Charles "Lucky" Luciano

by Bryan Reed

Charles Luciano, born Salvatore Luciana, was born November 24, 1897, in Lercara Friddi, Italy. As a child his family relocated to New York, where Charles suffered in school because of his poor English skills. Although he struggled in school, he was able to get by off of beating up people who did not pay him enough for his protection. He continued his life of crime eventually forming a small gang who committed petty crimes together and then went on to form a bootlegging gang. By 1925, his gross income was more than $12,000,000 per year, but he only reported $22,000 yearly to the IRS. He later joined a group led by Joe Masseria. Having a problem with having a boss over him, he organized Masseria's assassination, in 1931, to take his place. Six people, including Masseria and another mob boss, were killed in the firefight. After killing many more of his rivals, he became a powerful crime boss; running one of the largest bootlegging organizations in the United States. For years he was able to evade the law, but in 1963, he was arrested in Little Rock, Arkansas, and charged with 60 counts of compulsory prostitution. He was given a 30 year prison sentence, but was able to make a deal and avoid jail-time as long as he stayed out of the United States. His nickname "Lucky" came about when a rival gang nearly killed him in an assassination attempt. Today, he is considered one of the big six; but more importantly, he is considered the father of modern organized crime.