Meyer Lansky is a member of the Jewish Mob who, through his connections and business dealings, wields significant influence and respect throughout Cosa Nostra. Lansky has controlled significant gambling operations throughout the United States and Cuba since the 1930s. Lansky’s two closest associates are Lucky Luciano, and Bugsy Siegel, whom Lansky convinced the National Crime Syndicate to put in charge of Las Vegas, and to invest in Siegel’s Flamingo Hotel project.
Charles “Lucky” Luciano
Charles “Lucky” Luciano is perhaps the most instrumental figure in establishing the modern National Syndicate. Luciano eventually rose to the head of his own family, the Luciano family, which is regarded as the most powerful family in America. Luciano was eventually convicted and imprisoned for running prostitution rings; although he continued to run the family from prison, he eventually stepped down as the official boss in favor of the family underboss at the time, Frank Costello. Luciano was released from prison during World War II in exchange for using his family and connections to secure vital shipping and shipbuilding facilities along the East Cost from German sabotage — but because he could not prove that he was a U.S. citizen, he was deported back to Italy. Luciano has now returned to the Americas, temporarily laying low in Havana while he attempts to find a way back into the U.S. and back into his old position.
Frank Costello is the current boss of the Luciano family, after the deportation of Lucky Luciano and exile of then-Luciano family underboss Vito Genovese to Italy. Previously, he served as consigliere to Luciano. Costello’s focus has been on more “white-collar” businesses, such as gambling, bookmaking, numbers-running, loans, and construction, rather than more “violent” activities. He is also significant Guarino Moretti Guarino “Willie Moore” Moretti is the current underboss of the Luciano family. Moretti’s operations, based out of New Jersey, have been more focused on gambling and entertainment. Moretti enjoys significant Hollywood connections, including being the godfather of Frank Sinatra, having helped him to rise in the entertainment industry, as well as close connections with other entertainers such as Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Milton Berle.
Umberto “Albert” Anastasia is the underboss of the Mangano family. Anastasia is largely in charge of the Syndicate’s “enforcement” activities. Anastasia also originated the plan for Luciano to exchange his family’s services for security during World War II for his pardon. Anastasia also served in the Army during the war, training soldiers as longshoremen — for his service, Anastasia received U.S. citizenship and was honorably discharged at the end of the war.
Joseph “Joe Bananas” Bonanno is the boss of the Bonanno family, succeeding Salvatore Maranzano, who had named himself capo di tutti capi, or boss of all bosses, and was later murdered by Lucky Luciano. The Bonanno family, while being the smallest of the Five Families, is also the most closely-knit, with little internal dissent. The Bonanno family maintains operations in loans, bookmaking, prostitution, as well as a number of legitimate business interests. Bonanno, who left and legally reentered the U.S. in the 1930s in order to obtain citizenship, does not practice the lavish lifestyles of his fellow bosses, although he does have a preference for expensive cigars.
Gaetano “Tommy Brown” Lucchese is the Gagliano family underboss. After suffering the amputation of his right thumb and index finger in an industrial accident in 1915, Lucchese fell in with Lucky Luciano and the other rising members of Cosa Nostra. After allying himself with Luciano during the family wars of the 1930s, Lucchese rose to underboss of the Gagliano family. The Gagliano family is mostly involved in the distribution of black market products. Lucchese became a naturalized citizen in 1943.
Giuseppe “Joe” Profaci is the boss of the Profaci family. After being released from prison in Sicily in 1921, Profaci emigrated to the U.S. and became a citizen. In 1925, Profaci moved to Brooklyn to enter the olive oil business and became involved with Cosa Nostra. At a meeting in 1928, Profaci was given control of his own family, which many believe was a result of his family connections back in Sicily. The Profaci family is highly involved in loans, bookmaking, prostitution, and narcotics trafficking, although Profaci maintains his lucrative olive oil business as a legitimate front.
Vito Genovese is currently a caporegime in the Luciano family. Genovese allied himself with Lucky Luciano during the wars of the 1920s, in which Genovese participated in the murders of most of the “old guard” bosses that allowed Luciano’s and Genovese’s generation to rise to power. When Luciano was imprisoned in the 30’s for running prostitution rings, Genovese became the acting head of the family. However, shortly thereafter, Genovese fled to Italy to avoid a murder charge in New York, and built up significant interests. Genovese went to work for the U.S. Army in Italy during World War II, but was arrested for running a black market of stolen Army goods. He was extradited back to New York earlier this year to face the murder charges he fled, but the case collapsed when key witnesses were found dead. With Frank Costello currently running the Luciano family, Genovese has been assigned his own crew to run as a caporegime.
Giuseppe Doto, a Luciano family caporegime who prefers to go by the self-appointed moniker “Joe Adonis”, likely related to his well-noted vanity and obsessive attention to personal grooming and his appearance. Adonis met Lucky Luciano during the 1920s, when Adonis became something of a gentleman bootlegger. Adonis also sided with Luciano during the wars of the 1920s when he alerted Luciano to several attempts on his life made by rival factions, and assisted in the murders of those faction leaders. Adonis is notable for having many New York politicians and law enforcement officials on his payroll, which he uses to assist other members of the Luciano family. Recently, Adonis has been establishing significant gambling rackets in New Jersey and South Florida.
Anthony Accardo is one of the leaders of the Chicago Outfit family, although many reports indicate that he is the true power behind the scenes, no matter who may have the title of boss. Accardo started off with one of the many street gangs in Chicago, then rose his way up the ranks as he became an enforcer (including allegedly being a part of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre) and bodyguard for Al Capone, saving him from several assassination attempts. After Capone was sent to prison for tax evasion, the new boss, Frank Nitti, of the Chicago Outfit gave Accardo his own crew, and named him head of enforcement for the Outfit. Accardo runs many profitable endeavors, such as gambling, bookmaking, loans, and untaxed alcohol and cigarettes. After Nitti committed suicide in 1943 to avoid a prison term, the new boss, Paul Ricca, officially named Accardo underboss. Ricca was shortly convicted for extortion himself, leaving Accardo as the de-facto boss.
Sam Giancana started out with a juvenile street gang ran by Chicago political boss Joseph Esposito, where Giancana developed a reputation for being a great “wheelman” (getaway driver), vicious enforcer, and high earner, which lead to him joining the Chicago Outfit in the late 1930s. Giancana was recently released from federal prison, and has convinced Anthony Accardo, the defacto boss of the Chicago Outfit, to take over the city’s African-American-run numbers games. Stefano Magaddino Stefano Magaddino is the boss of the Buffalo, NY area family, whose influences stretches from Ohio, through southern Ontario, to as far east as Montreal. Magaddino moved from the NYC area to Niagara Falls, NY, getting started in the bootlegging business, moving to loans, gambling, and labor after the end of Prohibition. Unlike other bosses, Magaddino prefers to keep a low-profile in the background, attracting as little attention to himself or his activities as possible. Given his position outside of New York City, Magaddino is also often called in to mediate disputes among the Five Families.
Carlos Marcello is the boss of the New Orleans area family. Like many other bosses, Marcello started out running with juvenile gangs, committing petty crimes throughout the French Quarter. After being released from prison in 1938 for the sale of marijuana, Marcello made the acquaintance of Frank Costello, the boss of the Luciano family. Marcello is currently in the process of consolidating his control of Louisiana’s gambling industry, in conjunction with Meyer Lansky, and also provides the muscle for the National Syndicate’s Florida real estate dealings.
Santo Trafficante is the boss of the Tampa-area family, which controls operations throughout Florida and Cuba, with the exception of the southeast coast cities of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Palm Beach, which are largely jointly controlled by the New York Five Families. Trafficante’s legitimate front includes several Havana area hotels, casinos, and restaurants, although Trafficante has interests in virtually all hotels and casinos in Cuba. Given his lucrative positions in gambling, Trafficante isn’t very interested “dirtying” Cosa Nostra by getting involved on a coordinated scale with the narcotics trade.
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