- Attorney General Paula T. Dow, Criminal
Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor and Commissioner
Ronald Goldstock of the Waterfront Commission
of New York Harbor announced that a top
official of the International Longshoremen’s
Association, a Newark police officer and
a third man were indicted today in connection
with an investigation into an alleged scheme
to extort money from dock workers by demanding
“tribute” for better jobs and
indictment stems from Operation Terminal,
an ongoing investigation by the New Jersey
Division of Criminal Justice and the Waterfront
Commission of New York Harbor into the activities
of a criminal enterprise that allegedly
has exercised control and corrupt influence
over International Longshoremen’s
Association (ILA) locals operating shipping
terminals at the Port of New York and New
Jersey. Three other defendants were indicted
to Director Taylor, the state grand jury
indictment obtained by the Division of Criminal
Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau
charges Nunzio LaGrasso, 60, of Florham
Park, Secretary-Treasurer of ILA Local #1478.
LaGrasso is Vice President of the Atlantic
Coast District of all ILA locals. The indictment
also charges Rocco Ferrandino, 68, of Lakewood,
and LaGrasso’s nephew, Newark Police
Officer Alan Marfia, 39, of Kenilworth.
is charged with two counts of conspiracy
(2nd degree), and one count each of extortion
(2nd degree), commercial bribery (2nd degree),
official misconduct (2nd degree), and money
laundering (3rd degree). Ferrandino, a timekeeper
at Maher Terminal in Port Newark/Elizabeth,
is charged with conspiracy (2nd degree),
extortion (2nd degree), commercial bribery
(2nd degree), and money laundering (3rd
degree). Marfia is charged with conspiracy
(2nd degree), official misconduct (2nd degree)
and obstruction of law or governmental function
and Ferrandino were charged in connection
with the alleged tribute scheme. Marfia
was charged for allegedly using his access
to police databases to obtain information
for LaGrasso regarding undercover police
vehicles that were conducting surveillance
near his union office.
investigation into the alleged criminal
enterprise at the New Jersey waterfront
revealed that ILA members working at the
shipping terminals are required to make
a cash “tribute” payment at
Christmas time each year to the enterprise
out of the year-end bonuses each ILA member
receives called “container royalty
is alleged that those payments are funneled
to the criminal enterprise through LaGrasso.
The payments must be made for union members
to receive high-paying jobs, preferred shift
assignments and overtime, all as determined
under the influence of the criminal enterprise.
Each of the thousands of union members allegedly
must make a payment that typically ranges
from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple
of thousand dollars depending on the size
of the container royalty check. It is alleged
that LaGrasso collected some tribute payments
directly, but usually relied on accomplices
such as Ferrandino to collect them.
a result of the investigation, the Division
of Criminal Justice obtained an indictment
on Oct. 26, 2010, charging Joseph Queli,
64, of Wall, and Nicholas Bergamotto, 63,
of Newark, with loansharking and money laundering.
Queli’s wife, Regina Queli, 62, was
charged with money laundering and tax evasion
for allegedly handling criminal proceeds
and failing to report them on tax returns.
The indictment was sealed until Jan. 10,
2011 because of the ongoing investigation.
is alleged that as part of the criminal
enterprise at the Port, Queli made loans
to ILA members at usurious interest rates,
ranging from 78 to 156 percent per year.
Queli or Bergamotto, acting on his behalf,
would allegedly demand weekly payments from
the union members of 1 ½ to 3 percent
interest on the loan amount.
allegedly gave the money he collected on
such loans to Queli. Queli is also charged
in the indictment with theft by extortion
because he allegedly threatened bodily injury
to one man if he did not make his loan payments.
Ferrandino, Marfia, Queli and Bergamotto
were initially arrested and charged in the
investigation in April 2010. All five men
remain free on bail.
crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years
in state prison and a $150,000 fine, while
third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence
of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence
of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
indictment is merely an accusation and the
defendants are presumed innocent until proven
guilty. The indictment was handed up to
Superior Court Judge Pedro J. Jimenez Jr.
in Mercer County, who assigned the case
to Monmouth County. It is posted with this
release at www.njpublicsafety.com.
Deputy Attorney General Mark Eliades, Chief
of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs
& Organized Crime Bureau, and Deputy
Attorney General Erin Callahan presented
the case to the state grand jury. The Division
of Criminal Justice and the Waterfront Commission
were assisted in the investigation by the
Newark Police Department.
Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest
port complex located on the East Coast of
North America. Roughly $200 billion in cargo
moves through the port each year. Through
the years, the New Jersey Division of Criminal
Justice and the Waterfront Commission have
conducted investigations into the activities
of organized crime in and around the port.
Past investigations have led to prosecution
of union officials and members of the Genovese
crime family, which has been found to control
or exert significant influence over the
ILA and commercial activity at the waterfront.
Their criminal activities have included
extortion, fencing, commercial bribery,
loansharking and gambling.