The Chicago Syndicate: Martin Taccetta
Showing posts with label Martin Taccetta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Martin Taccetta. 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.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Reputed Gambino Mobster, Andrew Merola, Pleads Guilty

A reputed high-ranking member of the Gambino crime family in New Jersey pleaded guilty to federal racketeering conspiracy charges today, admitting he led a crew that profited from illegal gambling, loan-sharking, extortion, identity theft, fraud and labor racketeering.

Andrew Merola of East Hanover confessed his guilt during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark. He became the 20th defendant to make a deal with prosecutors and plead guilty to charges outlined in a sweeping May 2008 racketeering indictment.

Three remaining defendants, including Martin Taccetta, a reputed former underboss of the Lucchese crime family’s New Jersey faction, are awaiting trial.

Merola, who prosecutors say enjoyed a lavish lifestyle purportedly supported by a job as a crane operator, was among 23 reputed members and associates of the Gambino and Lucchese crime families accused in 2008 if engaging in what the FBI called a “veritable smorgasbord of criminal activity.”

The defendants were accused of shaking down lunch-truck operators, putting mobsters in no-show jobs, using union muscle to collect bribes to allow non-union workers on construction sites and raking in hefty profits from bettors who wagered more than $1 million a month.

In his plea, Merola acknowledged those crimes and also admitted his crew targeted retailers, including a Lowe’s home improvement store in Paterson, where conspirators bought high-ticket power tools, wide-screen televisions and appliances by switching bar code labels from less expensive items and then returning the products for refunds or gift cards. With an insider’s help, they also attempted to steal the identities of patrons who applied for Lowe’s credit cards, Merola said.

Wearing a pin-stripped charcoal suit, Merola declined comment after the hearing, except to say that he is not cooperating with the government. Under the terms of his plea deal, he faces 10 to 12 years in prison. A sentencing date was not immediately set.

Thanks to Peter J. Sampson

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reputed Mob Underboss Summoned to Court

Martin Taccetta, a reputed former underboss of the Lucchese crime family’s New Jersey faction, has been summoned to a Newark courtroom next week to possibly resolve the charges pending against him in a mob case that has resulted in the convictions of 19 others.

U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler signed an order last week directing the warden of New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, where Taccetta is currently incarcerated, to have him brought before the judge for a plea hearing on Tuesday. But Taccetta apparently has not signed off on a plea deal.

“All I can tell you is that there were plea negotiations and its Mr. Taccetta’s position at this point that he’s not going to plea guilty of anything,” his attorney, Maria Noto, said Thursday. “He maintains his innocence.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald D. Wigler, who is prosecuting the case, declined to comment Thursday on the negotiations or the scheduled plea hearing.

Taccetta, 58, of East Hanover, was among 23 reputed members and associates of the Gambino and Lucchese crime families indicted in May 2008 on charges of engaging in what the FBI called a “veritable smorgasbord of criminal activity” – illegal gambling, loan-sharking, extortion, identity theft, fraud and labor racketeering.

The defendants were accused of shaking down lunch truck operators, putting mobsters in no-show jobs, using union muscle to collect bribes to allow non-union workers on construction sites and raking in hefty profits from bettors who wagered more than $1 million a month.

The mob also allegedly targeted a Lowe’s home improvement store in Paterson, where conspirators bought high-ticket power tools and appliances by switching bar code labels from less expensive items and attempted to steal the identities of patrons who applied for Lowe’s credit cards.

Taccetta was charged in only three of the 30 counts in the indictment. He was accused of conspiring to use extortion to collect a loan from an unidentified debtor. He also charged with conspiring with the lead defendant, Andrew Merola, and others to demand and receive about $20,000 in unlawful labor payments to allow non-union labor on a construction project at a Morristown BMW dealership in 2007.

Merola, 42, of East Hanover, is among the defendants still in the case. He is identified in the indictment as one of the Gambino crime family’s highest ranking members in New Jersey and is accused of overseeing a mob crew that profited from gambling, loan-sharking, extortion and labor racketeering.

Also awaiting trial are Edward Deak, 45, of Secaucus, an alleged “gambling agent” charged with one count of operating an illegal gambling business, and Kyle Ragusa, 42, of East Hanover, an alleged associate and member of Merola’s crew, charged with racketeering, operating a gambling business, loan-sharking and wire-fraud.

Taccetta had been under house arrest until July when the New Jersey Supreme Court reinstated his sentence of life plus 10 years in prison in a 1993 state case in which Taccetta was convicted of racketeering and extortion but acquitted of murder in the golf-club beating death of an Ocean County businessman.

Noto said the reinstated life sentence was “the reason I was in negotiations at all, but at this point there is no plea agreement.”

Thanks to Peter J. Sampson

Friday, May 09, 2008

Reputed High-Ranking Gambino Figure Among 23 Named in Racketeering Indictment

A man the feds call one of the highest-ranking members of the Gambino crime family in New Jersey was among 23 people named Thursday in a racketeering indictment.

Andrew Merola, 41, of East Hanover was arrested and charged in an 82-page indictment with more than 20 counts that include running an illegal gambling ring, racketeering and extortion, among other charges.

Of the 23 people named in the indictment, 10 were arrested Thursday; the other 13 were issued summonses to appear in court.

Weysan Dun, the special agent in charge of the FBI in New Jersey, said all 23 people named in the indictment are reputed members and associates of Mafia factions. Also picked up in the sweep were Charles Muccigrosso, 68, of Newark, whom the FBI also described as a high-ranking Gambino crime family member, and Martin Taccetta, 56, of East Hanover, a reputed Lucchese crime family member who was granted a retrial in state court over a brutal 1980s murder.

Dun said the arrests were the result of a nearly two-year investigation. He said the bust would deal a significant blow to the Gambino crime family, coming on the heels of a large bust in New York that netted dozens of Gambino figures in February.

"Those out there in the 'wiseguy' community that think that crime pays: Forget about it," Dun said.

Some of the alleged schemes outlined in the indictment include manipulating union contract bidding; defrauding the chain store Lowe's by manufacturing fake bar codes to buy expensive power tools for pennies on the dollar, and rigging union jobs and construction contracts to force coffee cart vendors to pay kickbacks for being allowed to park their lunch trucks at construction sites.

Dun said that although the charges didn't involve physical violence, they were serious crimes that hurt honest working people.

"The message I hope organized crime families take from this is if they think law enforcement's focus on organized crime has diminished, you can be assured that we'll come after you," he said.

Thanks to Samantha Henry

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