Lucchese crime boss sentenced for role in gambling ring



By S.P. Sullivan |

TRENTON — Matthew Madonna, an alleged ruling boss of the New York-based Lucchese crime family, was sentenced to five years in state prison for his role in a multi-billion dollar gambling ring, authorities said.
Madonna, of Selden, N.Y., controlled the organized crime family's gambling operations and pleaded guilty in June to racketeering charges. He was sentenced to five years in New Jersey State Prison in Trenton by Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto in Morris County.
Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in a statement Thursday the charges stemmed from a 2007 investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice dubbed "Operation Heat." The investigation uncovered an "international criminal gambling enterprise" that saw $2.2 billion in wagers shuttled between password-protected websites and a Costa Rican "wire room," authorities said.
They claim Madonna is a member of the "three-man ruling panel" of the Lucchese operation.

"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," Hoffman said.
The investigation led to charges for 32 people ranging from racketeering and money laundering to weapons possession and tax evasion related to the gambling scheme.
It also uncovered an operation involving a former state corrections officer and a member of the Bloods street gang, who conspired with the Lucchese family to smuggle drugs and pre-paid cell phones into East Jersey State Prison, authorities said.
Another alleged Lucchese underboss, 64-year-old Martin Taccetta, was also sentenced yesterday for his role in the scheme, receiving eight years in state prison. But Taccetta is already in prison, serving a life sentence on a 1993 racketeering conviction, records show.
He pleaded guilty to charges in the Operation Heat scheme on June 17.
Madonna's attorney, John Weichsel, declined to comment on the sentence, though he said his client does not plan to appeal.

S.P. Sullivan may be reached at ssullivan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter. Find NJ.com on Facebook.