Steven L. Crea (born July 18, 1947), also known as "Wonderboy", or "Herbie", is a New York mobster heavily involved in labor racketeering and the current boss of the Lucchese crime family. His son, Steven Jr, is a capo in the Lucheses.
Rise to power
Steven Lorenzo Crea was born on July 18th 1947. He earned his nickname "Wonderboy" after the fictional Quality Comics superhero. Crea was inducted into the Lucchese family sometime in the 1980s, probably under the reign of boss Anthony Corallo. By 1990, family boss Vittorio Amuso appointed Crea capo, taking over Salvatore "Sammy Bones" Castaldi crew in the Bronx. Crea specialized in labor rackets, such as gaining power over Carpenter's Local 608 and using it to extort New York City contractors. Crea held a no-show job at Inner City Drywall, one of the city's largest drywall contractors and was on the Cement and Concrete Workers Union involved with Local 282.
In 1993, with Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso's support, Crea became Underboss of the Lucchese Family. Using his new clout, Crea shifted the family's power center away from the Brooklyn crews and back to the Manhattan and Bronx crews who had historically controlled the family for decades. In the early 1990s, several Amuso/Casso loyalists, including George Zappola and Frank "Spaghetti Man" Gioia, Jr. hatched a plot to kill Crea, and take over the family. They planned to lure Crea to a sitdown and then murder him. However, the plot fell through after Zapolla, Gioia, and the rest of Amuso/Casso regime were indicted and imprisoned.
From 1997 through 1999, Crea served as the head of the "Lucchese Construction Group", which also included Lucchese capos Dominic Truscello, head of the Prince Street Crew, and Joseph Tangorra, head of a Brooklyn crew. The Construction Group brokered the bribe payments and the "mob tax" payments to be received from contractors, and settled disputes over who would dominate a particular construction site. Also, the mobsters were placed on the company payroll so they could report legitimate taxable income to the U.S Internal Revenue Service (IRS). During its existence, the Construction Group controlled over $200 million dollars in construction contracts, increasing overall construction costs by 10%.
In 1998, after acting Lucchese boss Joseph DeFede was indicted on labor racketeering and extortion charges, Crea became the family's new acting boss.
On September 6, 2000, Crea and other members of the Lucchese Construction Group were indicted in New York on state enterprise corruption, labor racketeering, extortion, and bid-rigging charges. The District Attorney charged that these schemes had systematically siphoned off millions of dollars from both public and private construction projects. Specifically, Crea used mob associates to extort building contractors who wished to receive rights to no-bid jobs or who wanted to reduce the number of union members on their payrolls. Truscello, Tangorra, and other family members went to prison. Tangorra suffered a nervous breakdown and eventually took a 16-year prison sentence deal. In 2006, Crea pleaded guilty to lesser state charges and was sentenced to prison for two to six years.
In 2006, the Lucchese family was still headed by official boss Vittorio Amuso, but day-to-day operations were being managed by a panel of Capos including Aniello Migliore, Matthew Madonna, and Joseph DiNapoli. On August 24, 2006, Crea was released from prison with parole restrictions that prohibited him from associating with other mobsters or union officials. On November 17, 2009, Crea's parole restrictions expired. Since his release it was speculated that he would take over the Lucchese crime family when his parole was up. In 2012, Vittorio Amuso allegedly stepped down and Crea was named boss.
Downfall and Current Status
On May 31, 2017, Crea was indicted and held without bail for racketeering, fraud and murder conspiracy. The indictment builds on charges previously filed against a reputed Lucchese soldier and associate in February 2017, charging them with the murder of former Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish in the Bronx on November 15, 2013. In the indictment Acting Boss Matthew Madonna and his son Steven Crea Jr., were charged with serving as co-conspirators in the gangland execution of Meldish also.
Crea is also accused of ordering the attempted murder of a Bonanno crime family associate in 2012. The FBI also accuses Crea of giving his approval for one of his underlings driving to New Hampshire in an attempt to find and murder an informant. Crea was personally charged with mail and wire fraud in connection of his skimming involvement with the construction of a New York City hospital. Following his indictment Crea was replaced as underboss by Patrick "Patty" Dellorusso.
On November 15, 2019, Crea was found guilty of one count of racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, which carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison; murder in aid of racketeering, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison; and use of a firearm in furtherance of murder in aid of racketeering, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. He was acquitted however of several other charges including one count of attempted murder and assault in aid of racketeering and one count of use of a firearm in furtherance of attempted murder and assault in aid of racketeering.