He had been convicted in absentia to life in prison in July 2001 for a number of crimes committed in the 1980s and 1990s. In April 2004 he was to 18 years in prison for extortion committed against Agrigento businessmen. He also was involved in the kidnapping and murder of the 13-year old Giuseppe Di Matteo the son of Santo Di Matteo, a collaborating state witness (pentito), to force him to retract his testimony. Giuseppe Di Matteo was tortured before being strangled and his body was dissolved in a barrel of acid to destroy the evidence.
Putrone had probably been living in the Czech Republic for several years since going on the run in 1998. He appeared to be a local businessman, using a stolen Italian passport under the name Umberto Bonfiglio – a surname meaning "good son."
The Czech Republic extradited Luigi Putrone to Italy where he had been sentenced to life imprisonment for mafia conspiracy (associazione mafiosa) and murder. In September 2006, he decided to become a pentito.