BUSINESS

Lucchese crime family boss heads to prison

TAGs: Lucchese crime family, Matthew Madonna

New York-based Lucchese crime family boss has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a multi-billion dollar illegal gambling operation.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced Thursday that Matthew Madonna, member of the three-man ruling panel of the Lucchese crime family, was sentenced in New Jersey State Prison in Trenton by Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto in Morris County.

“Through our far-reaching investigation into this multi-billion dollar criminal gambling enterprise, we built a racketeering case that extended to the top bosses of the Lucchese crime family in New York,” said Hoffman. “By putting Madonna in prison, we send a powerful message that we are committed to combating organized crime in the most effective way possible, which is to target the leadership ranks and disrupt the command structure of these criminal organizations.”

Lucchese crime family boss heads to prisonMadonna, who pleaded guilty in June, controlled the family’s gambling operations and other criminal activities from New York, along with second member of the crime family’s ruling panel, Joseph DiNapoli.

Charges are still pending against DiNapoli.

“Sending this New York-based mob boss to New Jersey State Prison represents another major milestone for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice in its decades-long tradition of fighting organized crime,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice.  “As long as these crime families maintain their corrosive presence in New Jersey, we’ll investigate them and put them behind bars.”

Lucchese’s former New Jersey underboss Martin Taccetta, who also pleaded guilty in June, was sentenced to eight years jail time. Taccetta is already serving life sentence in state prison plus 10 years as a result of racketeering convictions in 1993.

Four other family members, including the top New Jersey capo, Ralph Perna, pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering on June and are awaiting sentencing. Perna faces a recommended sentence of eight years in jail; his sons Joseph and John face recommended sentences of 10 years; and John Mangrella faces a recommended sentence of eight years.

Judge Ahto has scheduled sentencing of the Pernas on Jan. 7.  Mangrella had been scheduled for sentencing on Wednesday, but was rescheduled.

Hoffman said the charges was a result of Operation Heat, an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice in 2007 that uncovered an international criminal gambling enterprise that transacted $2.2 billion in wagers transferred between password-protected websites and a Costa Rican “wire room” and relied on extortion and violence to collect debts.

The investigation led to charges for 32 people from racketeering and money laundering to weapons possession and tax evasion related to the illegal gambling.

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