New Jersey is finally turning up the heat on a racketeering case against the Lucchese crime family of the New York mafia. In may of 2010 thirty four members and associates of the Lucchese family were indicted for racketeering with charges of gambling and money laundering topping the list. Among the arrested were Lucchese family leaders Matthew Madonna and Joseph DiNapoli who once served as part of a family leading ruling panel that ran the crime family before current boss Steven “Stevie Wonder” Crea was named official boss. Also arrested was Ralph V. Perna which feds claim is a Lucchese family captain who ran the families New Jersey-based crew and operations. The case which was called “Operation Heat” focused on a $2.2 billion dollar illegal sports betting business run from a wire room in Costa Rica using the internet according to prosecutors.
“Matthew Madonna and Joseph DiNapoli”
For first time in more the two years a status conference was held and defense pre-trial motions are now due by the end of October. After which another conference all will be held in December and the trial is expected to begin sometime early in 2014. The prosecution is expected to present hundreds of house of wiretap conversations including some from a bug placed in the car of Perna’s son Joseph who often drove around DiNapoli and Madonna to mob meetings and once even to a mob making ceremony held in New Jersey. Prosecutors claim some of these secretly recorded conversations can establish the leadership roles held by both Madonna and DiNapoli. During one conversation Madonna is heard discussing the Jersey based crew of the Lucchese family and its unsettled and Waring factions comparing them to the “Hatfields and McCoys” and explaining how crime family leaders tried to step in and settle the disturbance. Another recording has DiNapoli caught talking about a bookmaking operation that him and Madonna had piece of saying “I got 25 percent of this thing, me and matty”.
There are also some violence and threats of violence detailed in affidavits using snippets pulled from recorded conversations including Perna and his sons John and Joseph. Jose Perna was caught on wiretap setting up an assault plan on a non-paying gambling client saying “Go and find this kid … and make an example now … bust his head, I don’t give a (expletive) if it’s three in the morning and I don’t care if you gotta break his front (expletive) door down”. There are also many more recordings some of which have the Perna family discussing the inner workings of the Lucchese family and the brothers talking about the growing role their father was playing in the crime family. The biggest pre-trial issue are these witetap recordings as the defense plans to file motions to have most if not all of them thrown out. Many insiders believe if these tapes and recordings are ruled to be admissible the defendants may scramble to try and work out plea deals.