Anthony “Harpo” DePalma, 69, who owns Mr. Tony’s Barber Shop on Railroad Avenue, was charged with first degree criminal usury, a class C felony. According to the Rockland County District Attorney’s office, he made numerous street loans to individuals who feared they were ineligible to receive a loan from their bank.
After entering into agreements with debtors, DePalma charged them up to 200 percent interest, well above the legally-allowable limit. When police searched his shop, they found evidence of the deals, including records of the usurious loans and about $60,000 in cash.
This is not DePalma’s first offense. He was also arrested for enterprise corruption in 2001 and gambling charges in 1973 and 2011. DePalma most recent gambling conviction-which involved his participation in a gambling ring with longtime Pagano crime family associate Frank Fea, resulted in a 60 day county jail sentence.
The arrest is part of a larger crackdown on organized crime operations in the county. DePalma’s arrest came only a month after authorities arrested associate Daniel Pagano of Airmont, the son of the late mobster Joseph Pagano, on racketeering charges together with associate Michael Palazzolo, who was charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit extortion.