genovese crime family associate admits racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2013
NEWARK, N.J. – An Ocean County, N.J. man who is a reputed associate of the Genovese Crime Family today admitted his role in a racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion scheme and agreed to forfeit $400,000 to the United States, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
John Breheney, a/k/a “Fu,” 49, of Little Egg Harbor, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to an information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, statute, by participating in the activities of the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra through a pattern of racketeering activity and through the collection of unlawful debt.
Breheney and 11others alleged to be members or associates of the Genovese Crime Family were arrested on May 22, 2012, and charged by complaint. The racketeering activities consisted of engaging in an illegal sports betting business conducted, in part, through an offshore website, and cargo theft. Breheney admitted that he earned income through his criminal activities and then concealed this income from the IRS by making false tax returns and failing to pay taxes on this income.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made court:
Breheney was an associate of the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra. This alleged criminal enterprise through smaller groups, sometimes referred to as “crews,” that engaged in a variety of criminal activities in northern New Jersey and elsewhere. Each crew was headed by a “captain,” “capo,” or “skipper.” Each captain’s crew consisted of “soldiers” and “associates.” The captain was responsible for supervising the criminal activities of his crew and providing the crew with support and protection. In return, the captain often received a share of the crew’s earnings.
Joseph Lascala, 81, of Monroe, N.J., was an alleged “capo” and a made member of the Genovese Crime Family, directing various criminal activities of a group of associates referred to in the criminal complaint as the “Lascala Crew.” These activities included the theft of goods and cargo, the receipt of stolen property in interstate commerce, extortion, illegal gambling, and the collection of unlawful debt. Breheney reported to Lascala and his underlings.
Members and associates of the Lascala Crew and others conspired with individuals who owned and operated an offshore website to run an illegal gambling business that operated in northern New Jersey and elsewhere.
High-level associates of the Lascala Crew, such as Breheney, acted as “agents” of the business. Before the advent of computerized betting, these agents would be referred to as “bookmakers” or “bookies.” Through the use of a username and password, the agents accessed the Website and tracked the bets or wagers placed by bettors. This “electronic portfolio” was referred to as the agent’s “package.” After bettors received their own username and password from the agent or sub-agent, they placed bets, usually on sporting events. The bettors, however, did not use a credit card to either access the website or to pay gambling losses or to receive gambling winnings. Instead, the bettors either paid money for losses to, or received money for winnings from, the agent, such as Breheney, his sub-agent, or their conspirators in New Jersey. If a bettor was unable or unwilling to repay gambling losses, then the agent or sub-agent converted these losses in debts that the bettor was required to repay. The agent or sub-agent often tacked exorbitant amounts of interest onto these debts and they used extortionate means to collect these debts, including the express or veiled threat that the agent, sub-agent, or their co-conspirators had the backing of the Genovese Crime Family.
The Lascala Crew also profited by operating social clubs in northern New Jersey and elsewhere where members and associates profited through card games and other illegal games of chance. In addition, they also profited by engaging in cargo theft and the receipt and sale of stolen goods in interstate commerce.
Breheney admitted that he conspired with this criminal enterprise to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, including illegal gambling and theft from interstate shipments, and the collection of unlawful debt. He also admitted that he failed to report approximately $101,166 in taxable income that he had received in 2007 and thus cheated the IRS out of approximately
$30,982 in taxes in that year. Finally, Breheney agreed to a forfeiture money judgment of $400,000, representing money he had derived through his participation in the racketeering activities.
The racketeering count to which Breheney pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, and the tax evasion charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; the Special Investigations Unit of the Bayonne Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ralph Scianni; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen; the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Rick Fuentes; and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, with the investigation leading to today’s arrests. He also thanked the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the N.J. State Commission of Investigation, for their significant contributions to the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Serina M. Vash, of the National Security Unit, and Anthony Moscato of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
As for other alleged members of the Lascala Crew, the charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense Counsel: Anthony J. Pope, Jr. Esq. Newark