In April 2012, Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s longtime law and real estate partner, Marcantonio “Marc” Domenico Macri, was arrested by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office on charges that he used his law firm to help large scale drug traffickers launder money. The three first-degree money laundering charges against Macri, who was then North Bergen’s municipal prosecutor, carried a minimum of 30 years in prison and a maximum of 60 years.
At the time of the arrest, Sokolich told reporters, “I’m still in a state of shock,” despite that fact that Sokolich was an original investor and on the board of directors of the bank that Macri used to launder the drug money, the Bank of New Jersey in Fort Lee. Sokolich removed Macri’s name from their joint accounts at the bank two days after Macri’s arrest.
In 2013, Macri’s partners in the “large scale” drug distribution scheme, which distributed over 1000 pounds of marijuana a year, were indicted by then Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli on 25 counts. Macri, however, was not named in the indictment. Molinelli said at the time that Macri’s case was still pending. It remains unknown whether the charges were dismissed or whether Macri was given entry into the Pretrial Intervention program meant for minor offenders like trespassers.
Since then, Macri has been busy. On March 1, 2016, he was appointed as a Commissioner on the Fort Lee Parking Authority. The Leonia Planning Board’s January 27, 2016 Agenda shows that Macri and Sokolich both represented clients before the board on the same date. The Fort Lee Board of Adjustment records show that Macri represented clients before the board several times between 2013 and 2017. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission Records show that Macri donated money to the Democratic Club of Palisades Park in 2015.
Molinelli Linked to Bribery Scheme with Criminal Defense Attorney
Macri’s choice of attorney, Robert Galantucci of the Hackensack firm Galantucci and Patuto, likely played a role in the disappearance of the criminal charges.
During the 2015 racketeering trial of former Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph Ferriero, a federal prosecutor, Rachel Honig, stated in court that Galantucci had funneled $500,000 into a bank account controlled by Ferriero. The money was purportedly meant for Ferriero’s “legal services” on behalf of Rangaram Ragi, a Teaneck doctor who had been repeatedly been charged with sexually assaulting over a dozen women.
In 2003, Dr. Ragi was indicted on two counts of sexually assaulting patients and faced up to 10 years in prison. In 2005, Molinelli dismissed the charges and allowed the doctor to enter into the Pretrial Intervention Program which resulted in the charges being removed from the doctor’s criminal record.
Ragi continued to practice medicine in Teaneck and continued to sexually assault women. Eventually, more women came forward.
The accusations resulted in two more indictments: one in 2006 on fourth-degree criminal sexual contact related to six female patients, which was dismissed for reasons that are not clear in court records; and again the following year on the same charges related to four alleged victims.
In 2008 Molinelli’s office and Ragi’s criminal attorney, Galantucci, hammered out a resolution that called for a second stint in PTI that was approved by Judge Harry Carroll.
Molinelli, a close friend of Ferriero and the Treasurer of and Counsel to the Bergen County Democratic Organization, was appointed to the position of Bergen County Prosecutor in 2002 by Governor James McGreevey at the behest of Ferriero.
Ferriero worked for Galantucci & Patuto in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to former members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
Macri’s Drug Partners’ 2009 Middlesex County Case
Macri’s criminal conspirators in the case, Danny E. Saleh and Matthew P. Martin, had been raided and arrested by the Woodbridge Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office in May 2009. Police had executed a search warrant at a cargo facility on Georges Avenue in Woodbridge and discovered Saleh and Martin present with 52 pounds of marijuana. Both had several thousand dollars of cash in their possession.
Former Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan, now a Superior Court Judge, had agreed to settle a forfeiture case against both Saleh and Martin in exchange for approximately four thousand dollars, according to a consent order. Saleh was represented by New Brunswick attorney Joseph Benedict. According to NorthJersey.com, Martin had declared bankruptcy in 2011 while living in a $5000 a month apartment and owning a new Lamborghini.
Much like Molinelli, former Middlesex County Prosecutor Kaplan had been embroiled in corruption allegations and appears to have made the case against Saleh and Martin go away. Less than three years later after the Middlesex County raid and arrest, both men were arrested once again–this time, in a luxury apartment in Edgewater with cocaine, tens of thousands of dollars in cash, luxury vehicles, and Macri.
New Jersey Department of Corrections records show that none of defendants in the case served a day in jail. New Jersey Supreme Court, Disciplinary Review Board, and Office of Attorney Ethics records show that no ethics investigations were ever brought against Macri or Sokolich for the scheme.