Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel has always been one of my favorite criminals.
He was charming and deviant (likely why he was eventually so successful in Vegas as the visionary behind the Flamingo Hotel, which still stands today) and in spite of his close and obvious ties with the Genovese crime family he never did time. He was a bootlegger, one of the four gunmen who shot New York mob boss Joe Masseria to death on Lucky Luciano’s orders, among numerous other hired hits that marked the birth of modern American organized crime. In 1932, Siegel was arrested for gambling and bootlegging but got off with a fine.
In Vegas Siegel’s vision for the Flamingo would eventually bring the success that he had predicted, but not soon enough for his Genovese financiers who felt they had been swindled by a man too caught up in a lifestyle he didn’t deserve.
On June 20, 1947, while he was sitting in his girlfriend Virginia Hill's home, Siegel was gunned down by an unknown assailant with a .30-caliber military M1 carbine.
Then crime is still officially unsolved.
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