Matthew Madonna (November 2, 1935[1] Selden, New York) is a caporegime with the Lucchese crime family who was heavily involved in narcotics trafficking and bribery of government officials.

Narcotics trafficking[edit | edit source]

In 1959, while serving a sentence at the Green Haven Correctional Facility in Upstate New York, Madonna became acquainted with Nicky Barnes, a young drug dealer from Harlem.[2][3] After their release from prison, Madonna started supplying large quantities of heroin to Barnes. Madonna would drop off a car with a trunk full of heroin at a Manhattan parking lot. Barnes would pick up the heroin later and exchange it for cash. A few days later, Madonna would return to pick up the car with the cash. Madonna and Barnes continued this arrangement until 1975, when Madonna was arrested for drug trafficking.[4] On December 21, 1976, Madonna was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.[5]

In December 1981, while still in prison, Madonna received a summons to testify before a grand jury about narcotics activity in the New York area. In two appearances before the grand jury, Madonna refused to testify, even after being granted immunity from self-incrimination. The judge finally held Madonna in contempt of court. Madonna received an extra 528 days added to his sentence.[6]

Release and promotion[edit | edit source]

In 1995, after serving 20 years in prison, Madonna was released from Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. Around 1998, Madonna was inducted into the Lucchese crime family as a reward for his silence and to assist his return to earning money for the family.[7] Shortly thereafter, Madonna became a capo. Madonna was sent to prison again, but released in September 2003.[8]

After the convictions of family leaders Steven Crea, Louis Daidone, Dominic Truscello and the cooperation of former acting boss Joseph DeFede, the Luccheses established a three-man ruling panel to govern the family. Madonna, along with Aniello Migliore and Joseph DiNapoli headed the panel.[7] After the release of Crea from prison, the panel was disbanded so that Crea can take over the family.

Current position[edit | edit source]

On December 18, 2007, New Jersey law enforcement indicted and arrested Madonna and 32 other members and associates of the Lucchese family. In a year-long investigation titled "Operation Heat" law enforcement agencies uncovered a $2.2 billion dollar illegal gambling, money laundering and racketeering ring. The scheme involved collecting bets from of gamblers on basketball, football, greyhound races and the lottery. The mob collected bets over the Internet and by phone from a location in Costa Rica.[9] Along with Madonna ruling panel member Joseph DiNapoli and top New Jersey Faction capos Ralph V. Perna and Nicodemo Scarfo, Jr. were indicted.[10][11][12][13]

In 2008, the Village Voice reported that Madonna was an employee of Big Geyser, Inc, New York's largest distributor of healthy and cutting-edge beverages. It was speculated that this was a "no show" position for Madonna.[14]

On October 1, 2009 Madonna was indicted along with Joseph DiNapoli and 27 others in a large racketeering scheme. The indictment stated that Madonna was a key player in a vast operation that grossed approximately $400 million from illegal gambling, loansharking, gun trafficking and extortion.[15][16] A second part of the indictment charged that Madonna and other Lucchese mobsters ran a bribery scheme among New York City building inspectors.[17] [18] [19] On June 28, 2010, Madonna and the other defendants pleaded not guilty to all charges.[20]

As of August 2011, Madonna is on trial for both the 2007 and 2009 indictments. He is free on bail.

References[edit | edit source]


  1. New York County District Attorney Office (October 1, 2009)
  2. Gangsters of Harlem: the gritty underworld of New York City's most famous neighborhood by Ron Chepesiuk (2007) p.126
  3. Organized Crime by Howard Abadinsky p.196
  4. Capeci, Jerry (March 14, 1999). "EX-DRUGLORD IS FREE 'NICKY' BARNES SAID TO BE CHANGED MAN". New York Daily News. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  5. "Metropolitan Briefs: Long Term in Drug Case". New York Times. December 22, 1976. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 
  6. Matthew Madonna, Plaintiff-appellant, v. United States of America, Defendant-appellee United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. - 878 F.2d 62 Justia
  7. 7.0 7.1 "What’s Left of the Mob" By Jerry Capeci New York Magazine May 21, 2005
  8. Federal Bureau of Prisons: Inmate Locator "Matthew Madonna" (Released September 22, 2003)
  9. "Attorney General Milgram Announces Arrests of Two Top Bosses of Lucchese New York Crime Family and Top New Jersey Capo On Gambling, Money Laundering And Racketeering Charges" New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Press Release December 18, 2007
  10. "N.J. authorities indict 34 in Lucchese crime family bust from ‘Operation Heat’" Mafia Today May 14, 2010
  11. "N.J. mob indictments handed to Lucchese crime family" New Jersey 14 May 2010
  12. "Names of those charged in $2.2B gambling ring" December 18, 2007
  13. New York Times: 'Alarming Alliance' of Mafia and Street Gang Is Broken Up by David W. Chen and David Kocieniewski (December 19, 2007) New York Times
  14. "Share A Slice of Mafia With Your Sparkling Water?" By Tom Robbins The Village Voice May 27, 2008
  15. Martinez, Jose (October 2, 2009). "49 indicted for bribery, racketeering schemes on a crazy Lucchese mob day". New York Daily News. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  16. "Lucchese crime family members busted in mob raid". By Laura Italiano and Murray Weiss. New York Post. October 1, 2009
  17. Kates, Brian (October 19, 2009). "Three busted building inspectors - all with apparent ties to Lucchese family - had prior raps". New York Daily News. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  18. Kates, Brian (October 10, 2009). "Luchese mob suspect Wayne Schumer, president of Ucon Corp., is missing, being hunted in bribe case". New York Daily News. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  19. Ross, Barbara (September 29, 2009). "Department of Buildings bribe scheme may net Mob bigs". New York Daily News. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  20. "More than 30 members of Lucchese crime family plead not guilty to N.J. racketeering, conspiracy" by Jim Lockwood The Star Ledger June 28, 2010


  • United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. Summary of Testimony and Findings and Conclusions Resulting from Hearings in New York on Drug Law Enforcement. 1977. (pg. 59)
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Government Operations. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Illicit Traffic in Weapons and Drugs Across the United States-Mexican Border: Hearing Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations. 1977.
  • Justice, Commerce, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations United States. Congress. House. Committee on appropriations. Subcommittee on Departments of State. Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations For Fiscal Year. 1979.

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