38 Alleged Mobsters Indicted on Racketeering Charges In New Jersey
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ A state grand jury on Thursday returned racketeering indictments against 38 reputed mobsters, including Nicodemo Scarfo Sr., who authorities say directs an organized crime family from his prison cell.
They were charged with racketeering conspiracy, theft by extortion, commercial bribery, gambling, bookmaking, loansharking, drug offenses, criminal usury and distribution of illegal video machines, said state Attorney General Robert Del Tufo.
Del Tufo said the seven top members of the Bruno-Scarfo family were named, including Nicodemo Scarfo Jr. Also indicted was John Riggi, the reputed head of New Jersey’s DeCavalcante family, and reputed members of the New York-based Gambino, Colombo, Lucchese and Genovese organizations.
″This will have a very significant impact on organized crime in New Jersey,″ Del Tufo said at a news conference with State Police Superintendent Col. Justin Dintino. ″The charges, if proved, will have a dramatic crippling effect on the Bruno-Scarfo family.″
All the defendants named in the indictment except the elder Scarfo were arrested Aug. 21 with four other reputed mobsters, who were not named in the indictment. Officials said the investigations into the other four were continuing.
The charges were the result of a yearlong investigation based on information from George Fresolone, a 10-year associate of the Bruno-Scarfo family, authorities said.
Fresolone reportedly taped nearly 400 conversations with members and associates of the various crime families, detailing how the Mafia families cooperated with each other and shared their illicit gains.
Fresolone, who’s in hiding, recorded the conversations from August 1989 until late last summer, when he was initiated into the Bruno-Scarfo family.
Authorities say the elder Scarfo, is serving 69 years in a maximum security prison in Marion, Ill., for murder and execution. He allegedly maintains his grip on the southern New Jersey- and Philadelphia-based crime family through his son.
Officials said the state brought additional charges against the elder Scarfo to weaken his grip on the crime family.
″The Scarfo family has been seriously weakened,″ Dintino said, ″but they’re not dead. I compare them to the Iraqi army. They’re defeated but they’re still surviving.″
The elder Scarfo faces up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted. His 25-year-old son faces a maximum sentence of 33 years in prison and a $325,000 fine if he is found guilty of the charges.
Arraignments were set for the first week of April.