Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Prison for Wyckoff Mobster, Relatives

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Prison for Wyckoff Mobster, Relatives

Article excerpt

TRENTON -- A high-ranking member of the Joseph Lucchese crime family and two of his sons -- including a 46-year-old Wyckoff man -- were sentenced to prison Thursday for their parts in an international criminal gambling scheme, authorities said.

The three were identified as Ralph V. Perna, 69, of East Hanover, and his sons, John G. Perna, 38, of West Caldwell and Joseph M. Perna, 46, of Wyckoff.

State Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent in Morristown sentenced the father to eight years in state prison and the two sons to 10 years each, acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said in a release.

Hoffman said the sentences are a culmination of "Operation Heat," an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice that uncovered a gambling enterprise nearly a decade ago involving billions of dollars that relied on extortion and violence to collect debts.

The Pernas were among six top members of the Lucchese crime family who pleaded guilty last June to racketeering charges, Hoffman said.

The others included John Mangrella, 73, of Clifton, a senior member of the Lucchese crime family, who was sentenced in October to eight years in state prison, Hoffman said.

Martin Taccetta, 64, of East Hanover, the former New Jersey underboss for organization, who was sentenced to eight years, already was serving a sentence of life plus 10 years as a result of a prosecution in the 1990s.

The third man sentenced earlier is Matthew Madonna, 80, of Seldon, N.Y., a member of the three-man ruling panel of the Lucchese crime family, who was given five years in state prison.

"Operation Heat exposed a multibillion-dollar criminal gambling enterprise and underscored the fact that traditional organized crime remains a corrosive presence in New Jersey," Hoffman said.

Elie Honig, director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice said that "putting this top New Jersey capo behind bars along with two of his sons represents another red-letter day for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice in its decades-long tradition of fighting organized crime."

"We're proud of that strong tradition, and we're letting these mob bosses know that we intend to keep it strong," Honig added. …

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