Formerly Hoboken-based mob turncoat Peter “Petey Cap” Caporino, an associate of the Genovese crime family for nearly 40 years and an FBI informant for 18, is the key cog in bringing down 16 members of a notorious Mafia family with North Jersey operations.
Caporino taped over 300 conversations, using a recorder disguised as a beeper, between 2002 and 2005, according to law enforcement officials.
Caporino was born in Hoboken and ran a bookmaking operation, which was protected by the Genovese family, out of the Character Club in at 111 Monroe St. His family now lives in Hasbrouck Heights.
The tapes were a key component in a four-year investigation into a loansharking, gambling, and extortion ring that was allegedly run by the Genovese crime family. The investigation ended with the unsealing of the indictments of 16 reputed members in New Jersey and New York in August 2005.
Last week, Caporino testified as a government witness against an alleged mob member in U.S. District Court, but at the same time, he gave a look at the inner workings of a mob family.
The operations The operations of the local bookmaking ring allegedly were handled at The Resolute Club 404, a Hoboken social club at 404 Madison St., where high-level Genovese associate Joseph “Big Joe” Scarbrough, 66, of West Orange, “directed loansharking, sports bookmaking, number and football gambling, as well as extortion,” according to U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie.
Other alleged misdeeds occurred at the Downtown Pub at 9 Paterson Ave. in Hoboken near the Jersey City border, and at a deli at 944 Westside Ave. in Jersey City.
The Genovese crime family is considered by law enforcement the most powerful of the mob families in the New York metropolitan area. The family’s alleged boss was Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, who was convicted of racketeering in 1970.
Fifteen of those indicted, including Scarbrough and high-ranking captain Lawrence “Little Larry” Dentico, have already pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Also from Hoboken, Gregory Richardson, 57, a reputed Genovese associate, has also pled guilty after being indicted for one count of racketeering conspiracy, two counts of racketeering, one count of conspiracy to collect by extortionate means, and two counts of collection by extortionate means.
The one holdout was Michael Crincoli, 46, of Jersey City, a “reputed made member” of the Genovese crime family, who allegedly directed loansharking activities of a crew from, among other places, a deli he owned in Jersey City.
Last week, Caporino testified in court against Crincoli.
How he got there But how does a man get to become the key cog in a probe against the mob?
According to a story in the Newark Star-Ledger, Caporino served in the Army in the 1950s. When he was discharged, he returned to work at a freight company in Fairfield, N.J. It was at that time when he first started to collect bets from fellow employees, marking the beginning of his life as a numbers runner.
The Ledger story added that after his father died, Caporino took over his family’s business, which was a company that placed pinball machines and pool tables in bars but all the while still running a growing numbers racket.
It soon became so successful that he needed Genovese protection, which he secured for a cut of his profits. Then, about 18 years ago, Caporino first became a FBI informant.
In 2002, Caporino, his wife, and about 30 others were arrested on state gambling charges. According to his testimony, he did not want to see his wife go to jail, so he decided then to become a fully cooperating FBI witness. The feds supplied him with a beeper-sized recorder and he went to work.
This week the jury heard numerous segments of conversations Caporino recorded that directly implicated Crincoli in loansharking schemes. In one tape played before the court, Crincoli, Caporino, and Scarbrough discussed a Jersey City diner owner who allegedly borrowed over $50,000 and failed to pay them back. To exacerbate the situation, according to the tape, the diner owner was asking to borrow another $100,000.
“If we got to kill him, I’d rather kill him for 50 instead of 150, because that’s out of my pocket,” Scarbrough said during the taped conversation.
Prosecutors rested their case against Crincoli on Wednesday, and the lawyers for him said that they weren’t going to call any defense witnesses or put Crincoli on the stand. Closing arguments were expected on Thursday morning.
Last time In September of 1997, the state attorney general had announced the indictment of 16 other reputed members and associates of the Genovese family. Counts included racketeering, promoting gambling, and criminal usury. According to the indictment, a confidential informant, who is now believed to be Caporino, was used to “infiltrate the highest levels of the crew” between 1993 and 1996.
That time, two social clubs were “identified as the headquarters for the alleged racketeering enterprise,” and they were Monroe Social Buddies on Madison Avenue and an unnamed social club at Fifth and Madison streets.