genovese crime family who is accused of heading a multi-million-dollar sports gambling business.
Vincent Coppola, 37, of Union, the son of jailed Genovese capo Michael Coppola, was among 11 members and alleged associates of the crime family who were arrested in October on charges of running a number of illegal financial schemes, which also included elaborate loansharking and check-cashing operations.
Coppola, arrested a day after the others, did not attend a bail hearing with his co-defendants on Oct. 23 because the Morris County jail would not immediately accept him due to "medical conditions," Deputy Attorney General Vincent Militello said during the bail hearing.
Coppola, who sat in a wheelchair as he appeared in Superior Court in Morristown via closed-circuit television on Wednesday, spent six weeks at Morristown Medical Center for treatment of his undisclosed ailment before being transferred to the jail, Militello said.
At the time of the arrests, Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Coppola ran the sports betting operation from an offshore "wire room" located in Costa Rica to process wagers. During 2011, Coppola allegedly handled more than $1.7 million in bets, bringing in more than $400,000 in profits to the Genovese family.
But in court Wednesday, Coppola said, "I can't afford any attorney" and wants to be represented by a public defender.
"I have a 13-year-old autistic son, and he really needs my help," Coppola said.
Judge Robert Gilson reduced the bail to $300,000, but when he told Coppola he must pay the full amount with no 10 percent option, Coppola shook his head, indicating there's no way he can make that bail.
Militello said Coppola was arrested at a rest stop on the Garden State Parkway, where he was "involved in more criminal activity."
"He had newspaper articles related to the matter," Militello said. "He knew he was being charged, but he kept on with his criminal activity."
Coppola was arrested after state troopers spotted him snorting heroin in a parked car with other individuals at a rest stop in Woodbridge, said Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office. Coppola was in possession of "multiple wax folds of heroin" and after he identified himself, he was charged in the drug case and in the gambling case, Aseltine said.
In the organized crime case, Coppola faces first-degree charges of racketeering and money laundering. He is also accused of conspiracy and money laundering.
No further court date was set for Coppola because his case is being sent to a grand jury for a possible indictment.
Others arrested in October included a Genovese "capo," Charles "Chuckie" Tuzzo, 80, of Bayside, N.Y., and a "made" soldier, 55-year-old Vito Alberti of New Providence. The cases are being tried in Morris County.
At the helm of the alleged check-cashing scheme, Hoffman said, was Domenick Pucillo, 56, of Florham Park, who oversaw operations at Tri-State Check Cashing Inc., located in Newark's Ironbound district, and other places.
Fucillo extended lines of both cash and credit to customers who paid annual interest rates of between 52 and 56 percent, Hoffman said.



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