Thirteen alleged members and associates of the Genovese crime family from the New York mafia were busted in “Operation Shark Bait” according to law enforcement officials.
The organized crime crack down targeted mob gambling, loan-sharking, and bootlegging schemes controlled by the Genovese family. Among those busted was 76-year-old made man and operation ring leader Salvatore (Sallie) DeMeo a NY mafia veteran with an extensive rap sheet. DeMeo and the other Cosa Nostra family associates have all been accused of being part of massive mob-controlled gambling and loan-sharking operations.
“Genovese Family mobsters, including Salvatore DeMeo (far right)”
(Photo: Jesse Ward For New York Daily News)
According to authorities, the gambling operation took in millions of dollars of action working through a wire room in Costa Rica. The loan sharking operation was charging customers exorbitant interest rates that were impossible to repay according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Two of the defendants have also been charged with selling over 30,000 illegal cigarettes using bogus tax stamps to avoid both state and local taxes. The investigation captured mobsters conducting these illegal activities on intercepted conversation according to the report. The case was announced by Schneiderman and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.
Also arrested were Eugene Orefice, 48; Anthony “Buckwheat” Giammarino, 65; Joseph Tommasino, 52; Thomas Alexiou, 55; Rocco Maglione, 46; Windsor Lewis, 66; Vincent Taliercio, 65; Jackie Charlton, 53; Michael Epstein, 48, and John Giglio, 55 according to the indictment. All of the defendants including DeMeo have pleaded not guilty. Prosecutor’s pointed out that DeMeo who served as the boss of the million dollar operation had an extensive criminal history dating back to the 1980s as he plead not guilty in court. Judge Danny Chun set his bail at $300,000. DeMeo was once featured on an episode of America’s Most Wanted after going on the run trying to escape racketeering and bank robbery charges.