By: Bryan Reed
Vito Genovese was an Italian immigrant who started his criminal career in Manhattan at the age of fifteen. He began with small jobs like stealing from pushcarts and running errands for the mafia. One of his best childhood friends was Charles Luciano with whom he joined a gang run by Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria.
Rise and Fall
He assisted his friend Charles Luciano in the assassination of Giuseppe Masseria. He continued killing his rivals and eventually became the leader of the Genovese crime family. He was able to avoid the law for many years and even moved back to Italy to escape the FBI. While in Italy he joined the Italian Mofia, selling cocaine, and became friends with Benito Mussolini as protection from being deported back to the United States. He rose through the ranks and eventually returned to the United States to seek revenge on his biggest rivals. His luck ran out in July, 1958, when he was indicted for conspiring to import and distribute narcotics. On April 17, 1959, he was sentenced to serve 15 years in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary from where he remained in control of his empire, until he died in 1969.
Crimes He Comited
He killed off almost all of his rivals leaving no competition for his heroin ring. He was responsible for more than 50 deaths, but was never charged. He also had one of the first large scale heroin distribution networks which spread from Canada and major cities, into the entire continent. His net income was estimated at over $1,000,000 a year. His bounty changed regularly; it stayed in the thousands. Although, he pulled many gambling heists for fun as well as other larger jobs; he is most well known for expanding the heroin trade to an international level.
Vito Genovese: The Genovese Crime Family Boss (1897 - 1969)