Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mob Rat on Stand at Trial of Jersey City 'Soldier'

Friends of ours: Peter Caporino, Genovese Crime Family, Michael Crincoli, Lawrence Dentico, Vincent "the Chin" Gigante, Joseph "Big Joe" Scarbrough

Eighteen years as a Mafia turncoat came to a climax yesterday when Peter Caporino took the witness stand in U.S. District Court. Jurors also heard the first of 300 conversations between reputed mobsters recorded over three years by Caporino, who wore a wire for the feds.

Caporino testified for the prosecution against reputed Genovese crime family soldier Michael Crincoli, 46, of Jersey City, who allegedly ran a loansharking and extortion business out of his deli at 944 West Side Ave. Caporino ran a bookmaking operation, also protected by the Genovese family, out of the Character Club in Hoboken.

Caporino said he'd already been working as an informant for the FBI for 15 years when he was busted by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office on gambling charges in February 2003. At that point, he said, he decided he would go from confidential informant to cooperating witness. "Cooperating witness meant I would wear a wire and testify," he said.

He said his FBI handlers gave him a recording device, disguised as a pager, that could tape up to 10 hours of conversations. Caporino's recordings resulted in 16 arrests in 2005. All save one - Crincoli - has since taken a plea deal.

Among those arrested was Lawrence Dentico, 81, of Seaside Park, one of a handful of men thought to run the Genovese crime family since Vincent "the Chin" Gigante was convicted of extortion in 1997. Dentico has pleaded guilty.

Also snared was Joseph "Big Joe" Scarbrough, 66, of West Orange, an alleged Genovese family associate accused of loansharking, illegal gambling and extortion. Scarbrough has pleaded guilty.

Jersey City Incinerator Authority Inspector Russell Fallacara, 38, of Keansburg, was picked up in the sweep and he later admitted he demanded a $100,000 payment from Nacirema Carting and Demolition of Bayonne, which had a contract with Jersey City.

Caporino said he grew up in Hoboken and graduated from Demarest High School, now Hoboken High. He worked for a trucking company before joining the Army; after his discharge, he returned to the trucking company and discovered the man who'd run the local numbers game had died. He and another worker then took it over, he said.

He eventually expanded the business to the point where he had to make a weekly tribute payment to the mob in order to continue operating. Caporino will likely be on the stand until tomorrow, when Crincoli's attorney will have a chance to cross examine him.

Thanks to Michaelangelo Conte

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