Mob Leader Gets Life; Others Plead Guilty
TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) _ A ranking member of the Lucchese crime family was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday, and two fellow leaders pleaded guilty to taking part in a slew of mob murders going back two decades.
″This ends the long reign of a very violent, sophisticated crime group in the state of New Jersey,″ said state prosecutor Robert Carroll. ″The family’s decimated.″
Martin Taccetta, 42, was sentenced on his August convictions for racketeering and extortion of a Lakewood video poker machine company.
Taccetta’s attorney, David Ruhnke, had argued for a lighter sentence, but Superior Court Judge Manuel Greenberg said Taccetta ″has devoted himself to a life of crime.″
Taccetta, his 46-year-old brother, Michael, longtime Lucchese boss Anthony ″Tumac″ Accetturo, 54, and Thomas Ricciardi, 42, were convicted in August on state charges of extorting about $146,000 a year from SMS Manufacturing Corp.
Ricciardi also was convicted of the 1984 golf-club beating death of Vincent ″Jimmy Sinatra″ Craparotta, whose nephews owned SMS Manufacturing.
Accetturo, who ran the New Jersey Lucchese organization from self-exile in Florida, and Ricciardi are cooperating with authorities in hopes of reduced sentences and protection.
Information from the pair and other mob defectors led to Tuesday’s guilty pleas by Michael Taccetta, who headed the New Jersey branch of the family in Accetturo’s absence, and Michael Perna, 51, who was caretaker when Taccetta was in prison.
Under a plea agreement with the state, Michael Taccetta and Perna pleaded guilty to 20 years of racketeering through extortion, illegal gambling enterprises, loan-sharking, murder, drug trafficking, bribery and jury tampering.
The two also admitted involvement in a total of 10 murders, including Craparotta’s slaying. In addition, Perna pleaded guilty to plotting to kill another seven men, including Ricciardi and Accetturo.
The state agreement calls for sentences of 25 years for each defendant, to run concurrently with federal sentences. Sentencing was set for Dec. 3 on the federal charges and Dec. 16 on state charges.
In federal court last month, Taccetta and Perna pleaded guilty to corrupting the Newark Sanitation Department, plotting in 10 murders and trying to bribe jurors in a two-year federal trial of 20 members of the Lucchese family that ended in acquittals for all.