Giuseppe De Primo

by Jon Black

Alias: Giuseppe De Primo


Nationality: Sicilian





Giuseppe De Primo was a gro­cer who worked with the Morello gang in con­nec­tion with coun­ter­feit­ing US currency.

On 31st December, 1902, the Secret Service arrest­ed Giuseppe De Primo, Giueseppe Guillambardo and Isadoro Crocervera as they walked along Main Street. They were sus­pect­ed of pass­ing coun­ter­feit five dol­lar bills in pre­cise imi­ta­tion to the cur­ren­cy issued by the National Iron Bank, Morristown NJ. On March 13th, 1903, all three men were found guilty. Giuseppe De Primo was sen­tenced to 5 years at Sing Sing prison.

His prison admis­sion sheet shows an address of 406 Houston Street where he lived with a ‘Salvatore Macaluso’.

In April 1903, fol­low­ing the famous Barrel mur­der, Lt. Petrosino vis­it­ed De Primo in Sing Sing. De Primo helped the police by iden­ti­fy­ing the vic­tim as Benedetto Madonia, his broth­er-in-law. He had been killed by De Primo’s for­mer asso­ciates from the Morello gang.

De Primo was tak­en from Sing Sing to the DA’s office in prepa­ra­tion for his appear­ance as a wit­ness at the inquest. After being giv­en assur­ances of his safe­ty, De Primo gave a long state­ment, and the ADA stat­ed that ‘he would be valu­able wit­ness to the pros­e­cu­tion’. When he appeared in court, De Primo lost his nerve and was of lit­tle val­ue to the government.

Under the rec­om­men­da­tion of Joe Petrosino, De Primo was deport­ed back to Italy upon his release from Sing Sing in 1909. The New York press claimed that De Primo had sworn to kill Petrosino, lat­er caus­ing him to become a sus­pect after Petrosino was mur­dered in Sicily.

De Primo Morristown 5 note Giuseppe De Primo