To reward Anastasia’s loyalty, Luciano placed him and Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, the nation’s leading labor racketeer, in control of the Syndicate’s enforcement arm, Murder, Inc. This was a group of Jewish and Italian killers that operated out of the back room of Midnight Rose’s, a candy store owned by mobster Louis Capone in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. Some experts claim
Murder Inc. may have executed over 500 persons. Lepke and many other members of Murder, Inc., eventually were prosecuted for some of these murders, while Anastasia was never prosecuted for his Murder Inc. role. Some even doubt that he even was involved, since he was the Underboss of a family during this time and he would have merely ordered the murders. As a cover, Anastasia claimed that he was a “sales representative” for the Convertible Mattress Corporation in Brooklyn.
On June 7, 1936, Luciano was convicted on 62 counts of compulsory prostitution. On July 18, 1936, Luciano received a 30 to 50-year sentence in state prison. Vito Genovese became acting boss, but he was forced to flee to Italy in 1937 after being indicted on a 1934 murder. Frank Costello now became acting boss of the Luciano crime family.
In May 1939, Anastasia allegedly ordered the murder of Morris Diamond, an official of a trucking union in Brooklyn. Diamond was a Teamsters Union official who had opposed mobster Louis Buchalter‘s attempts to maintain control of the Garment District in Manhattan.
With the 1941 arrest of Myrder Inc. hitman, Abe Reles, on murder charges, law enforcement began to take down Murder, Inc. Reles was a gang leader from Brownsville, Brooklyn who had been supplying Anastasia and Murder, Inc. with hired killers. To escape a death sentence, Reles volunteered to testify against Anastasia and others. His testimony convicted seven members of Murder Inc. Reles also had information that could implicate Anastasia two particular murders. Anastasia offered a $100,000 reward for Reles’ murder.
On November 12, 1941, Reles was being guarded in a room in the Half Moon hotel in Coney Island during an ongoing trial. Abe Reles was found dead on a restaurant roof adjacent to the hotel. Specualtion was that the law enforcement guards were paid off to turn the backs. The evidence appeared to indicate Reles had tied together sheets and fell as he attempted to slide down and escape.
In the spring of 1942, Anastasia allegedly ordered the murder of an associate named Anthony Romeo. Like Reles, Romeo was going to testify and implicate Anastasia in several murders. However shortly after, Romeo’s body was discovered near Guyencourt, Delaware.
During World War II, Anastasia purportedly originated the plan to use mafia members on the New York Waterfront to protect against German sabotage and to obtain the cooperation of the Sicilian mafia to help allied troops as they invaded. In return, Anastasia orchestrated a deal to obtain lighter treatment for Luciano while he was in prison, and after the war, a parole.
In 1942, Anastasia joined the U.S. Army. Attaining the rank of technical sergeant, Anastasia trained soldiers to be longshoremen. In 1943, as a reward for his military service, The Untied States Army made sure he was granted citizenship. In 1944, Anastasia was honorably discharged from the Army.
In 1948, Anastasia bought a dress making factory in Hazleton, Pennsylvania and left his waterfront activities in the control of his brother Anthony.
In 1951, the U.S. Senate summoned Anastasia to answer questions about organized crime at the Kefauver Hearings. Anastasia refused to answer any questions.
Despite being a mob power in his own right, Anastasia was nominally the underboss of the Mangano crime family under boss Vincent Mangano. During his 20-year rule, Mangano had resented Anastasia’s close ties to Luciano and Costello. Mangano was particularly irked that Luciano and Costello obtained Anastasia’s services without first seeking Mangano’s permission. This and other business disputes led to heated, almost physical fights between the two mobsters. In early 1951, Vincent Mangano went missing and his body was never found. On April 19, 1951, the body of Philip Mangano, shot three times, was discovered in a wetland in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn. No one was ever arrested in the Mangano murders, but it was widely assumed that Anastasia had them killed.
Thanks to Wikipedia for help with this.
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