WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- A New Jersey man with reputed mob ties admitted Thursday that he conspired with a disbarred attorney from Westchester to scam 15 victims out of nearly $3.5 million.
Paul Mancuso, 49, said he conspired with co-defendant Pasquale “Pat” Stiso, of West Harrison, to pretend to broker deals on a pizzeria in the Bahamas, a casino in Atlantic City and a chunk of real estate in Matawan, N.J., that they flipped, among other bogus ventures that authorities said drained victims’ life savings.
Both were up to their necks in hock with bookies — including a $500,000 debt that Macuso still hadn’t paid, the government said.
Instead of funding the purported projects, Mancuso said today, he and Stiso, 53, used the money for personal expenses and gambling.
Two months ago, police in North Brunswick, N.J., said Mancuso was behind the wheel of a 2015 Mercedes Benz that crossed a double-yellow line and slammed into another vehicle, critically injuring a 58-year-old grandmother. The status of that case couldn't immediately be determined this afternoon.
Mancuso reputedly has ties to Genovese captain Joseph “The Eagle” Gatto of Paterson, N.J., who died in April 2010. Authorities said Mancuso participated in a gambling ring headed by Gatto that took $300,000 a week in illegal wagers from tens of thousands of customers nationwide.
Gatto’s father and brother, legendary North Jersey Genovese gangster Louis “Streaky” Gatto and Louis Gatto Jr., both died while serving federal prison sentences.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman noted that the government has moved to recover $3.4 million from Mancuso and Stiso "representing the fraudulent payments [they] received from the scheme."
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, the IRS, and investigators in his office with making the case, presented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francisco J. Navarro and Anthony Mahajan of his Criminal Division in Newark.
Sentencing for Mancuso was scheduled for Jan. 12. The case against Stiso was still pending.
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