Bethel man charged in organized crime loan sharking scheme
A Bethel man who authorities say served as an associate of the Lucchese organized crime family was one of 10 people indicted this week in New York’s largest loan sharking investigation.
Steve Murray, 49, of Bethel, and nine others, from Westchester County, were indicted by the New York Attorney General’s office on several charges Tuesday, including enterprise corruption.
The scheme, authorities said, involved the loan sharking and bookmaking activities of Lucchese “made member” Dominick Capelli and alleged Lucchese “associates” or “non-made” crew members, including Murray.
The loan sharking operation was the largest ever investigated by the New York Attorney General, officials said, with interest payouts exceeding more than $1 million in the past year alone. Murray was charged with providing loans to individuals and collecting the payments on the loans, according to the indictment. The loans included interest rates of up to 200 percent.
“As we allege, this brazen ring of criminals preyed on New Yorkers — using a gambling operation to funnel victims into their loan sharking operation, and then saddling them with usurious loan payments,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a news release. “My office will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to root out organized crime and prosecute these criminals to the fullest extent of the law.”
Investigators said they discovered more than 40 victims of the scheme, many of whom had multiple loans with the crew.
Loan sharking victims were required to make weekly, high interest payments, officials said, either by directly paying an associate of the scheme, or by dropping off cash at two New Rochelle businesses: McKiernan’s Lawton Street Tavern and The Glass Room, a smoke shop.
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