Jury Hands Up Racketeering Indictment
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A federal grand jury has charged 21 people with crimes ranging from drug trafficking to the beating of a record distributor who owed $1.2 million to a major record company, authorities said Tuesday.
The 117-count indictment was the result of a two-year investigation that began with a gambling probe in Union County. The defendants include four with alleged organized crime ties and a former Maryland state representative.
The victim of the beating, John Lamonte of Darby, Pa., is now in the federal witness relocation program.
Lamonte’s record distributorship, Out of the Past Ltd., had bought more than 4 million former hit records and cassettes from MCA Records Inc. of Universal City, Calif., authorities said.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Greelish said Morris Levy, 59, of New York City, owner and president of Roulette Records, had an arrangement with MCA to collect the $1.2 million from Lamonte.
Lamonte balked at paying because many of the top records he ordered were missing from the 60-truckload delivery, Greelish said. In May 1985, Lamonte was beaten and his jaw broken by Gaetano Vastola, 58, of Colts Neck, N.J., Greelish alleged.
Greelish said Vastola was considered by Levy to be responsible for making sure Lamonte paid the MCA bill.
In the fall of 1985, Vastola’s organization took over Lamonte’s business after he continued to refuse to pay, Greelish said.
Federal authorities said there were no allegations that MCA was involved in any wrongdoing. A call to MCA offices in California was not returned Tuesday.
Vastola was charged with racketeering, extortion, loansharking, wire fraud, narcotics violations, firearms violations and conspiracy. Levy was charged with extortion.
The indictment also charged two other men - Dominick Canterino, 56, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who state police have identified as a soldier in the Genovese organized crime family, and Howard Fisher, 61, of Lawrence, N.Y., Roulette’s controller - with extortion in connection with the Lamonte matter.
Others charged include George Santoni, 47, of Cockeysville, Md., a former member of the Maryland House of Representatives, and two other alleged soldiers in the DeCavalcante crime family, Rudolph Farone, 57, of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Charles Majuri, 43, of Linden, N.J. They are charged with racketeering.
Santoni’s role, Greelish alleged, was to arrange for the transportation of heroin and cocaine from Maryland to New Jersey.
Santoni served 43 months in prison after a 1977 federal extortion conviction. He was sentenced to a one-year term in 1978 after being convicted of conspiring to transport stolen goods across state lines.
Santoni was identified in the indictment as a major participant in the Vastola organization’s narcotics trafficking activities and in a scheme to defraud the Western Union Telephone Co. by the unauthorized use of its long- distance telephone codes.
Santoni served as a liaison between the Vastola organization and criminal groups in the Baltimore area, the indictment alleged.