Anthony "Tumac" Accetturo (born 1938) is a former caporegime and leader of the New Jersey faction of the Lucchese crime family, called the Jersey Crew, who ran the family's New Jersey operations for many turbulent years before being sentenced to state prison.
Born in 1938, Accetturo's father was a butcher in Orange, New Jersey, his mother a seamstress. Accetturo dropped out of school after completing the sixth grade. At age 16, Accetturo moved to Newark, New Jersey and became the leader of a large street gang. He received his nickname "Tumac" from the caveman hero of the 1940 film One Million B.C because Accetturo was a ferocious street fighter. At age 17, Accetturo was recruited by Anthony "Ham" Delasco during the 1960s for the Lucchese crime family and he work as Delasco driver. Accetturo became Delasco's Protégé learning trades in illegal gambling and loansharking controlling the Newark New Jersey area. Delasco died in the late 1960's and Joseph Abate became the new capo of The Jersey Crew and Accetturo would play a major role in organized crime in New Jersey.
New Jersey crew
In 1970, Accetturo moved to Florida to avoid an investigation of his gambling operations in Newark. Another reason for his move was that South Florida was open to all the crime families for exploitation. During his absence, Accetturo designated his lieutenant, Michael Taccetta of Florham Park, New Jersey, to run the day-to-day operations of the crew. In the early 1970s, Lucchese boss Anthony Corallo, put Accetturo in charge of the entire Lucchese operation in New Jersey, even though he wasn't yet a family member. Accetturo and his crew of new muscle helped Joseph Abate (who was still the official Boss/capo) keep control over The Jersey Crew. The delay in his initiation occurred because none of the New York families were accepting new members during this period. However, Corallo and Accetturo had a great relationship. In 1976 with help from Joseph Abate, Accetturo finally became a made man in the Lucchese crime family along with the Taccetta brothers (Michael and Martin). Accetturo would finally become the official caporegime of The Jersey Crew by 1979 when Joseph Abate retired.
In February, 1973, Accetturo was indicted for loansharking and extortion. He was eventually arrested in Miami, Florida with his bail set at $10,000. In 1976, the State of New Jersey tried to extradite Accetturo from Florida; however, he fended off the order due to poor health. Based in Hollywood, Florida, Accetturo would continue to elude federal authorities while remaining involved in Lucchese interests in New Jersey. Accetturo was a man of almost unlimited luck when it came to being tried for his crimes. He once avoided prosecution by claiming to have Alzheimer's disease, only to experience a miraculous "cure" when he slipped and fell in the shower after the case against him was dropped
In 1980, the murder of Philadelphia crime family boss Angelo Bruno, created a power vacuum in that family, with rivals Philip Testa and Nicodemo Scarfo fighting for control. Accetturo used this unrest to establish a small foothold for the Lucchese family in Philadelphia, using Michael Taccetta and his brother Martin Taccetta.
Rivalry with Taccetta
On October 18, 1985 Accetturo was indicted on charges of threatening government witnesses and posing a threat to public safety. He was later charged with intimidating of competitors of the Lucchese-controlled Taccetta Group Enterprises, along with credit card and wire fraud. Facing a number of federal prosecutions, Accetturo was granted a stay of sentence and was allowed to live in his Florida residence.
In 1987, Accetturo and Michael Taccetta went on trial for narcotics and racketeering charges. One of the longest trials in U.S. history, the trial went on for 21 months. When the verdict was read, the defendants were pronounced not guilty on all counts, a stunning rebuke to the government.
During the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act trial, the relationship between Accetturo and Taccetta deteriorated into an outright power struggle. Taccetta was jealous of the rise of Accetturo's son, Anthony Accetturo Jr., within the New Jersey crew. Taccetta also felt that the father had given him very little respect and deference over the years that he had been watching the New Jersey operation. Finally, Taccetta ordered a murder contract on the senior Accetturo. When the trial ended in acquittals for the defendants, Accetturo returned to Florida for his own safety.
In September, 1989, New Jersey authorities extradited Accetturo from North Carolina due to his refusal to appear and testify before a grand jury about labor racketeering and other state offenses. Due to Taccetta's murder contract, the State placed Accetturo in protective custody. In 1993, Taccetta was sent to federal prison.
Lucchese family demands
In late 1986 Lucchese crime family Boss Anthony Corallo along with underboss Salvatore Santoro and consigliere Christopher Furnari were handed a 100 year sentence in 1986 Commission case. Corallo replacement Anthony 'Buddy' Luongo turned up missing. Christopher Furnari then suggested narcotics trafficker Vittorio Amuso to become new boss of the Lucchese crime family. Corallo was said to have wanted Lucchese crime family capo Aniello Migliore (who was a good friend) to become Boss but was entangled with the courts as well. Corallo reluctantly approved Vittorio Amuso to become the Boss of Lucchese crime family.
The new leaders of the Lucchese crime family in Brooklyn, New York, Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso, suspended the family's relationship with the New Jersey crew. During the last years of the Corallo regime, Accetturo had been steadily decreasing his tribute to the point that he was only giving the family a measly $50,000 a year. Amuso and Casso knew this was way too little and instead demanded that Accetturo turn over 50% of the crew's proceeds to them. When Accetturo refused such a high tribute of 50% the two bosses attempted to strip Accetturo of his rank as caporegime and threatened to kill him. In the fall of 1988, the entire New Jersey crew was summoned to meet with Amuso in Brooklyn. Fearful of being massacred, everyone refused to go. Soon the entire New Jersey crew had gone into hiding decimating the Lucchese interests in New Jersey. Over the next year or two, most of the New Jersey crew members came back to the family. Amuso told the returned New Jersey crew members that Accetturo was an outlaw and needed to be disposed of although the crew disagreed with Amuso who was known for unsanctioned hits from paranoia with no regard for the New Jersey's ruling commission and code of conduct which is how the New jersey crew operated successfully controlling the Newark New Jersey area for years and prior to the retirement of Joseph Abate as well as the loyalty returning members had for Accetturo. it was clear that Amuso was the cause of the family to almost become non existent in New Jersey a year earlier. Amuso later sent hitmen to Florida . However it was later pointed out what Amuso didn't realize was that Accetturo was in jail in New Jersey, for refusing to testify in front of a state panel. In 1993, Accetturo was convicted on racketeering charges. Facing a 30 year prison sentence and regarded as a family pariah, Accetturo learned that Amuso had provided pictures of his wife, as well as himself, to the Lucchese hitmen that where never seen again,
Reputed mob enforcer, Thomas Ricciardi went on to testify against the Taccetta brothers and the remaining defendants. Martin Taccetta and Michael Taccetta were sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment for racketeering, narcotics, extortion, loansharking, conspiracy and murder in 1993. Taccetta reportedly went on to gain control of the Jersey Crew.
As of March 2012, Accetturo is still alive and well. Accetturo was also sentenced to state prison, His sentence ended during the mid 2000's.
In popular culture
The 2006 Sidney Lumet film Find Me Guilty chronicles the 2-year trial of Accetturo and other family members.