Michael Salvatore Taccetta (born September 16, 1947), also known as "Mad Dog," is a Capo in the Lucchese crime family, who later would control the entire New Jersey faction of the crime family in the 1980s. His brother, Martin Taccetta, was also in charge for a brief period of time.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Early life and crimes
- 3 Winning the New Jersey State Lottery
- 4 Family mob ties
- 5 Business in Newark
- 6 Lucchese Made Man
- 7 Expanding Jersey
- 8 Philly operations
- 9 Excluded from New Jersey
- 10 Longest trial in U.S. legal history
- 11 Accetturo rivalry
- 12 Whack North Jersey
- 13 Weakening New Jersey
- 14 Trial and imprisonment
- 15 Currently imprisoned
Early life and crimes
Michael Taccetta, also known as "Mike T," was born in the poverty stricken neighborhood of Vailsburg, Newark, New Jersey on September 16, 1947. This was the same neighborhood as the Gambino crime family's capo Joseph Paterno, who Taccetta reportedly worked for in his early teens. Taccetta is the son of Angelo Taccetta, a self-employed building materials supplier, who law enforcement agencies reputed was a "made man" in the Lucchese crime family. Taccetta stands at 5'7" weighs close to 300 pounds with a wrestler's build with black hair and brown eyes. Michael was first arrested for assault at the age of twelve and was sent to Boys Town, a Catholic youth facility. As a youth, he pitched pennies and played cards on on the streets. He lived in Florham Park, New Jersey before his incarceration. He told people that he was self-employed. Taccetta graduated from Saint Benedict's Preparatory School in Newark at nineteen years old and attended one semester at Johnson & Wales University School of Business in Providence, Rhode Island. Taccetta returned to New Jersey and enrolled in Essex County College School of Business for a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management, where he received grades of C and D. He later worked as a laborer with his father and younger brother at the family construction supplies firm. Taccetta married his long-time girlfriend, Carol Ann Nozdrovicky, whom he met at Newark Preparatory in his early twenties. They had three sons and a daughter. The couple lived with Carol's parents in South Orange, New Jersey before moving into a three-family house.
Winning the New Jersey State Lottery
In 1983, Taccetta's wife, Carol Ann, won $611,979 from the New Jersey State Lottery that was to be paid out over the next twenty-years. Carol was deemed the '100th Millionaire' by the State Lottery Commission, since it began holding the lottery in 1969. She described Michael to the media upon winning the lottery as an "oil company consultant." They were married for seventeen years and Michael himself is the father of four children. As a father and husband, he attended the Holy Family Parish located at 1 Lloyd Avenue in Florham Park, New Jersey with his family. Michael is the godfather to his brother Martin's children as Martin is to his. Michael was a heavyset yet handsome man and was thought of as an intellectual among his criminal associates. During conversations, he would often quote and misquote passages from Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince.
Family mob ties
Michael Taccetta is the cousin of mobsters Michael Perna, and Daniel, Joseph and Thomas Ricciardi. He was especially close to his cousin Daniel Ricciardi who was five years younger than Michael. The two cousins were described as being 'inseparable' during the 1960s. Robert Buccino, a New Jersey organized crime expert, said that Taccetta and Ricciardi ran with a gang that thought noting of "beating up someone 10 to 1". His cousins Daniel and Thomas would later become informants and turn state's evidence when facing jail time for murder and drug trafficking. Michael is also the uncle of Joseph Perna born c.a. 1969, John Perna born c.a. 1977 and Ralph Perna Junior born c.a. 1972. They all followed their father and uncle into organized crime. He is also reported to be a "close blood relative" of mobster Christopher Piro, who in 1997 was arrested for his leadership of a multi-million dollar illegal gambling ring in the Bronx. He is also the uncle of Pamela Abdy, the Hollywood film producer whose credits include "Garden State" that was awarded an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature in 2005 as well as three other movies including "Man on the Moon" in 1999.
Although recognized as an associate of the Gambinos, Taccetta was influenced by his older friend from childhood, Anthony Accetturo, who, at the age of 17, was already recruited by the rival Lucchese crime family, and joined Accetturo's street crew in their North Jersey faction. During the mid 1960s, both Michael and Martin Taccetta started with Accetturo in illegal gambling and loansharking operations, on the orders of boss Gaetano Lucchese. On December 23, 1971, Taccetta was convicted of conspiracy to operate a lottery and numbers, for which he was sentenced to less than two years in prison, and fined $1,000. He was also identified as a career criminal offender and an associate of other identified criminal offenders, such as members of the Lucchese crime family in New Jersey and New York.
Business in Newark
During the early 1970s, Anthony Accetturo, who currently worked as Taccetta's mentor, was indicted on illegal gambling operations in Newark, New Jersey, and decided to avoid prosecution by escaping to Florida. In this way, Taccetta was chosen by Accetturo to run the day-to-day activities in Newark. In February 1973, Accetturo was indicted for loansharking and extortion, as he was eventually arrested in Miami, Florida, with his bail set at $10,000. Accetturo would later return and run his Newark operations with Taccetta in early 1975.
Lucchese Made Man
In 1976, the newly made Boss of the Lucchese crime family, Anthony Corallo decided to make his New Jersey faction even stronger, as Anthony Accetturo, Taccetta and several others were reportedly inducted into the Lucchese crime family during that same year. Accetturo was put in charge of the North Jersey faction of the Luccheses, as Taccetta was promoted the top protégé to Accetturo.
During the late 1970s, Anthony Accetturo would suffer from several indictments, following the State of New Jersey try to extradite Accetturo, but failed due to poor health. Accetturo later relocated his business interests to Miami and Hollywood, Florida, but remained the official chief of New Jersey. Michael Taccetta was then chosen again to run the Northern Jersey faction of the Lucchese crime family on Accetturo's behalf, and soon expanded Accetturo's operations, all from illegal gambling and loansharking, to extortion, drug trafficking and money laundering, through his legitimate business "Taccetta Group Enterprises", where Taccetta's position was company president. The business was under the control of the Lucchese crime family in New York.
On March 12, 1980, the Boss of the Philadelphia crime family Angelo Bruno was shot to death, in the aftermath of which the double dealing Frank Tieri of the Genovese LCN had the Commission support the murder of all those involved in the Bruno murder (though they had been encouraged to do the same by Tieri). After this, Philip Testa found himself Boss, but was killed by his Underboss Pete Casella. Consigliere Nicodemo Scarfo, then fighting the remnants of the Casella faction to maintain control of the Philadelphia family. When Anthony Accetturo heard of this, he ordered Taccetta to establish a new crew of the Lucchese crime family, under the control of Michael Taccetta and the New Jersey faction. Because of the bad relations between the two factions in Philadelphia's crime family, as well as both Taccetta and Anthony Accetturo taking advantage of the situation, the relationship between Philadelphia and the Five Families eventually turned even worse.
Excluded from New Jersey
In 1983, the State of New Jersey put together an exclusion order on Michael Taccetta, as he was recognized as a high-ranking member of the Northern Jersey organized crime organization. On January 6, 1984, Taccetta was excluded from New Jersey casinos, stemming from his prior convictions in the 1970s. Despite his exclusion, Taccetta kept operating in the North Jersey area. His brother Martin Taccetta would then step up and serve as acting boss on behalf of Taccetta in the mid 1980s.
Longest trial in U.S. legal history
In 1986, as prosecutions which resulted in the Mafia Commission Trial were set up in New York, where Anthony Corallo and the entire administration of the Lucchese crime family were brought on trial, Taccetta and Anthony Accetturo would be arrested during that same year, along with 18 other top mobsters of the Northern New Jersey faction of the family. The indictment was the result of a four-year investigation, provided by the law enforcement of New Jersey. The charges were 76 counts of labor racketeering, illegal gambling, loansharking, extortion, drug trafficking, money laundering, conspiracy and murder for hire. The longest trial ever in the United States, it went for more than 21 months, as it has been placed in the Guinness Book of Records. Stunningly, all 20 defendants were found "not guilty" on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act predicates, but as the trial was over due, rivalry was being developed in what was called the Jersey Crew.
During the trial, both Taccetta and Anthony Accetturo agreed that it wasn't the right time for a war, however, in 1988, it became clear that Taccetta had claimed war on Accetturo, as the North Jersey crew broke up into two factions. One of the main reasons were that Accetturo had promoted his son, Anthony Accetturo, Jr. to reorganize the Jersey crew upon his retirement, which was something Taccetta had been eager to take over since the early 1980s. When the trial ended in acquittals for the defendants on all charges, Accetturo returned to Florida for his own safety.
Whack North Jersey
After the conviction of Anthony Corallo in 1986, and his protégé Anthony "Buddy" Luongo being found murdered, Brooklyn, New York faction leaders Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso chose themselves as the new bosses of the Lucchese crime family. Underboss Casso was allowed wide control by his friend Amuso and became paranoid, murdering several mobsters he feared were disloyal in a bloody purge. Amuso hadn't been satisfied with their profit from the New Jersey faction in the late 1980s, as he demanded 50% of both Taccetta and Accetturo's profit, where they both refused. Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso, a man of great fear and reportedly with dozens of murders on his hands, announced his order, which led "Whack Jersey". Summoned to a meeting in Brooklyn with Amuso, the entire North Jersey faction, who were fearful of being massacred, went into hiding. Over the next 12 months, most of the New Jersey crew members came back to the family. Victor Amuso told the returned crew members that Anthony Accetturo needed to be disposed off. Reportedly, Taccetta is to have sent messages to Amuso in Brooklyn, asking a contract to be placed on Accetturo's life. Amuso is reportedly to have agreed, as Taccetta was now under the wings of Vittorio Amuso.
Weakening New Jersey
With Anthony Accetturo out of the way, Michael and Martin Taccetta were reportedly the leaders of the New Jersey faction, as Taccetta started cooperating with the head of the Gambino crime family, John Gotti, through Gambino caporegime, Thomas Gambino. During the last years of the 1980s, Taccetta's faction was much weakened due to increased law enforcement and bad relations to Vittorio Amuso. The new administration was accordingly to NewJersey.Com, Michael Taccetta as the Boss of faction, Michael Perna as the Underboss and Martin Taccetta as the official Consigliere. Reportedly, it was around this time that law enforcement started seeing the NJ faction of the Lucchese crime family as it's own family.
Trial and imprisonment
In the early 1990s, the entire New Jersey faction's administration was put on trial, including the elder Anthony Accetturo, who had been imprisoned due to the contract both Taccetta and Amuso had put on his life in the late 1980s. As it couldn't be any worse, the two of them began another internal war against each other. Michael and Martin Taccetta were given 25 years for racketeering, narcotics, extortion, loansharking, conspiracy and murder in 1993. Taccetta reportedly went on to control The Jersey Crew, as he was doing his sentence in Atlanta.
Although his years as leader of the Lucchese crime family's New Jersey faction, Taccetta managed to develop several internal wars, both with Anthony Accetturo and later Thomas Ricciardi, who also turned state's evidence to convict Taccetta. His brother Martin, though sentenced to life, was let out of prison in 2005 after his appeal showed that he was framed in his murder trial. Marty is back out on the streets of New Jersey as a made man of the New Jersey Lucchese crew under Ralph Vito Perna. He was later sent back to prison after his prison sentence was reinstated.
As of April 2012, Michael Taccetta is imprisoned in New Jersey's South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey. He is first eligible for parole on August 13, 2013.