Matthew Ianniello

Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello (born June 18, 1920) is a New York mobster with the Genovese crime family mobster who specialized in vice operations. He was acting boss of the family from 1998–2005 and is the owner of numerous nightclubs in the New York City area.


Little Italy

Ianniello got the nickname "Matty the Horse" from a fight at a boyhood baseball game. During the fracas, the young Ianniello knocked out a bigger boy, prompting someone to exclaim that he had a punch like a horse.[1] Ianniello served in World War II and was decorated for his service. After returning to the United States, Ianniello was denied a license to own a restaurant due to his criminal ties. Ianniello had trouble finding work and allegedly joined the Genovese crime family for that reason.

In the mid 1970s he was promoted capo over Vincent Alo old Brooklyn based crew and decided to move the base of his operations into Manhattan. Along with his brother Roberto they purchased Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy, it was a popular hangout for Genovese and Colombo crime family mobsters.[2] On April 4, 1972, Colombo renegade Joe Gallo was murdered by Colombo gunmen at Umberto's. Ianniello was present that night, but was in the kitchen and escaped injury.[2]

In the 1970s, Ianniello and Gambino crime family Capo Robert DiBernardo were heavily involved with Times Square adult establishments, including massage parlors and peep shows. Ianniello was later convicted for refusing to testify before a Manhattan grand jury investigating police corruption, fined, and given a one year suspended sentence.

In 1985, Ianniello was convicted for racketeering and skimming unreported income from Umbertos and his other businesses and received six years in prison.[3][4] When Ianniello went to prison in 1986, the federal government assumed control of Umberto's for the next seven years.[5] In 1988, Ianniello was convicted on another racketeering charge and received more prison time.[6]

Acting Boss

In 1995, Ianniello was released from prison. When Genovese boss Vincent Gigante went to prison, Ianniello became acting boss. By 1998, Ianiello was deeply involved in Teamsters Union Local 1181, a bus drivers union.[7] Through the union, Ianiello forced a medical center to pay $100,000 to renew their lease and then make regular cash payments in order to keep it. Between 2001 and 2005, protection fees on Connecticut garbage businesses earned Ianniello more than $800,000.

In 2005, Ianniello was indicted on racketeering charges in New York for extorting the medical center.[8] In 2006, Ianniello pleaded guilty in Connecticut to two racketeering charges for extorting the trash hauling industry.[9] On May 9, 2007, he was sentenced to two years in federal prison on the Connecticut charges, to run concurrent with the 2005 New York racketeering charges. Ianniello was released from the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Butner, North Carolina on April 3, 2009.[10]


  1. ^ Mafia prefers nicknames, New York trial tap shows" New York Times December 13, 1987
  2. ^ a b Selwyn Raab. Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empries. 2006. (pg.198-200)[1]
  3. ^ "NY Region: US attorney reports indictment of Ianniello" New York Times May 16, 1986
  4. ^ "Ianniello Is Sentenced In Racketeering Trial" New York Times February 16, 1986
  5. ^ "Umberto's of clams and bullets fame is paroled" New York Times February 12, 1994
  6. ^ "Reputed Mob Chief Guilty", Los Angeles Times, Dec 31, 1985
  7. ^ "Two Accused of Extorting Bus Companies" By PAUL von ZIELBAUER New York Times June 3, 2009
  8. ^ "Reputed Genovese family members indicted" Marissa Muller CNN July 28, 2005;
  9. ^ McShane 2007
  10. ^ Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator

Further reading

  • Kelly, Robert J. Encyclopedia of Organized Crime in the United States. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2000. ISBN 0-313-30653-2
  • McShane, Larry (2007-03-04). "Matty "The Horse" on His Last Ride". AP, Wii News Channel. 

External links

Business positions
Preceded by
Dominick "Quiet Dom" Cirillo
Genovese crime family
Acting boss

Succeeded by
Daniel "Danny the Lion" Leo
as boss

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