Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fifteen accused N.J. mob members and associates all plead not guilty in one of largest FBI Mafia takedowns

Sam DeCavalcanteFifteen New Jersey defendants pleaded not guilty today to racketeering conspiracy and other charges in federal court in Newark.
The defendants were arrested in January as part of a massive federal roundup of more than 120 suspects in what authorities touted as the largest federal mob roundup in history.
All were arrested Jan. 20 when federal authorities rolled out a series of early morning raids — spanning from Brooklyn to New Jersey — nabbing more than 120 alleged members and associates of seven organized-crime families.
Charges against those arrested ranged from murder to loan-sharking — and involved some crimes dating back 20 years or more. Sixteen indictments were handed down, based on investigations in New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
Justice Department officials said that those charged were connected to all five New York-based crime families: the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese families, along with the New Jersey-based Decavalcante family and New England’s Patriarca crime family.
Most of the New Jersey defendants were linked to the waterfront. The defendants include current or former union officials on the docks with alleged ties to organized crime figures. 
In a 53-count indictment, the New Jersey defendants were variously charged with racketeering conspiracy, bookmaking, extortionate collection of credit and illegal gambling. Some of the defendants were charged with collecting "Christmas tribute" money from dockworkers after they received annual year-end bonuses. Prosecutors described the tribute money as mob kickbacks.
Two defense attorneys involved in the case said today that their clients are innocent and ready to go to trial.
"It’s a trial all the way," said Joseph Hayden, who represents Albert Cernadas Sr. "He’s emotionally sound and ready to fight."
Cernadas served as both executive vice president of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and president of ILA Local 1235 in Newark.
Cernadas is charged with racketeering conspiracy — including conspiring to extort ILA members on the New Jersey piers — bookmaking, extortionate collection of credit, and illegal gambling.
Sarita Kedia, attorney for Stephen Depiro, 55, of Kenilworth, who is listed at the top of the federal indictment, said: "I think this is going to be a fairly lengthy proceeding," and added, "I believe the allegations against [my client] are entirely unfounded." Depiro is also charged with racketeering conspiracy, bookmaking, extortionate collection of credit, and illegal gambling.
Due to the number of defendants and the complexity of the case, U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh said that he would not set a trial date for at least six months.



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