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.

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