WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The purported street boss of the Luchese crime family and 18 other people were indicted in a New York organized crime investigation that includes allegations of fraud in a $25 million hospital expansion and in other public building projects, authorities said Wednesday.
Murder, extortion and drug dealing are among the other crimes cited in the indictment unsealed in White Plains federal court.
"As today's charges demonstrate, La Cosa Nostra remains alive and active in New York City, but so does our commitment to eradicate the mob's parasitic presence," said Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim. He said the Luchese crime family's entire administration had been charged and that the defendants used violence and threats "to make illegal money, to enforce discipline in the ranks and to silence witnesses."
Among the nicknames of those charged were "Wonder Boy," ''Big John," ''Jimmy the Jew," ''Big Joe," ''Joey Glasses," ''Paulie Roast Beef" and "Spanish Carmine."
Most of the defendants were arrested Wednesday and were awaiting court appearances in suburban White Plains. If convicted, all but two of the defendants could face life in prison.
Those named include Matthew Madonna, 81, described in the indictment as the street boss of the Luchese crime family. He is currently jailed in Trenton, New Jersey, on other charges. It was not immediately known who his lawyer would be for the New York case.
Among charges brought against some of the defendants were wire and mail fraud. The indictment said the defendants committed the fraud in connection with various public building projects, including a $25 million expansion of a major New York City hospital. But the hospital and related details were not divulged.
William F. Sweeney Jr., head of the FBI's New York office, said organized crime families believe their way of life is acceptable and don't plan to stop.
"Their crimes aren't victimless, and this case proves they're willing to use murder and many other violent tactics to enforce their dominance," he said in a news release.
James P. O'Neill, commissioner of the New York Police Department, called the alleged crimes "extraordinary."
"The Luchese family operated with seeming impunity, allegedly carrying out murder, robberies, extortion, among a myriad of other charges unsealed today," O'Neill said. "We will not stop until violence has been eradicated — be it from a street gang or the mob."