In approximately 12% of credit or debit fraud cases, an Internet website is the initial point of contact, but other forms of crime are still operating just as strongly as before.
An East Coast organized crime ring that stretched from Springfield, Massachusetts, to the Hudson Valley and down to Florida was allegedly behind crimes involving gambling, extortion, loansharking, gun trafficking, and even health-care fraud.
A federal crackdown on organized crime, in addition to the ring’s activity, resulted in a whopping 46 arrests, including a dozen with ties in the Hudson Valley.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office reported that those arrested hold various positions within the “East Coast La Cosa Nostra,” with Mafia affiliations to the Gambino, Genovese, Luchese, Bonanno, and Philadelphia organized crime families.
Those charged include Agostino Camacho, 40, of Yonkers; Mitchell Fusco, 52, of Yonkers; Richard LaCava, 67, of Pelham; Mark Maiuzzo, 37, of Scarsdale; Pasquale Parrello, 72, of Tuckahoe; Vincent Terracciano, 40, of Yonkers; Joseph Tomanelli, 70, of Yonkers; Anthony Vazzano, 51, of Brewster; and Bradford Wedra, 61, of Mount Vernon.
“The indictment reads like an old school mafia novel, where extortion, illegal gambling, arson and threats to ‘whack’ someone are carried out along with some modern-day crimes of credit card skimming,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez. “But the 40-plus arrests of mob associates, soldiers, capos, and a boss this morning show this isn’t fiction.”
In fact, there’s evidence that organized crime hasn’t gone away at all, and that it’s using new avenues to commit crime.
One such example came from Union County last year.
In Elizabeth, 12 people who authorities said were linked to a city gang, were arrested following the investigation of a man accused in the murder of a Plainfield man.
They were charged in March 2015 with racketeering and a series of other offenses in connection with a pattern of identity theft, tax fraud, drug sales and the illegal production of fake debit and gift cards in and around Union County, officials said.
Online fraud and card skimming are increasingly popular methods of crime, both for amateurs and old-school mob affiliates, it seems.
“The computer is the new conduit by which all the groups are doing business,” said former Morris County prosecutor Robert Bianchi.
The 46 individuals arrested as a result of their activity in an organized crime ring have committed just as many technological crimes as physical ones, which is reflected in the charges.
The charges include arson, illegal gambling, extortion, and firearms trafficking. The Westchester County District Attorney’s office is assisting in the prosecution.
Thirty-nine of the defendants were taken into custody Thursday. During the arrests, law enforcement officers recovered, among other items, three handguns, a shotgun, gambling paraphernalia and more than $30,000 in cash.