Edwin Siegel was questioned at the hearing about many of the customers who contributed to City Check Cashing's huge dollar volume. His responses, or lack of same, will be noted as testimony by or about these particular clients is reviewed in this summary.
One such client was Joseph Odorisio of Brooklyn, owner from 1982-87 of a relatively small company called Pier Services, a New York corporation that operated in New Jersey. This trucking business had only a handful of employees, mainly drivers, and eight or nine trucks yet during a 15month period between January, 1986, and March, 1987, Odorisio cashed more than $1.765 million in checks on behalf of Pier Services at City Check Cashing.
SCI accountants checked Pier Services books and records but could not find any reference to at least one million dollars worth of the checks he cashed at the Siegel-Santoro outlet. The Commission's suspicions about his check cashing splurge were further stirred by Odorisio's peculiar pattern of cashing a large receivable at City Check Cashing at the same time he would cash a much smaller check. The origin of the larger checks also remained a mystery, largely because Odorisio invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against selfincrimination at the hearing (contrary to his responsiveness during his executive session appearance earlier at the SCI). Whatever the source cf the larger checks Odorisio cashed, the Commission has referred all evidence about them to crosecutorial authorities for criminal probes.
Despite Odorisio's refusal to respond, the series of questions put to him by Counsel Hoekje reflected how willing City Check Cashing was to accept any kind of business:
Q. Did the checks that you cashed represent income generated during the normal business operations of Pier Services?
Q. Did you also cash checks that did not represent income generated during the normal business operations of Pier Services?
Q. Mr. Odorisio, the books and records of Pier Services that were provided to the SCI under subpoena do reflect amounts that were actually deposited in your company's bank account. However, at least $1,000,000 of the amount that you cashed at City Check Cashing is not reflected on your company's books and records. Can you explain this?
Q. Mr. Odorisio, when you testified before. the Commission in private session on November 4, 1987, didn't you tell us, in explaining the source of checks, that you had "borrowed a lot of money"?
Q. How much money did you borrow, Mr. Odorisio?
Q. Do you recall your testimony, Mr. Odorisio, on November 4, , that you paid no charges or fees for these loans?
Q. Mr. Odorisio, these loans appear to the SCI staff to be unrelated to the operation of the business of Pier Services. Would you agree?
Q. Didn't you agree, however, when you testified on November 4, 1987, that these loans were not for the trucking business?
Q. Didn't you also testify at that time that you paid most of the bills of your business by check and that the only cash needs that your business had were some payroll and some tips for the drivers when they went down to the piers?
Q. Would you agree, Mr. Odorisio, that the million
dollars that is absent from the books and records of Pier Services represents neither income received by the business during normal
operations nor expenses paid by the business
during normal operations?
Q. On June 20, 1987, a CTR, Currency Transaction Report, reflected that you cashed a
$25,000 check [and,] at the same check
casher, a Pier Services' company check for
$1,200 payable to cash. Can you explain to us
why you conducted a $25,000 transaction and
a $1,200 transaction on the same day but in
Q. Mr. Odorisio, the SCI staff has found many
occasions such as the above where after you
cashed a large check you also cashed your
own small company check to pay the expenses of your business. Can you explain this?
Q. To whom did you give the proceeds of the
checks that you cashed that represented
Q. Did you give any of the proceeds of the checks
that you cashed that represented loans to anyone associated with organized crime or
Q. Were any of the proceeds of the checks used
in any loansharking operations?
Q. Were any of the proceeds of the checks that
you cashed used for any illegal purpose?
Q. Mr. Odorisio, what happened to over
$1,000,000 in cash?
Odorisio Was Santoro's Client
Counsel Gaal's questioning of Siegel about Odorisio's transactions revealed that Odorisio had previously been a customer of mob-connected Santoro's former check cashing business:
Q. Mr. Siegel, prior to our advising you of this
when you testified in December, were you
aware of the fact that while Odorisio was
cashing the $1,765,000 worth of receivables,
he was also bouncing many of his own checks
at City Check Cashing?
Q. Were you aware that Mr. Odorisio was a customer of Robert Santoro's at his unlicensed
businesses before you hired him?
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