The Chicago Syndicate: Joseph Perna
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Showing posts with label Joseph Perna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joseph Perna. Show all posts

Friday, June 19, 2015

6 More Members of Lucchese Crime Family Plead Guilty

Six members of the New York-based Lucchese crime family, including a ruling boss in New York and a top captain in New Jersey, have pleaded guilty to running a multi-billion-dollar gambling enterprise built upon extortion and violence, state authorities said Thursday.

The men were indicted in 2010 after an investigation uncovered the gambling ring, which, according to records, transacted an estimated $2.2 billion in wagers, primarily on sporting events, during a 15-month period. The operation allegedly received and processed the wagers using password-protected websites and a Costa Rican "wire room."

Authorities said the investigation, led by the state Division of Criminal Justice, also revealed a scheme in which a former New Jersey corrections officer and a high-ranking member of the Nine Trey Gangsters set of the Bloods street gang entered into an alliance with the Lucchese family to smuggle drugs and pre-paid cell phones into East Jersey State Prison.

The alleged gangster, Edwin Spears, who was an inmate, formed the alliance in concert with the former officer, Michael Bruinton, authorities said. Charges are pending against them.

Among those who pleaded guilty Wednesday were Ralph V. Perna, 69, of East Hanover, who oversaw the crime family's operations in New Jersey, as well as his two of his sons: Joseph Perna, 45, of Wyckoff, and John Perna, 38, of West Caldwell, authorities said.

Under the plea deal, prosecutors will recommend eight years in prison for Ralph Perna and 10 years in prison for his two sons. Charges against a third son, Ralph M. Perna, 43, of West Caldwell, are pending, authorities said.

Also pleading guilty were Martin Taccetta, 64, formerly of East Hanover and a former New Jersey underboss, who is already serving a life sentence as a result of a state prosecution in the 1990s; John Mangrella, 72, of Clifton, a senior member of the family; and Matthew Madonna, 80, of Seldon, N.Y., a member of the three-man ruling panel of the family.

Charges are pending against a second alleged ruling member, Joseph DiNapoli, 79, of Scarsdale, N.Y., authorities said. Under the plea deal, prosecutors will recommend five years in prison for Madonna, and eight years for Mangrella and Taccetta.

Thanks to Christopher Baxter.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lucchese Crime Family Partners with The Bloods Street Gang

State authorities on Tuesday broke up what Attorney General Anne Milgram said was an “alarming alliance” between the Luchese crime family and the Bloods street gang to supply drugs and cellphones to gang members inside a New Jersey prison. Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Two members of the Luchese family connected to the prison scheme, Ms. Milgram said, were also involved in a sports gambling ring. The gambling operation took in $2.2 billion in bets over 15 months, mainly through the Internet, law enforcement officials say, and relied on violence and extortion to collect debts.

All told, the authorities charged 32 people, 27 from New Jersey and 5 from New York, in connection with the prison and gambling operations, on charges ranging from racketeering and money laundering to conspiracy to distribute heroin and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.

Among those arrested were three high-ranking members of the Luchese organization and a New Jersey prison guard who is accused of acting as the conduit for the drugs and cellphones.

“With today’s arrests and charges, we have disrupted the highest-echelon organized crime family in both New York and New Jersey,” Ms. Milgram said at a news conference.

During the yearlong investigation, Ms. Milgram worked with her former boss, Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, and other law enforcement agencies.

New York’s five organized crime families have long built alliances with nontraditional organized crime groups in the city, including Russians, Cubans and Asians. Nationwide, organized crime groups are also no stranger to running criminal operations inside prisons. But in New Jersey, which has seen a rapid growth in gang activity in the cities and the suburbs, law enforcement officials said, the prison scheme provided the first evidence of an organized crime family from New York working with the Bloods street gang, one of the state’s largest. Moreover, Ms. Milgram said, the potential for more cooperation was great, given their shared interests in “violence, illegal drugs and quick profits.”

“What we have here in this case is really the realization of what we feared: connecting old-school organized crime, the Mafia, with new-school organized crime, gangs,” Ms. Milgram said. “We’ve heard anecdotes about overlap, but this is the first time we’ve had a direct link between the two organizations.”

As part of what they called Operation Heat, investigators executed search warrants at 10 locations in New Jersey and 2 in New York, Ms. Milgram said. They seized two shotguns, one handgun, one hand grenade, 2,000 OxyContin-grade pills and $200,000 in cash. State officials also obtained court orders to take possession of 7 homes and 13 luxury cars.

Ms. Milgram, together with Gregory A. Paw, director of the state’s Division of Criminal Justice, made the announcement at the West Orange Armory, where the New Jersey suspects were processed on Tuesday. The suspects’ first court appearances were expected in a Morris County courtroom on Wednesday.

According to law enforcement officials, the prison scheme revolved around a prisoner, Edwin B. Spears, 33, who has served time for a variety of offenses since 2002.

Officials said that Mr. Spears, who is reputed to be a “five-star general” in the Nine Trey Gangsters faction of the Bloods, cooperated with two Luchese members — Joseph M. Perna and Michael A. Cetta — to smuggle heroin, cocaine, marijuana and prepaid cellphones into East Jersey State Prison in Woodbridge.

They enlisted the help of Michael T. Bruinton, a senior prison guard, by offering him $500 each time he allowed smuggled goods to pass through, Ms. Milgram said. Mr. Bruinton has worked in corrections since 1987, always at the same prison, said Danielle Hunter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.

Mr. Perna and Mr. Cetta are suspected of having given money to Mr. Spears’s brother, Dwayne E. Spears, to buy drugs and phones. Dwayne Spears then passed the goods to Mr. Bruinton, officials said, and they were given to inmates who had placed orders with Edwin Spears.

As of Tuesday night, Mr. Bruinton was one of five suspects still at large. “He wasn’t home or at work,” said Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for Ms. Milgram. Attempts to reach him for comment on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

The gambling operation was more conventional. Law enforcement officials said it involved agents who brought in bets from hundreds or even thousands of gamblers who bet on, among other things, basketball, football, greyhound races and the lottery.

The gambling operation used what officials called a wire room in Costa Rica, where bets were taken over the Internet or a toll-free phone line, and tabulated.
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The gambling operators in the metropolitan area made tribute payments to two of the Luchese family’s top bosses in New York, Joseph DiNapoli, of Scarsdale, and Matthew Madonna, of Selden, both 72, according to Ms. Milgram. Sometimes, debtors were forced to take loans at annual interest rates exceeding 200 percent. Some debtors were even forced to refinance their homes.

The New Jersey group was said to have been led by Ralph V. Perna, of East Hanover, who officials said was named top capo for the New Jersey division of the Luchese family this year. Three of his sons, including Joseph, and his daughter-in-law, were also charged in the investigation.

It is not clear whether the Bloods were involved with the gambling operation. But officials said the accusation that they joined forces with the Mafia was surprising but not unexpected.

According to Marc Agnifilo, the former head of the gang unit in the United States attorney’s office in New Jersey, the cultural differences between the two groups would appear to be too great to allow for a long-term alliance.

Mafia crews try to run their enterprises quietly, Mr. Agnifilo said, while street gangs like the Bloods and Crips are prone to ostentatious shows of raw power. “No self-respecting mobster would want anything to do with the Bloods or Crips because those gangs are the antithesis of the Mafia,” he said. “The mob is concerned with making money over the long haul, trying to appear respectable. But the Bloods are concerned with projecting their status, so they’re all, ‘I’m going to shoot up the block and wear a red bandanna.’”

Yet Mr. Agnifilo said that when he had prosecuted both organized crime and street gang cases between 1998 and 2003, he frequently heard members of the Bloods speak of Mafia members and customs with admiration. “The Blood guys love mobsters because they’re the old-school gangsters,” he said. “A lot of my Mafia informants in prison would complain that they couldn’t get away from the Bloods’ always following them and fawning over them.”

Thanks to David W. Chen and David Kocienwski

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lucchese Gambling Ring Broken Up

Dozens of alleged members of the Lucchese Crime Family were arrested Tuesday morning in raids in New Jersey and New York that authorities say broke up a major sports betting ring.

Police say the 32 suspects were taken into custody at their homes and are being processed at the West Orange Armory.

They will be arraigned, likely tomorrow, at the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown.

Taken into custody, according to authorities, were the crime family's New Jersey capo, 61-year-old Ralph Perna of East Hanover, as well as several leaders of the New York faction. Also arrested were Ralph's son, Joseph, and 41-year-old Michael Cetta, both of Wyckoff.

Investigators with the New Jersey Attorney General's Office reportedly swooped down on the suspects' homes in Bergen and Morris counties this morning to make the arrests.

Cetta's Wyckoff home was described as a $1.9 million mansion, which investigators were searching this morning. He is a reputed member of the Bonanno crime family, but linked by marriage to the Luccheses.

The suspects were believed to behind a sports betting operation that took in more than $2 billion over the past 15 months. Along with gambling, the suspects are allegedly linked to loan sharking and extortion. Their operation is said to be based in Northern New Jersey and in New York.

Officials say the arrests are the culmination of a year-long investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

Earlier this year, authorities arrested a 56-year-old East Hanover man as part of a Lucchese crime family gambling operation. At that time, the quiet Morris County town was described as a hub for illegal gambling activity run by organized crime.

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