‘Fatz’ and his opioid gang in all their selfie glory

And so farewell, Vincent “Fatz” Caruso, aspiring rapper, YouTube auteur, North Shore fentanyl kingpin, and now, for the next 15 years or so, a jailbird in the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Fatz himself wrote the epitaph for his criminal career in an Instagram post:

“He may be Tra$h but he has Ca$h.”

Today we present a photographic retrospective of Fatz’ brief moment on the underworld stage, all grabbed from his own social media, and memorialized in the feds’ affidavits against him and his crew.

These days the hoods themselves post absolutely everything on social media. An affidavit now sometimes looks like a coffee-table picture book, what with all the photographs, not to mention the links to YouTube where you can see them showing off their arsenals and jewelry.

No mug shot could ever top Fatz’ own shirtless self-portrait. That selfie is worth, not just a thousand words, but a thousand tattoos, not to mention 10 million or so calories.

At age 27, Fatz just pleaded guilty to multiple counts of drug dealing, possession of firearms, money laundering, etc. He even owned multiple pill presses, which he used to produce tens of thousands of counterfeit prescription opioids.

Vincent ‘Fatz’ Caruso, presumably performing a karaoke version of ‘Freebird’ (US Attorney’s Office)

Fatz’s crimes caused untold damage across the North Shore. Among other things, as the feds note in one of the affidavits, “communities of color are experiencing the impact of opioid-related deaths more severely and in extreme disproportion.”

Fatz and his gang liked to document what they were doing with their ill-gotten gains.

Thus we have a photo of two lovebirds — Jaiir Coleman and Christina Bernbaum — swilling imported Belaire champagne. Perhaps Christina felt that she owed it to herself — another photo shows her (in short-shorts and a mask) stirring a pot of what the feds call “white powder.”

Bernbaum has a 4-year-old daughter. When the cops raided her apartment, they found a little Minnie Mouse lunchbox that belonged to the child. It was stuffed with drugs.

Bernbaum will be sentenced April 6. Her boyfriend, who likes to wear a Yankees baseball cap, has admitted to at least six shootings.

Then there’s Ernest Johnson, better known by his street moniker, Yo Pesci. Yo Pesci became “a viral video star,” as the G-men describe him, when he did a livestream of himself driving a car, during which rival gangbangers opened fire on him.

Ernest Johnson, aka Yo Pesci, is also charged with drug offenses. (US Attorney’s Office)
Ernest ‘Yo Pesci’ Johnson (US Attorney’s Office)

One of my favorite photos is a close up of Fatz’ hand, as he is proudly showing off his diamond-encrusted Audemars Piguet watch, which the feds say is worth more than $10,000, not including the cost of the diamonds.

Vincent ‘Fatz’ Caruso shwoing off his Audemars Piguet on social media (US Attorney’s Office)

Imagine my amusement when I read in Fatz’ plea agreement that in addition to forfeiting, among sawed-off shotguns and $144,000 in cash, Fatz must also turn over “one Audemar watch.”

Easy come, easy go.

It’s not just photographs that the prosecutors used against Fatz, et al. The crew posted so many videos on YouTube that maybe the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square needs to run a retrospective.

Of all Fatz’ screen gems — among them Demon Time and Gangin’ — I prefer Shizzy’s Birthday.

Shizzy, also known as Shondell Hollaway, was feted at Mastro’s steakhouse on Fan Pier. Fatz gave him a Rolex and later said he spent $8,000 on the party, which featured menus customized with Shizzy’s name.

To cap off the evening, Fatz ordered rounds of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, presumably in the traditional nip bottles, because nothing says high society like bolting down rotgut with the slogan “Tastes Like Heaven, Burns Like Hell.”

Shizzy’s Birthday is a moving tribute to the man now incarcerated at the Essex County House of Correction as he awaits trial on gun charges. After watching the birthday tribute, one fan was moved to post a comment on YouTube: “Free Shizzy!”

As you peruse Fatz’ oeuvre, not to mention his svelte figure, many thoughts may cross your mind. But for me, it all comes back to what a female voice says on a Snapchat video:

“This is what you get for eating mac and cheese every night.”

Christina “Tina” Bernbaum, who pleaded guilty for her role in the conspiracy in 2021, is seen cooking what prosecutors said might be cocaine base as seen in a screenshot of a music video found in the criminal complaint.(U.S. District Court document.)
Jaiir Coleman and Christina Bernbaum as seen on page 74 of a federal affidavit. (US Attorney’s Office.)
Cristina Bernbaum’s daughter’s Minnie Mouse lunchbox, found filled with drugs in Bernbaum’s residence (US Attorney’s Office)
From U.S. District Court filing – Jaiir Coleman appears holding a pistol in a screen capture prosecutors made of one of his several appearances in local rap music videos brandishing guns. (US Attorney’s Office.)
Jaiir Coleman, who has admitted to six shootings, sports a Yankees hat. (US Attorney’s Office)