Lucky Luciano: The Rise and Fall of a Mob Boss

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By filling the market demand for liquor, these formerly poverty stricken immigrants now had more money then they knew what to do with. The Sicilian mafia had long existed in Italy, but were largely driven out by Mussolini, when he cracked down on their organization. The Sicilians expanded their empire to the US, primarily New York and Chicago, as did many impoverished families seeking to find a better life in the new world. The new generation of the mafia was led by the sons of Italian immigrants, who had spent the majority of their life in the US, feeling more at home in Brooklyn than Sicily.

One of these immigrants was Salvatore Lucania, stepping foot in New York at age nine. Not speaking english, Lucania struggled during school. Dropping out at age seventeen, he ran small time rackets and was arrested in for selling heroin, serving six months. Lucania's break came in with the prohibition of alcohol, as he rose to dominate the illegal liquor trade on the East Coast. Lucania was the victim of an attempted assassination, being beaten, stabbed and left for dead by his boss Masseria, who feared his growing control over the bootlegging business.

Lucania earned his nickname, 'Lucky Luciano' by not only surviving the attack, but killing his former boss and taking his place, becoming the head of one of the five warring crime families that ran New York. After eliminating the self proclaimed 'boss of all bosses' Salvatore Maranzano, Luciano chose not to crown himself a boss of bosses, knowing how futile the position was, instead seeking to create a long lasting organization known as 'The Commission' which would serve as a committee for the Mafia, which by then was made up of over 20 families across America, appointing himself as a chairman of the organization.

New York, the capital of organized crime, was split into five main Mafia families, meaning five votes, while the family heads of Chicago and Buffalo got one vote each.

The Rise of American Gangsters Al Capone and Lucky Luciano

The Commission was founded in , its last known meeting taking place in The head of the Chicago Outfit was Al Capone. Born and raised in Brooklyn as the son of Italian Immigrants, he was a Five Families gang member before moving to Chicago in his early twenties to cofound the Chicago Outfit, a massive Italian organized crime group, serving as a right hand man to his boss, Johnny Torio.

When Torio was killed by a rival gang vying for control over Chicago, Capone took over, and quickly proved himself to be a worthy successor, making million dollars annually, which roughly translates to 1. The fear of Capone was not unfounded, he ordered the murders of hundreds of rivals, and was known to bomb diners and shops who refused to buy his liquor, killing over people, many of which were civilians. The North Side men surrendered, believing they were going to be arrested, instead they were lined up against a wall and mowed down with tommy guns. The s through s is widely considered to be the golden age of Hollywood, one of the most popular genres at the time being the mob movie.

These films sought to portray the violent and lavish lifestyles that these men led on the big screen, and were accused of glorifying the criminal life. Set in the tragic backdrop of the Great Depression, audiences identified with the rags to riches lives portrayed in the films, as well as the charismatic gangsters who lived them. Critics deplored the genre, believing that the films glorified the violent nature of the mafia, and the genre was attacked by The Production Code, a set of industry moral guidelines created by Catholic lawyers who sought to regulate the content shown in movies.

The code banned the glorification of criminal activity as well as the vilification of authority, which severely restricted the ability to produce movies about mobsters.

Even after the Prohibition on Alcohol was repealed, the Mafia still remained powerful, switching from bootlegging to alternative sources of income including but not limited to, loansharking, robbery, prostitution and drug dealing. Seigel chose Vegas due to its lax gambling laws as well as off track betting. He built a extravagant hotel and casino, naming it, The Flamingo, which served as a front for the Commission.


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The hotel changed the image of Las Vegas, from a small frontier attraction to a large scale resort center we know today, The Flamingo leading to the creation of the famous Vegas Strip. Unfortunately for Seigel, he didn't live long enough to see his own success, as he was killed for going over budget on the project.

Lucky Luciano was eventually imprisoned in and later exiled from the US, he appointed his head enforcer, Vito Genovese, as the new head of his empire, but after facing murder charges, Genovese abandoned his position and fled to Italy. Costello was widely respected throughout the mob, as well as high society, his advocacy for diplomacy and nonviolence, as well as his fairness in terms of splitting the wealth acquired by the syndicate between families and his distaste for drug dealing drawing admiration and loyalty from both sides.

The character of Don Corleone from The Godfather books and films were largely based on Costello, a wise and powerful community figure that sought to bring justice to a society where it was a scarcity. Costello miraculously survived the attack, and even spared the life of his would be killer.

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Costello then met with Genovese, and chose to relinquish his position to Genovese, in hopes of avoiding further bloodshed. Costello retired in , and served as a consultant to mafia members seeking guidance.

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By , the mafia had grown into a nationwide organization, and despite maintaining relative secrecy, they nonetheless garnered attention from the Federal Government, who, in response to reports of a widespread organized crime syndicate that threatened everything from business to the political process, created the Kefauver Committee. The committee held hearings in 14 cities, calling over witnesses to testify, including Frank Costello.

The committee hearing were broadcasted on television, showing the american people how powerful the organization had become. The results of the hearings were significant, leading to the eventual passing of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Act, which created 70 crime commissions to attack the many heads of the mafia. The RICO act also allowed prosecutors far more freedom in prosecuting mobsters for crimes that they may not have directly committed, but took part in or ordered crimes, effectively removing the legal separation between the boss who orders a murder, and the soldier who carries it out.

The act targeted racketeering in particular, making the laws regarding it more harsh in order to use the increased sentencing to convince mobsters to inform on one another. Racketeering is defined as making money through an unlawful enterprise, due to the vague nature of the definition, most crimes are considered to be racketeering. Under the RICO act, a person who is a part of an organization that has committed any two of 35 crimes can be charged with racketeering.

In addition, all cash earned through the racket is confiscated by the government. The code states that one must, under no circumstances whatsoever, cooperate with authority, even if one is wrongly accused of a crime, they must not defend themselves by helping the authorities. Breaking this code meant almost certain death, the mafia not being known for their forgiveness pertaining to traitors. All eleven men were found guilty, all bosses were sentenced to years in prison.

Since the RICO Act was passed, there have not been any Mafia bosses on the level of Capone or Luciano, the closest being John Gotti, a mobster who took advantage of the chaos surrounding the RICO Act to seize control, murdering his boss Paul Castellano in and taking over as head of the Gambino Family, the most dangerous crime family in America. Gotti ran the family successfully, raking in over million dollars annually, through managing construction, waste management, hijacking, loan sharking, gambling, extortion, drug dealing, and other criminal activities.

The Rise and Fall of the American Mafia

For the better part of the s, the American Mafia was the most powerful crime syndicate in America. Starting as dirt poor immigrants, they utilized prohibition to build their strength, eventually ruling both New York and Chicago through fear and intimidation. The Mafia laid the foundation for modern day Las Vegas, and inspired a film and TV genre still thrives today. Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things. If you cry happy tears, you're emotional.

If you express even if it's in a healthy way that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive. Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down.

American Gangsters -The Rise & Fall of the Mafia 2014

We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow. This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday.

You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them.

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Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: 1 2 3 4 5. Preview this item Preview this item. Topics include: the complex structure of the New York City bordellos and the takeover; his role in the expansion of the international heroin trade; and the shocking attempt to sexually frame a member of prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey's staff in a desperate bid to overturn Luciano's conviction"--Provided by publisher.

The Rise and Fall of "Lucky" Luciano

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