Jersey City’s master numbers banker, Joseph “Newsboy” Moriarty, lived with his sister in a house close to Hamilton Park (conveniently, next door to J.V. Kenny). One day, the none too responsible Miss Moriarty by mistake turned on the furnace. The house filled with smoke and the Fire Department was alerted. The firemen soon found the trouble’s cause. The flue was stuffed with bags full of cash.
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“Newsboy” always dressed in well-worn work clothes. During the Depression, Joe Moriarty walked into a local bank to inquire about opening an account. The not very enthusiastic bank officer, expecting something along the lines of the usual thirty-eight or forty-nine cents, asked how much the initial deposit was going to be. Moriarty opened a satchel and started to pile large denomination bills on the desk. The shocked banker screamed for the guard to lock the door.
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Millions of dollars (more loot than any pirate’s buried treasure on record) was found in an old car in a garage in Jersey City. People at the scene told how they saw the police remove five duffel bags. Four were carried into the police station. All the police directly involved with the transportation of the money retired within a year.
For years, Moriarty denied that the cash was his. Many branches of government attempted to grab the money. An IRS agent visited “Newsboy” while he was on trial for a gambling charge. The revenuer explained to Moriarty that he was going to be convicted — whether or not he claimed the money. But, if Newsboy asserted ownership of the funds, then the IRS would take half the money for taxes and return the rest to him. That “Newsboy” bought a new Cadillac when he got out of jail is given as proof of this Moriarty episode. Never having had a legitimate source of income before, Moriarty always drove old cars.
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One of the Moriarty’s secrets of success — and longevity — was that he did not tally his numbers records during normal business hours — when the gambling squad worked. Instead, “Newsboy” hid everything during the daylight hours. He’d recover and go through the slips during the dead of night when most detectives were sleeping — and any unusual activity was easy to spot.