The mafia bust that dismantled the hierarchy of the Lucchese crime family last week exposed some of the organization’s more profitable rackets.
According to a NY Post report, the New York mafia family allegedly turned an expansion of the taxpayer-backed Bronx-Lebanon Hospital into a real money maker. In its heyday, the mafia made untold millions from its control of the construction industry in New York but its grip over the lucrative industry has weakened tremendously in recent years. But according to the recently unsealed racketeering indictment alleged Lucchese family underboss Steven “Wonder Boy” Crea Sr. continued to generate cash from construction for Cosa Nostra. The indictment shows that Crea Sr. was charged with mail and wire fraud connected to a major New York City hospital although no further specifics were included.
These charges are allegedly linked to the building of the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital’s new nine-story outpatient center according to the Post report. Bronx-based Sparrow Construction was in charge of building the $42 million dollar annex at the hospital a company which Crea has long-standing ties too. He worked for the company before he was busted in 2000 on state racketeering charges and was reportedly a regular visitor at the companies offices while construction was taking place at the hospital. Construction of the new outpatient center began in 2009 and was slated to take 19 months but it wasn’t finished until 2014 and was plagued by cost overruns. Building expenses ballooned by approx $5 million dollars much of which is believed to have made its way into the hands of the Lucchese family.
There have also been reports of an ongoing probe that is focused on hospital executives that may have also benefited from the scheme although no executives were named in the recent indictment. The alleged scheme purportedly used falsified invoices and change orders which were never questioned according to Post sources. Crea has long been linked to mafia controlled construction rackets and according to the feds took over as the head of the “Lucchese Construction Group” in the late 1990s while serving as the families underboss. The group included multiple family captains and brokered both mob tax and bribery payments from contractors including settling disputes over who would dominate certain construction projects and sites. The feds claim the group controlled over $40 million in construction contracts during its existence.
According to the feds, Crea had also formed an alliance with members of the Gambino crime family in 1999 to extort local officials of the New York City’s carpenters, laborers and bricklayers unions. Then in September of 2000 Crea along with the rest of the Lucchese Construction Groups run came to an end and they were indicted in New York on state enterprise corruption, labor racketeering, extortion, and bid-rigging charges. Crea would agree to a fairly sweet plea deal which sent him to prison for only 34 months for the state charges along with pleading guilty to similar federal charges which allowed him to serve both sentences concurrently. He was released from prison in 2006 and returned to the fold as a high-ranking member of the organized crime family.