- Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal
Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced
that the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice
has taken custody of a fugitive who allegedly
ran a Costa Rican “wire room”
where the Lucchese crime family processed
billions of dollars in illegal wagers on sporting
events. The U.S. Marshals Service returned
Frank Cetta to New Jersey from Costa Rica
late last week, and he had a first appearance
in court this morning.
to Director Taylor, Cetta, 73, of Las Vegas,
Nevada, was flown from Costa Rica to New
Jersey, where U.S. Marshals turned him over
to detectives of the Division of Criminal
Justice on Friday, Dec. 23. The New Jersey
State Police Fugitive Unit initially developed
information about Cetta’s location,
which the Division of Criminal Justice referred
to the U.S. Marshals Service for the District
of New Jersey. Cetta was arrested by authorities
in Costa Rica on Dec. 5. He was transferred
to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
was in court this morning for a first appearance
before Superior Court Judge Philip J. Maenza
in Morris County. Supervising Deputy Attorney
General Mark Eliades, Chief of the Division
of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized
Crime Bureau, is prosecuting the case and
represented the state at the first appearance.
Judge Maenza set bail for Cetta at $350,000,
full bail required, and Cetta was lodged
in the Morris County Jail. The judge ordered
that if Cetta posts bail, he must surrender
his U.S. passport, submit to a bail source
hearing, and execute a waiver of extradition.
Cetta is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan.
3 at 9 a.m. before Superior Court Judge
Thomas V. Manahan in Morris County.
was named in a May 14, 2010 state grand
jury indictment obtained by the New Jersey
Division of Criminal Justice that charged
two ruling members of the Lucchese crime
family in New York, Joseph DiNapoli and
Matthew Madonna, as well as 32 other alleged
members and associates of the crime family.
All of the defendants were indicted on first-degree
charges of racketeering, conspiracy and
money laundering. The indictment stemmed
from Operation Heat, an investigation by
the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs &
Organized Crime Bureau.
crime cannot evade our determined efforts,
not even by hiding in Central America,”
said Attorney General Dow. “Frank
Cetta is charged with crimes that reached
from Costa Rica to New Jersey. We’ve
demonstrated that the reach of justice is
equally long. We are grateful to the U.S.
Marshals Service for their efforts in apprehending
Cetta allegedly was responsible for minding
the store in Costa Rica for the Lucchese
crime family, making sure things ran smoothly
at the offshore hub of their multi-billion
dollar gambling operation,” said Director
Taylor. “With the aid of the U.S.
Marshals Service and Costa Rican authorities,
we have brought him to New Jersey to face
allegedly supervised a wire room in San
Jose, Costa Rica, where up to 20 people
worked at a time, taking bets by phone and
processing online wagers for the Luchese
crime family’s gambling operation.
In May 2010, the Division of Criminal Justice
arrested and charged another fugitive in
the case, Brian Ronald Cohen, 63, of Buffalo,
N.Y., who allegedly ran the gambling operation’s
Web site and the technical aspects of the
Costa Rican wire room.
General Dow and Director Taylor thanked
the U.S. Marshals Service and Costa Rican
authorities for their assistance.
indictment in Operation Heat also charged
alleged top New Jersey capos Ralph V. Perna
and Nicodemo Scarfo Jr. Details of the indictment
are provided in the May 14, 2010 press release