Federal Court in Camden

Mitchell H. Cohen Building and U.S. Courthouse in Camden

An Atlantic City man Tuesday admitted staging a fake robbery of a Union County pawnshop to perpetrate insurance fraud and distributing methamphetamine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Salvatore “Sam” Piccolo, 67, a Philadelphia mafia member, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court to distribution of 216 grams of meth and one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a news release.

Piccolo said that on April 19, 2014, he and an accomplice entered a pawnshop, purportedly to sell some silver items. Once inside the shop, the accomplice displayed a handgun while Piccolo, wearing a nylon mask, chained the front doors closed to prevent anyone from entering.

The owner was bound, as a pretense, while Piccolo and his accomplice looted the safe of what the owner told police was about $60,000 in cash, jewelry and a handgun.

The owner later submitted to his insurance company a fraudulent-loss claim for which he received about $174,000.

Piccolo also admitted selling meth to an undercover FBI agent.

The distribution of meth carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life and a $10 million fine. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for July 18.

Staff Writer

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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