Sunday, June 26, 2016

Operation Jersey Boyz

Operation Jersey Boyz is what the Bergen County Prosecutor's office called their massive gambling bust in December of 2004.  It looks just like any number of busts that go every year for bookmaking.  It included mobsters from the Genovese, Bonanno,Gambino and Lucchese Family.

The operation started when the prosecutor's office started investigating Cafe Roma, a small Italian dessert shop.  They found out that it was part of a multi-crime family bookmaking operation that took in $300k each week with over 12,000 active bettors.

Joseph “The Eagle” Gatto, a Genovese soldier, ran the bookmaking enterprise as well as the Catalina Wire Room in Costa Rica.  He is the son of Louis “Streaky” Gatto a legendary Genovese soldier who was a favorite of Chin Gigante.  

They arrested 40 people and confiscated more than a million in cash. One of the men arrested was Frank P. Lagano, who was the Lucchese Family point man in the operation.  They seized $200,000 from his home and safety deposit box.

Lagano soon became an informant. He was close with a man named Michael Mordaga, a respected member of law enforcement in New Jersey.  Michael was in the Bergen Prosecutor's office when Lagano was arrested.

In April of 2007 Lagano was shot in the head in front of his diner.

The Lagano family filed a federal court lawsuit against the Bergen prosecutor's office that claims Lagano had business dealings with Michael Mordaga before he was busted for gambling.

If it was just a wiseguy’s family filing suit, this would not be a big deal.  

James Sweeney worked as an organized crime investigator for the state of New Jersey for 44 years.  He also handled Lagano until he was murdered.  

He let his superiors know that the Bergen prosecutor's office had some corruption inside it.

He detailed some of Lagano and Michael Mordaga’s dealings.  Lagano lent Mordaga money for business deals and they vacationed together.  After Lagano was arrested in the gambling case, Mordaga allegedly called Lagano into his office and told him to hire a certain defense attorney and to give him a $25k retainer.  He also told him 90% of his problems would go away.  Their friendship soon went bad after this.
The case has been winding its way through the system with the State of New Jersey trying to get it thrown out.  There is more evidence coming forward that Michael Mordaga pushed other business to a law firm.

Who murdered Frank Lagano?  The Lucchese family, like all of the mafia, has a lot of informants.  How has this stayed a secret for 9 years?  Unless the mafia did not murder him.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Persico Life

I heard from a friend this week that Daniel “Danny” Persico passed away.  I've called Danny a few names over the years, but he was not a bad guy.  I remember the last time I saw Danny I was in Aero in Brooklyn. Danny was at the bar and he asked me if I wanted to go to the Blue Zoo.  I went, and that was the last time I would be on that street.  

Danny is the son of Colombo Capo Theodore Persico Sr., who is the brother of the boss Carmine “The Snake” Persico. Danny’s brothers were Carmine, Sean and Teddy Jr.

Danny was the one who helped set up the limo ride for his brother Teddy when he was released from Greenhaven after 17 years.  

Danny was also the person Teddy called on the phone when we were on the way to his mother's home to get his gear.  

Danny was indicted in a pump and dump stock case in 2000. He was involved with White Rock Partners and State Street Capital Markets, two firms which pumped up the value of penny stocks.  Investors lost 40 million dollars in the scams.

Danny used to work hard as a kid.  He always had a job.  He was good at sports and he loved them.  It was only after his brother Teddy went away that he started frequenting the bars.

A lot of people think life in the mafia is glamorous.  It is not.  Danny never really had a chance to make the most of his life.

Theodore Persico Sr., his father, went away for 22 years and was only recently released.  Danny’s brother Teddy just took a deal for 12 years in prison.  His brother Carmine has been in the system for years.  Allie Boy Persico is away for life for ordering the murder of Wild Bill Cutolo and other crimes.

Carmine “The Snake” Persico, at 82 years old, the only defendant left from the Commission Case, is still incarcerated.

He filed a motion for a sentence reduction based on some newly received information from the FBI.  Carmine has been away 31 years but he still is the boss of the family, so let's see how the FBI and the Judge react to his motion.

He kept control through the war in the 1990’s when Vic Orena and Wild Bill Cutolo tried to break away and take over the family.  Allie Boy took over and since he went away the family has been run by panels of capos and street bosses that ultimately answer to Carmine.

Carmine’s son Michael Persico, who for a long time portrayed himself as a legitimate businessman, is facing some time away.  Michael keeps trying to put off his sentencing and take back his plea.  He better be careful, this is ground his father covered and he ended up with a long sentence.

Carmine may live and get out. What is left?  The streets have changed.  Teddy Jr., who I liked, will get out - but will he change?

“What are you going to do, put me in jail? I don't own nothing. I got no wife, I got no kids. I can act like a fool. ” Teddy Persico Jr

RIP Danny Persico