Judge: Mob rat's tapes OK

Judge: Mob rat's tapes OK
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A federal judge yesterday denied a motion by reputed mobster Joseph "Big Joe" Scarbrough seeking to throw out of court recordings made by an FBI informant.

Scarbrough's lawyer, Michael Koribanics, argued that the informant, Peter "Petey Cap" Caporino, continued his own criminal activities while working with the FBI for as long as a decade, making the FBI a collaborator in those crimes.

"Scarbrough alleges that CW (confidential witness) paid him various cash 'tributes' in order to be allowed to continue CW's own illegal gambling and loan operation," U.S. District Court Judge William Martini wrote in his decision.

"In addition, Scarbrough alleges that, during the investigation, CW took illegal bets, made illegal loans and paid for dinners attended by Scarbrough and his co-defendants."

Scarbrough, 66, of West Orange, was among a dozen people arrested in a federal racketeering case alleging he oversaw bookmaking and loansharking operations based in Hoboken and Jersey City.

"By all accounts, Scarbrough was engaged in the acts in the indictment long before the government's involvement," Martini wrote in his opinion. "In fact, Scarbrough does not allege otherwise. Scarbrough fails to offer any allegation, in the affidavit or otherwise, showing that the government created the crimes for which he is now charged."

Martini will allow three defendants facing charges with Scarbrough to be tried separately.

"Due to the minor role played by (Michael) Borelli and (Peter) Grecco in the indictment, a substantial danger exists that a jury will not be able to compartmentalize the evidence against these two defendants," Martini wrote.

Both are charged only with engaging in an illegal gambling operation. Scarbrough is charged with directed loansharking, sports bookmaking, numbers and sports gambling, as well as extortion.

The judge also ruled Nicholas Ladagona be tried separately on grounds that his charge of transporting stolen suits across state lines is "entirely different from those crimes charged in the remainder of the indictment."

Opening statements in Scarbrough's trial are set for April 17.

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