A member of Philadelphia’s La Cosa Nostra organized crime family admitted Tuesday he staged a robbery of a New Jersey pawnshop and check cashing business nearly five years ago so the owner could collect insurance money.
Salvatore “Sam” Piccolo, 67, of Atlantic City, also admitted he sold nearly a half-pound of methamphetamine to an undercover FBI agent, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey said in a statement.
Piccolo faces up to 10 years in federal prison on both the wire fraud and drug distribution charges when he is sentenced July 18 in federal court in Camden.
Clad in a nylon mask, Piccolo and an associate entered a pawnshop in Union Township on April 19, 2014, chained the front doors closed and pulled out a handgun, officials said.
As part of the ruse, the pair bound the owner and then stole cash, jewelry and a gun from a safe in the business, authorities said. The owner claimed the safe contained $60,000 in cash and eventually was paid a claim of $174,000 from a St. Paul, Minnesota insurance provider not named in charging documents, authorities said.
The money was transferred from the insurance company’s Citibank account to the business owner’s Bank of America account in November 2014, authorities said.
Neither the pawn shop nor the owner was named by authorities, either.
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