1891 - 1973

In his time, one of master brains behind organized crime in New York, nick-named "Prime Minister", for his contacts through city hall and across the country.

Born in Cosenza, Italy, January 26, 1891. Moved together with his family to East Harlem, New York, USA on 1895. In his youth he was pulled into the crime world and became head of the infamous 104th Street Gang. He was arrested and found guilty in 1915 of carrying a concealed weapon.

On his release from prison he decided to be more devious and smooth, and became involved in more serious crime. Costello joined the Lucky Luciano gang, and after he was deported to Italy, Costello ran his interests in the United States.

While in his twenties, he teamed with his childhood friends Meyer Lansky, and Charlie Luciano, and then along with Benny Siegel, he started making contacts in the political rings and the group formed a powerful force in the underworld. Costello did very well, dealing with the police, judges, mayors, and governors that ran the city. Costello was "doing favors" for people that would allow the group to operate freely.

The crime syndicate became bigger and started getting more attention from the media and government. Despite, the FBI lead by J. Edgar Hoover did nothing to persecute it. There are two theories about this. One, is that Hoover had gambling habits, and Costello made sure that he kept winning in horse races. The more Hoover won, the more he denied the existence of organized crime or doing anything concerning it. The other theory suggest that Hoover was involved in homosexual activities and the syndicate has blackmailed him with the hold of evidences about his activities.

After Prohibition ended, Costello switched to making money by investing in gambling, He set up fake storefronts, such as butcher shops and grocery stores, to hide and cover the gambling activities of card tables and crap games.

Costello liked to be anonymous. In the Kefauver Committee hearings he requested not to photograph his face. The camera instead concentrated on his hands and he gain recognition for his fast hand movement and raspy voice. His voice inspired Marlon Brando's portrayal of an underworld boss.

In 1951 Costello was convicted and sentenced to 18 months for contempt of court. This was followed by five years in prison for income-tax evasion. Out on bail, Costello was shot in his hotel lobby. It was believed that a rival gang leader, Vito Genovese, had taken out a contract on Costello's life. Costello survived and served another spell in prison for contempt of court, before dying of a heart attack on February 18, 1973.

summarized from sources:

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.