Mob Boss Sentenced To 14 Years Joseph Licata Admitted Having Headed A Loan-sharking And Gambling Ring In The '80s.

Posted: February 11, 1994

Mob leader Joseph Licata, who, authorities charge, headed the North Jersey branch of the Nicodemo Scarfo crime family, was sentenced to 14 years in prison yesterday.

Licata had admitted heading a loan-sharking and gambling ring for the Scarfo organization in the late 1980s.

Camden County Superior Court Judge Isaiah Steinberg imposed consecutive seven-year sentences on Licata, 52, who had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and to being a leader of organized crime.

Licata, who was sentenced to 37 months in prison on a federal gambling charge last week, was not in court yesterday. A court official said Licata was en route to a federal prison at the time.

Steinberg ordered that Licata's state sentence run concurrently with his federal prison term.

Licata pleaded guilty prior to the start of his trial in Camden County Superior Court last summer. Five other defendants, including Scarfo's son, Nicodemo Jr., also entered guilty pleas in the case, which centered around mob-run bookmaking, loan sharking and card games in the Newark area and a conspiracy to sell and distribute illegal video-poker machines.

One other defendant, Anthony "Tony Buck" Piccolo, pleaded not guilty. Piccolo's trial, which began in September, also before Steinberg, is set to resume in June, pending the outcome of several motions for mistrial now before the state Appellate Court.

Licata has been described by state and federal law-enforcement authorities as a major gambling operative for the mob. His federal gambling charge stemmed

from what prosecutors said was one of the largest mob-run sports-betting rings in the country.

Authorities said the bookmaking operation, which was separate from the gambling ring described in the state case, took millions of dollars in bets each week during the football season and generated annual profits of between $5 million and $6 million.

A one-time acting capo, or captain, in the Newark-based branch of the Scarfo organization, Licata was one of 38 alleged mob members and associates indicted in 1991 in a New Jersey State Police undercover operation dubbed ''Broadsword."

The investigation, which began in 1989 and ended in August 1990, was set in motion when George Fresolone, a member of the Newark branch of the Scarfo family, agreed to cooperate. Fresolone secretly recorded more than 400 phone calls and conversations with his mob associates.

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