Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fast Cars, Fancy Address and a Host of Charges

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fast Cars, Fancy Address and a Host of Charges

Article excerpt

An accused "high-level" drug trafficker turned himself in.

The 22-year-old bank manager who reportedly worked with him and his partner was fired.

And the North Bergen municipal prosecutor charged with money laundering -- the man who authorities said introduced the traffickers to the manager -- was suspended without pay.

But his lawyer said he expects his client will be able to continue practicing law while his case winds through the legal system.

Such was the continuing fallout Monday from the breakup of what prosecutors described as a multi-pronged drug ring where traffickers lived in a luxury high-rise, drove a Lamborghini and a Rolls-Royce, and allegedly brought hundreds of pounds of California marijuana to the East Coast.

Authorities believe that Anthony Alberga, the assistant manager at the main branch of Bank of New Jersey in Fort Lee, helped Matthew Martin, 43, and Danny Saleh, 34, exchange lower-denomination bills for 100s -- to make it easier for the men to fly to California to buy high-grade pot.

Bank Chairman and CEO Albert F. Buzzetti said in a phone interview Monday that Alberga failed to keep a log of the multiple cash transactions made by the alleged drug dealers, as required under the bank's anti-money-laundering procedures.

"I fired him today. I don't want him in our bank," Buzzetti said. "He was trained properly. He knows what he did, and he shouldn't have done it,"

Alberga, from Cliffside Park, had been working at Bank of New Jersey, which has seven branches, for about five years and was a teller before he was promoted to assistant manager this year, Buzzetti said. Alberga is charged with money laundering and financial facilitation.

The North Bergen prosecutor, Marcantonio "Marc" Macri, is a high- powered Fort Lee attorney whose longtime law partner, Mark Sokolich, is the mayor of Fort Lee. Sokolich visited the bank early Monday to take Macri's name off his business accounts, Buzzetti said.

"He is separating himself from that as far as he can," Buzzetti said.

Sokolich is one of the bank's original investors and sits on its board of directors.

Reached on Monday, Sokolich declined to comment except to reiterate his surprise at his former partner's arrest. "I'm still in a state of shock," he said.

Macri's attorney, Robert Galantucci, appeared in Central Municipal Court in Hackensack on Monday without his client, saying Macri had opted to waive his arraignment -- acceptable when a defendant has been released on bail. Macri is free on $50,000 bail.

"Mr. Macri looks forward to telling his side and we expect that he will be vindicated," Galantucci said after the brief hearing. "He is an attorney with an enormous reputation, well-regarded for his skill and his integrity."

Galantucci said he would contact the state's Office of Attorney Ethics and inform it of the criminal charges, as mandated by law. …

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