Gaetano (Tommy Nelson) D’Auria – aka “Richard D’Auria” and “Thomas D’Auria” – was born in 1910 in Capasele, Italy. He immigrated as a child to America settling in NYC with his family.
When first moving to New Jersey, he resided at 22 Wood Street in the Newark section. He later relocated to 9 Belmohr Street in the Belleville area.
Tommy Nelson was known to spend considerable time in both Havana, Cuba and Miami, Florida, in addition to his usual New York and New Jersey haunts.
Tommy had a small build, standing at 5-foot 7-inches tall and weighing 160-pounds. He had a dark olive complexion and was slightly balding with dark brown hair. He also wore glasses with heavy lenses.
He was always very well dressed and usually drove a black late-model Oldsmobile or Cadillac.
FBI # 4135510, NYPD # B-206850, NJPD # 36644, NJSP # A-72335
Law enforcement authorities considered D’Auria a member of the Tourine crew and possibly the closest associate to Charles (Charlie the Blade) Tourine and a highly-trusted confidant of his.
The FBI had also listed D’Auria as an “associate member” of the Vito Genovese Family. He was known to visit Tourine on a daily basis when Tourine was in the New York area.
Arrest Record and Associates
D’Auria had a long arrest record dating to at least 1942 for:
>> 1942 – vagrancy
>> 1944 – unregistered still, conspiracy
>> 1944 – receiving horse bets
>> 1944 – Internal Revenue law violation (3 years federal prison – Lewisburg)
>> 1947 – parole violation
>> 1947 – grand larceny and receiving stolen property (18 months – state prison)
>> 1949 – unregistered alcohol still
>> 1949 – violating parole (15 months)
>> 1958 – criminal inquiry (Havana PD)
His known associates through the years included:
• Joseph Nesline
• Anthony (Little Pussy) Russo
• Eugenio (Gene) Campo
• Armand Cerami
• Joseph (Joe Bayonne) Zicarelli
• Eugene Catena
• Charles (Chuckie) Delmonico
Havana, Cuba and New Jersey
He was employed as an unofficial “accountant” for Tourine and the mob at the Hotel Capri Casino in Havana, Cuba. D’Auria was also widely known as one of the few men that Charlie the Blade entrusted to watch over his money and assets.
Informants named D’Auria as having been connected to the numbers racket in New Jersey. In 1966, Tommy Nelson was said to have invested in a ticket agency.
He was also attempting to secure a “Junket” franchise to transport gamblers from New York City to London, England where the mob was known to have investments in several legal gambling casino operations.
Both Tourine and Meyer Lansky were believed to have hidden interests there. Dino Cellini, Meyer’s close aide and frontman, was alleged to be the floor manager at one of the top London Casinos.
As the years passed, no more was heard from D’Auria. And no dod was available on him.