Towards the end of May, Judge Antonio Fiorentino of Torre Annunziata Court sentenced a shipper of the Napoli Group to six years and eight months in prison. The convicted counterfeiter, a 34-year-old named Mario Martinelli, found himself in a “thrilling police chase” last year. Once caught, authorities found 136,000 in fake euros.
The Napoli Group, for those that missed the massive arrest last year, was one of the largest counterfeit euro sources in the world. At one point, they pumped out more than 90% of the fake euros in circulation. The organization consisted of 11—possibly 12—syndicates at the last reasonable count, scattered throughout Italy. The headquarters in 2014 was North of Naples in Giugliano.
Law enforcement first investigated the group in 2012 when their activities resembled those of the Camorra clan. Police later learned that the Napoli Group and Camorra clan were unrelated, but the initial connection appeared to set the police on the Napoli Group’s trail. One of the first places investigated was a syndicate in Caivano, a city roughly 15 miles from Naples.
Each syndicate had a specialty. Some printed counterfeit euros. These a consisted an individual generally considered