Court: State can’t take $1.3M of alleged mobster’s assets
The family of a reputed mobster who authorities were investigating at the time he was fatally shot moved a step closer Monday to getting back more than $1 million that belonged to him.
A New Jersey appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that had let the state keep about $1.3 million that once belonged to Frank Lagano, who authorities said was affiliated with the Lucchese crime family.
The former northern New Jersey resident was one of the targets of an investigation more than a decade ago into gambling and racketeering, according to Monday's court filing.
Lagano was shot in the head in 2007 while the criminal investigation and a forfeiture action were ongoing.
In seeking to keep Lagano's money, the state presented accounts from two detectives, one of whom worked undercover, who said they believed Lagano was an organized crime member.
Lagano's son claimed the state didn't let him see his father's financial records but said he knew his father was involved in a number of legitimate business enterprises.
A judge granted summary judgment in favor of the state in 2013. Monday's ruling reversed that and held that Lagano's son's account raised legitimate factual questions that should be addressed.
The case was sent back to the lower court for settlement discussions or possible trial.
Through a spokesman, the state attorney general's office declined comment.