New Milford Man, 12 Others Charged In Mafia Racketeering Conspiracy
Federal authorities alleged that Jose Gotay, 74, of New Milford, operated a warehouse in Jersey City that the Genovese Crime Family used to store stolen goods – including wine, televisions and bed sheets.
A reputed captain in the Genovese Crime Family and 12 alleged family associates were slapped with racketeering conspiracy charges Tuesday in connection with an off-shore gambling operation, authorities said.
Joseph Lascala, 80, of Monroe, who authorities said is a captain in the Genovese family, ran a New Jersey crew that committed criminal acts ranging from cargo theft and extortion to gambling and loansharking, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.
Lascala and his crew used the website Beteagle.com to run their gambling operation in North Jersey, authorities said. So-called “agents” – the modern term for a bookie – were issued a username and password, which they used to track “packages” of bets on the site, authorities said.
The agents maintained their own stable of bettors and shared their profits with Lascala, authorities allege in the federal complaint.
Betters were assigned usernames – such as “Shark,” “Colt” or “Ace” – and used the site or phone to make bets. Unlike similar sites, however, the bettors did not pay with a credit card, but made in-person payments instead, authorities said.
If bettors were unwilling or unable to pay, authorities allege, the losses were converted into debts that were tacked with exorbitant interest rates, authorities allege.
The website – like many other alleged mob gambling sites – was maintained in Costa Rica.
The complaint also alleges that Lascala’s crew operates social clubs in North Jersey, in which the crew profits from card games and other illegal games of chance.
“The acts alleged in this criminal complaint show that traditional organized crime continues to pursue its bread and butter – illegal gambling, loan-sharking and cargo theft,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “The new wrinkle here is the use of off-shore sites and the Internet for processing bets. Law enforcement will use countermeasures that are just as sophisticated to bring these criminal enterprises to justice.”
Charged in the racketeering conspiracy were:
Joseph “Pepe” Lascala, 80, of Monroe
Patsy “Uncle Patsy” Pirozzi, 72, of Suffern, N.Y.
John “Johnny Fugazi” Breheney, 47, of Little Egg Harbor
Eric “EP” Patten, 35, of Bayonne
Franklin “The Flea” Militello*, 71, no hometown given
Mark Sanzo, 53, of Bayonne
Robert “Worm” Scerbo, 54, of Bayonne
William “Willie” Bruder, 42, no hometown given
Michael “Mikey O” O’Donnell, 48, of Wall
Salvatore Turchio, 44, of Little Egg Harbor
Jose Gotay, 74, of New Milford
Joseph “Joe Graz” Graziano, 75, of Springfield
Dominick “Harpo” Barone, 42, of Springfield
Authorities said that Pirozzi was Lascala’s “right-hand man.” They allege that Gotay, of New Milford, operated a warehouse in Jersey City that the crew used to store stolen goods – including wine, televisions and bed sheets. The crew referred to the merchandise as S.W.A.G., short for Stolen Without A Gun.
Graziano and Barone allegedly ran the Costa Rica-based website.
The racketeering conspiracy charges carry a maximum term of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
Also arrested was Kenneth Baran, 49, of Bayonne, who was not named in the racketeering conspiracy, but was charged with transmission of wagering information.