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Imprisoned Upper Saddle River mobster sentenced on weapons charge

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

ANOTHER CVP SCOOP: An imprisoned Genovese family underboss from Upper Saddle River likely won’t get additional time after pleading guilty today to a single charge of having a defaced firearm in  his home, following a raid in which authorities said they found an arsenal of illegal guns, some with the serial numbers scraped off.

Frank Fea, 72, has been serving a 30-month sentence at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) in Pennsylvania for running a gambling and loan-sharking ring out of Rockland with his son and daughter-in-law.

An extended hearing that moved between judges today led to the agreement, under which Fea would be eligible for state parole in a year while serving an 18-month sentence concurrently with the federal term, in exhange for pleading guilty to a single count of having a defaced weapon.

Defense defense attorney Emile Lisboa told Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi that he’ll argue for time already served at a scheduled July 25. Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Daryl Williams said he wouldn’t oppose the request.

STORY / PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

Federal agents raided Fea’s Lilline Lane home three years ago after catching him talking on wiretaps about the multimillion-dollar operation, which authorities said also charged exorbitant interest rates and extorted payments from gamblers.

They said they also watched him confer with various underworld associates charged in the case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said the elder Fea fronted most of the money for the illegal betting operation.

Because the guns were seized here, a grand jury in Bergen County indicted him on weapons charges last August.

As a convicted felon, Fea wasn’t supposed to have firearms in the first place – never mind the high-powered assault rifles with scopes and automatic handguns that authorities said they seized from his $2.99 million home.

They also turned up a blue-handled chrome pistol.

“Was that your gun?” Lisboa asked Fea today.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Were you aware the model number of the gun was scratched off?”

Fea replied the he was.

“And you know that if the gun is defaced in any way, that’s a crime?” the attorney continued.

“I know that now,” Fea replied.

Fea waived his right to attend the sentencing, telling DeAvila-Silebi he’s ready to return to Allenwood.

Francis “Frank” Fea, who’s been tied to reputed Genovese kingpin Joseph Pagano and his son, Daniel, has a colorful history in two states.

In July 2011, he pleaded to a federal charge of conspiracy to make extortionate loans, which was contained in an indictment handed up by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in connection with the gambling and loansharking busts.

In addition to the 30-month term agreed to in his plea deal, Fea was fined $60,000 and ordered to undergo supervised release for three years once he’s out of prison.

Fea, who also kept a home in Fort Lauderdale, was arrested in June 2010 during raids at nearly a dozen locations as part of a law enforcement action dubbed “Operation Double Down.” Most of the 18 weapons seized were found at his home, authorities in Rockland said at the time.

Both his son and daughter-in-law were arrested at their homes in Middletown, N.Y., where they operate a Rockland-based construction business.

All three were accused of heading a network that produced hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal gambling revenue each month on pro football, baseball, basketball and hockey games.

Rockland authorities were joined by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, The New York State Police and the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, executing search warrants in Bergen, Rockland, Orange and Ulster counties, as well as in the Bronx, during the early-morning raids.

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