An individual with ties to the Genovese crime family recently stood before a judge and admitted being involved in illegal gambling activities in New Jersey, as well as offshore. Vincent Coppola will now face sentencing for his crimes, but could also face the family if he decides to play “Let’s Make a Deal.”
Coppola’s participation was uncovered during a larger illegal sports gambling investigation. He apparently was involved in a network of associates of the Genovese family that were running the operations, which included facilities in New Jersey, as well as a wire room in Costa Rica that was used for processing bets.
Coppola reportedly worked as an agent tasked with managing sub-agents—individuals who controlled an established list of gamblers. Last Wednesday, he admitted to one count of third-degree gambling promotion. He could be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail followed by probation.
According to investigators looking into illegal gambling in the state, Coppola was in charge of two New Jersey-based sub-agents, Jerry J. Albanese of Scotch Plains and John W. Trainor of Brick. He allowed both to have greater control over the bettors in their “packages” (a group of bettors) and those packages allegedly handled over $1.7 million in wagers in 2011. That year, over $400,000 in profits were recorded.
Coppola is the son of Michael Coppola, a Genovese “capo” already serving time for organized crime. He has already spent time facing judges over his links to criminal activity, including in 2014 when he appeared in a wheel chair for an unidentified illness.
In a separate incident from 2016, the Genovese family came under fire for illegal gambling. 13 individuals associated with the family were busted as part of “Operation Shark Bait,” which had uncovered illegal gambling and a Costa Rica wire room that processed millions of dollars.
Coppola wasn’t the only individual arrested as a result of the latest investigation. Five others appeared before a judge last week and pleaded guilty for their involvement in illegal loansharking and money laundering. They are expected to be sentenced this September.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a statement, When those involved in traditional organized crime engage in schemes such as loansharking and illegal gambling, they profit at the expense of victims who are struggling with debt, gambling problems, and other issues… By prosecuting the men who ran these schemes and putting key defendants behind bars, we send a message that we will not tolerate these corrosive criminal activities that harm individuals, families and society as a whole.”