Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Band of Genovese mobsters nabbed for gambling, loan-sharking, cigarette smuggling ring

December 16, 2016

As published by the New York Daily News on December 15, 2016.

A baker’s dozen of Genovese crime family associates were busted in a law enforcement crackdown on mob gambling, loan-sharking and bootlegging, officials said Thursday.

Among those busted in “Operation Shark Bait” was mob veteran Salvatore (Sallie) DeMeo, 76, a made man whose rap sheet includes a New Jersey bank robbery and a New York armored car heist back in 1996.

The other 12 defendants — including Anthony (Buckwheat) Giammmarino — were affiliates of the once-mighty crime family accused in the scheme that handled millions of dollars in gambling action through a wire room in Costa Rica, officials said.

The Genovese crew was also accused of a loansharking operation where customers were charged outrageous weekly interest on borrowed cash.

And two of the men were busted for selling more than 30,000 illegal cigarettes in New York — dodging state and city taxes through the use of bogus tax stamps, according to authorities.

Much of the illegal interaction was captured by investigators on intercepted conversations. The case was announced by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“Loan sharks shamelessly saddle their victims with outrageous loan rates that are impossible to repay,” said Schneiderman.

“These defendants allegedly went to great lengths to trap their victims with exorbitant rates, all while evading our gambling laws and taking offshore bets.”

All 13 were arrested, including DeMeo — who famously bolted in 2001 after 45 Genovese members were named in a sweeping mob indictment. He finally surrendered, and was released from prison in November 2006.

DeMeo was also arrested in 1999 after an “America’s Most Wanted” segment featuring the Brooklynite.