MORRISTOWN, N.J. - Nicodemo S. Scarfo told a Superior Court judge here Tuesday that he was an unemployed "research analyst" who did "legal consulting work for attorneys."
State prosecutors said he was an organized crime figure who played a key role in a $2 billion Internet-based sports betting operation while also engaging in extortion and money-laundering.
Those two pictures of the son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo D. "Little Nicky" Scarfo emerged during a brief bail hearing before Judge Thomas V. Manahan in Morris County Superior Court.
Manahan, after reading Scarfo the charges against him in a racketeering indictment, set bail at $350,000 for the 44-year-old mob figure.
Scarfo has been held in the county jail here since his arrest Friday at his home in Atlantic County. Lawyers said they hoped he would be released Wednesday or Thursday after real estate owned by a family member and a friend were posted as collateral.
Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffed and shackled at the ankles, Scarfo was escorted to and from the hearing by sheriff's officers.
A reputed member of the Lucchese organized crime family, he faces racketeering, conspiracy, money-laundering and gambling charges related to what authorities allege is an Internet-based betting operation that funneled action to a wire room in Costa Rica. Bettors used passwords to gain access.
Scarfo was one of 34 reputed members or associates of the Lucchese organization charged in the case following an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.
Dubbed "Operation Heat," the probe ran for about 15 months beginning in August 2006. One customer, according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, wagered $2 million during one two-month period while authorities were monitoring the gambling ring.
James Leonard Jr., a lawyer who has represented Scarfo in the past, called the case "trumped-up gambling charges," pointing out that Scarfo was not arrested when authorities charged more than 30 members of the crime family nearly two years ago.
Scarfo was one of three new defendants added to the case when the indictment was announced last week.
Leonard had intended to represent Scarfo at Tuesday's hearing, but was barred from doing so by Manahan. The judge said there was a potential conflict of interest because Leonard had represented a member of the Bloods street gang charged in the same case when the arrests were made in 2008.
The allegations in the case are based in part on hundreds of secretly recorded conversations picked up by New Jersey investigators on wiretaps and from electronic listening devices.
Scarfo, who has two gambling convictions for which he has served jail time, is also the target of an ongoing, multimillion-dollar financial fraud investigation being run by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Camden.
Authorities allege that he and Elkins Park businessman Salvatore Pelullo siphoned millions of dollars from FirstPlus Financial, a Texas-based company they secretly controlled.
No one has been arrested in that case. Officials at FirstPlus have denied any wrongdoing.