Meyer Lansky (July 4, 1902 – January 15, 1983) was an American organized crime figure who, together with his colleague Charles “Lucky” Luciano, was pivotal in the formation of the National Crime Syndicate in the United States. This article includes the personal, and professional life and net worth of Meyer Lansky.
Early Life Of Meyer
Maier Suchowljansky was born on July 4, 1902, in Grodno, Russian Empire. He is from a Polish-Jewish family that faced Imperial antisemitism and pogroms. He usually said “Poland” when questioned about his home country.
Lansky moved to the United States in 1911 with his mother and brother Jacob through the port of Odesa. To joining his father, who had immigrated in 1909, and settling on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York. Lansky first encountered Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel as a kid.
They were longtime friends as well as bootlegging collaborators. They together ran the Bugs and Meyer Mob, which named as one of the most brutal Prohibition gangs. Lansky also had a close friendship with Charles “Lucky” Luciano, whom he met as a youngster. At the time when Luciano tried to blackmail Lansky for protection money on his way home from school.
Luciano admired the younger boy’s stubborn reactions to his warnings, and the two forged a lasting alliance as a result. They would later join with seasoned mobster Arnold Rothstein until his assassination in 1928.
Luciano had a vision of forming a national crime syndicate in which the Italian, Jewish, and Irish gangs could pool their resources. They turn organized crime into a profitable business for all. He founded an organization which following a conference in Atlantic City in May 1929.
What was the net worth of Meyer Lansky?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Meyer Lansky was an American organized crime figure who, after adjusting for inflation, had a net worth of $600 million at the time of his death. The FBI believes he left $300-$400 million in undisclosed bank accounts throughout the world after his death. As of this writing, the funds have never been located.
Professional Life of Meyer Lansky
By 1918, he and the American criminal Bugsy Siegel were operating a floating craps game. They had moved to the immensely profitable business of vehicle theft and reselling. Throughout the 1920s, Lansky’s gang expanded into burglaries, liquor smuggling, and other rackets. Moreover, it fell under the control of criminal kingpin Giuseppe Masseria.
Lansky and Siegel had also created a team of professional assassins for hire. Also, the template for Louis Buchalter and Albert Anastasia’s Murder, Inc. In 1928, Lansky became a naturalized citizen.
Lansky allegedly convinced the Italian-born mob leader Lucky Luciano to have Masseria murdered in 1931. They supplied Siegel’s services for this purpose, making the four-man “hit team” representative of the major New York mafia groups.
From 1932 to 1969
Between 1932 and 1934, Lansky joined Luciano and American mobster Johnny Torrio, among others, in building the national crime syndicate. Ultimately, he became one of its key overseers and bankers, frequently laundering money through overseas accounts.
By 1936, Lansky had established gambling operations in Florida and New Orleans, as well as in Cuba, where he negotiated payoffs for Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. He also financed Siegel’s Las Vegas casino expansions (and had Siegel executed in 1947, after Siegel welshed on the syndicate).
Lansky went to the Bahamas when Fidel Castro took control in Cuba in 1959, developing casinos on Grand Bahama and Paradise islands in the 1960s after cultivating official collaboration. He soon expanded his gambling enterprise to other parts of the Caribbean and even to London.
He was involved in drug trafficking, pornography, prostitution, labor racketeering, and extortion. As well as legitimate businesses such as hotels, golf courses, and a meatpacking facility. Money was in Swiss banks.
Fearing both a grand jury summons and an indictment for income tax evasion, he fled to Israel in 1970, hoping to remain under the Law of Return; nevertheless, Israel finally evicted him, and he ended himself back in the United States facing many prosecutions.
He was convicted of grand jury contempt in 1973, but the conviction was reversed on appeal, and he was acquitted of income-tax evasion. Indictments on further offenses were dropped in 1974, owing in part to his severe illness.
The House Assassinations Committee concluded its two-year examination of the Warren Commission report in 1979, linking Lansky to Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who assassinated US President John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
Information About Lansky’s Death
Lansky retired in Miami. Lansky lived his final years in peace at his house in Miami Beach, Florida. He was 80 years old when he died of lung cancer on January 15, 1983, leaving a wife and three children.
On paper, Lansky was nearly worthless. At the time, the FBI suspected he left behind more than $300 million in concealed bank accounts, but they were never able to locate the funds. This equates to $668 million in 2020 dollars.
Lansky’s biographer, Robert Lacey, recalls his financial difficulties in the latter two decades of his life, as well as his failure to pay for health treatment for his disabled son, who died in poverty. There was no evidence, according to Lacey, “to maintain the image of Lansky as the brains, the hidden mover, the inspirer, and director of American organized crime.”
He finds, based on evidence including interviews with surviving family members, that Lansky’s wealth and power were greatly inflated. Lansky’s second wife’s granddaughter informed author T.J. English that when he died in 1983, he left behind $57,000 in cash, which is equivalent to $127,000 in 2020 dollars.
When asked what went wrong in Cuba in his final years, the mobster made no excuses. “I crapped out,” he said. Lansky even went so far as to say that he had lost practically all of his money in Cuba and was just getting by.
Did they ever find Meyer Lansky’s money?
He was 80 years old when he died of lung cancer on January 15, 1983, leaving a wife and three children. On paper, Lansky was nearly worthless. At the time, the FBI suspected he left behind more than $300 million in concealed bank accounts, but they were never able to locate the funds. This equates to $668 million in 2020 dollars.