Charles “Lucky” Luciano , nascut sub numele de Salvatore Lucania (24 Noiembrie 1897 –
26 Ianuarie 1962) , a fost un renumit gangster americano-sicilian . Luciano este considerat
parintele crimei organizate moderne si creierul din spatele expansiunii postbelice a traficului
de heroina . Revista americana Times l-a adaugat in top 20 al celor mai influenti constructori
si titani ai secolului 20 .
Salvatore Lucania s-a nascut la 24 Noiembrie 1897 in localitatea siciliana Lercara
Friddi , din parintii Antonio si Rosalia Lucania . Promisiunea unei vieti mai bune a determinat
familia sa se mute in America , la inceputul anului 1907 . Odata ajunsi in Insula Ellis ,
Lucania se imbolnaveste de varicela , boala ce ii va afecta aspectul fetei tot restul vietii .
Stabiliti la New York intr-un cartier de evrei , Salvatore isi incepe cariera de infractor jefuind
tinerii evrei in drum spre scoala . Dupa mai multe “vizite” in centrele pentru infractorii
juvelini , se hotaraste sa isi schimbe numele in Charles datorita rusinii cauzate familiei .
In 1919 guvernul american a interzis productia si comercializarea alcoolului pe
teritoriul Statelor Unite ale Americii , fapt ce a dus la expansiunea industriei ilegale de alcool .
Intre 1920-1925 Luciano isi dezvolta , cu ajutorul altor gangsteri ai vremii , o uriasa afacere
cu alcool , afacere ce ii aducea un profit anual de cateva sute de mii de dolari . Importa scotch
direct din Scotia , rom din Caraibe si whiskey din Canada . Pe langa afacerile cu alcoolul ,
mai era implicat in jocurile de noroc , dar in acest moment Luciano deja facea parte din bossii
mafiei din New York .
In curand Luciano isi va uni fortele cu Joe “the Boss” Messeria . In timp ce primul era
adeptul unui nou stil de gangster , Messeria dorea ca vechile reguli italiene sa se respecte .
Dupa o incercare esuata de asasinare , actiune ce i-a lasat cicatricile din jurul ochiului ,
Luciano se va razbuna pornind celebrul Razboi Castellammarese . Acest razboi , dus intre anii
1928-1931 , va avea ca rezultat moartea multor mafioti ai vremurilor , cat si uciderea lui
Messeria . Se presupune ca Luciano lua masa impreuna cu Messeria in momentul in care
asasinii au tras focuri de arma asupra ultimului . Ca urmare , bossul de atunci , Sal
Marazano , il numeste pe Luciano capul celor Cinci Familii ale New Yorkului , promitandu-le
egalitate si libertate totala . Aceasta numire nu a durat mult fiindca Luciano , afland ca Il Capi
Di Tutti Capi doreste sa-l asasineze , va organiza o trupa de gangsteri si-l va executa pe
Marazo exact in ziua in care acesta urma sa angajeze asasinul lui Luciano .
Lucky Luciano devenise cel mai puternic si influent om din organizatia italiana . Avand
afaceri in majoritatea domeniilor de la vremea respectiva , era considerat ca unul din cei mai
respectati oameni ai New Yorkului . Vazand ca titlul de “Capi di tutti capi” creaza mari
tensiuni intre familii , acesta renunta la denumire , multumindu-se cu pastrarea ritualurilor de
initiere si cu renumitul cod al tacerii , Omerta . Luciano organizeaza Comisia , un fel de Curte
Suprema de Judecata alcatuita din capii celor Cinci Familii ale New Yorkului , comisie care
va judeca orice act de violenta petrecut pe teritoriile controlate de Mafie . Desi cei cinci
“capi” aveau drepturi egale , in realitate Lucky Luciano era cel dintai dintre “egali” .
Dominatia lui Luciano a fost de scurta durata . In 1936 , procurorul special Thomas
Dewey reuseste sa il aduca in fata judecatorului sub acuzatia de proxenetism . Ca urmare a
acestei acuzatii , Lucky Luciano este condamnat la 30-50 ani de inchisoare , insa reuseste sa
fuga in Hot Springs , Arkansas , inaintea unei decizii finale a tribunalului . Dewey reuseste
totusi sa il prinda si sa il intemniteze . Luciano va conduce afacerile mafiei din inchisoare ,
atribuindu-i functia de Boss lui Vito Genovese , o persoana extrem de violenta . Inceputul
celui de-al Doilea Razboi Mondial il gaseste pe Luciano in inchisoare , dar capabil sa ajute
guvernul american cu informatii provenite de la mafia siciliana . Drept rasplata pentru ajutorul
acordat , guvernul american il gratiaza in 1946 , cu singura conditie de a se intoarce in Sicilia .
Desi profund dezamagit de aceasta decizie , Lucky Luciano va parasi New Yorkul si , implicit
, Statele Unite , cu destinatia Sicilia .
Ajuns in Sicilia , Lucky Luciano se va muta in secret in Cuba de unde isi va relua
activitatile ilegale de pe teritoriul SUA , cu ajutorul dictatorului Baptista . Incercand sa isi
recapete titlul de Capo si tutti capi , Luciano este tradat de Genovese si se intoarce in subtil in
Sicilia unde renunta la orice implicare in Mafie . Sfarsitul vietii il gaseste cinand in cele mai
elegante restaurante din Italia , locuind in cele mai extravagante apartamente si in compania
celor mai frumoase femei .
Pe parcursul vietii Luciano a refuzat orice propunere venita din partea scenaristilor de
la Hollywood , motivand atentia pe care o va primi mafia italiana din State . Dupa moartea
iubirii sale de o viata , Lucky accepta o intalnire cu un producator de filme . Cand avionul
acestuia ateriza pe Aeroportul International din Napoli , inima lui Lucky Luciano cedeaza .
Charles Lucky Luciano moare din cauza unui infarct la data de 26 Ianuarie 1962 . Este
inmormantat in Cimitirul Sfantul John din Queens , New York . Chiar si astazi este considerat
cel mai mare mafiot al tuturor timpurilor datorita implicarii sale in stabilirea Cosei Nostra in
Statele Unite ale Americii si datorita traficului de heroina pe ruta Sicilia – New York .
Lucky Luciano ocupa locul 9 in topul celor mai brutali criminali din toate timpurile ,
top realizat de Jeff Brown in 2006 . Restul topului , saptamanile viitoare .
Charlie "Lucky" Luciano (born Salvatore Lucania; November 24, 1897 – January 26,
1962) was an Italian mobster born in Sicily. Luciano is considered the father of modern
organized crime in America for splitting New York City into five different Mafia crime
families and the establishment of the first commission. He was the first official boss of the
modern Genovese crime family. He was, along with his associate Meyer Lansky, instrumental
in the development of the "National Crime Syndicate" in the United States.
1 Early life
3 Rise to power
4 Reorganizing Cosa Nostra
5 The Commission
6 The original Luciano family
7 Prosecutions and prison
8 World War II, freedom and deportation
9 The Havana Conference
10 Operating in Italy
11 Personal life
12 American power struggle
13 Death and legacy
14 Media portrayals
15 See also
 Early life
Salvatore Lucania was born on November 24, 1897 in Lercara Friddi, Sicily. His parents,
Antonio and Rosalia Lucania, had four other children: Bartolomeo (born 1890), Giuseppe
(born 1898), Filippia (born 1901), and Concetta (born 1903). When Charlie was 10 years old
(1907), the family migrated to the United States. They settled in New York City, a
common destination for Sicilian immigrants at that time.
While a teenager, he started his own gang. Unlike the other street gangs whose business was
to pickpocket, mug, and steal, Lucania decided to offer protection to the Jewish kids who
were always picked on by Italian and Irish kids. He would charge ten cents per week for each
By the age of 20, he was well integrated into the crime scene in the Lower East Side, being
involved in theft, extortion, and drug trafficking (for which he served a six-month prison
term in 1916). He also became life-long friends with Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky.
On January 17, 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The
Amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages.
Prohibition remained in force until its repeal in 1933. This gave every gangster on the street a
new source of revenue through illegal alcohol sales. Around this time, Luciano worked for
Luciano had plans to expand his territory and expand his profits by collaborating with other
gangsters to cut down the cost of political protection and reduce the likelihood of hijacked
shipments. But Joe "The Boss" Masseria forbade Luciano to do this.
By 1921, Luciano had met many Mafia heavyweights, including Vito Genovese and Frank
Costello, his longtime friend, business partner, and eventually Sottocapo through his
involvement in the Five Points Gang. Together they began a bootlegging operation.
By 1925, Luciano was grossing over $12 million a year; however, he was netting much less
each year due to the high costs of bribing politicians and police. Luciano and his partners ran
the largest bootlegging operation in New York, one that also extended into Philadelphia. He
imported scotch whisky directly from Scotland, rum from the Caribbean, and whiskey from
Canada. He was also involved in gambling.
 Rise to power
At an early age Luciano had established himself as a creative criminal on the Lower East Side
and eventually worked his way up to being a top aide to crime boss Joe Masseria. In the 1920s
Masseria was involved in a prolonged turf war with rival crime boss Salvatore Maranzano.
Masseria was a Mustache Pete, an old-school mafioso who wanted to preserve the old Mafia
ideals of honor, tradition, respect and dignity. Luciano and his contemporaries who had started
their criminal careers in the United States were known as the Young Turks. Like the original
Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire, they formed a young and ambitious group which
challenged the established order. The Mustache Petes would not work with anyone who was
not Italian, and were skeptical of working with anyone who was not Sicilian. Luciano
believed that as long as money was being made, the family should deal with anyone.
The Castellammarese War raged from 1928 to 1931, resulting in the deaths of as many as 60
mobsters. The war was nominally between Maranzano and Masseria. In truth, however,
there was a third, secret faction, made up of Luciano and several other Young Turks from both
the Masseria and Maranzano factions. In addition to Luciano, this group included Frank
Costello, Vito Genovese, Albert Anastasia, Joe Adonis, Joe Bonanno, Carlo Gambino, Joe
Profaci, Tommy Gagliano and Tommy Lucchese. They believed the Mustache Petes' greed
was pushing them to the fringe while the Irish and Jewish gangs got rich. Luciano was already
making plans to get rid of the Mustache Petes and form a national crime syndicate in which
the Italian, Jewish and Irish gangs could pool their resources and turn organized crime into a
lucrative business for all.
In 1929, Luciano was forced into a limo at gun point by three men, beaten and stabbed, and
dumped on a beach on New York Bay. He somehow survived the ordeal but was forever
marked with a scar and droopy eye. His survival earned him the name Lucky although he
may already have earned this nickname in his younger days because of his luck at avoiding
police. After his abduction Luciano found out through Meyer Lansky that it had been
ordered by Masseria's enemy, Salvatore Maranzano. In an ironic twist Luciano later cut a
secret deal with Maranzano in which Luciano agreed to engineer Masseria's death in return
for being made Maranzano's second-in-command. This deal would end the famous
Luciano kept up his end of the bargain when he invited Masseria and two other associates to
have lunch in a Coney Island restaurant. When they finished their lunch, they decided to play
a game of cards. At that point Luciano stepped into the men's washroom. While Luciano was
in the washroom, four gunmen--Bugsy Siegel, Vito Genovese, Albert Anastasia and Joe
Adonis—walked into the restaurant and shot and killed Masseria and the other two associates.
Luciano then took over Masseria's crime family.
Maranzano then made Luciano his number two, and set up the Five Families of New York.
The newly formed families were headed by Maranzano, Luciano, Profaci, Gagliano and
Vincent Mangano. Maranzano promised that they would all be equal and all be free to make
money. However, while Maranzano was slightly more forward-thinking than Masseria, at
heart he was still a Mustache Pete. He showed this at a later meeting of the crime bosses in
Upstate New York, when he declared himself capo di tutti capi (Boss of all Bosses). He also
whittled down the rackets of the rival families in order to strengthen his own family.
Maranzano soon realized that Luciano was a threat, and hired Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, a
notoriously violent Irish gangster, to kill him. However, Lucchese alerted Luciano that he was
marked for death. When Maranzano ordered Luciano and Genovese to come to his office at
230 Park Avenue in New York City on September 10, Luciano suspected they wouldn't come
out alive. He had four Jewish gangsters pose as government agents and show up at
Maranzano's office. While two of the "agents" disarmed Maranzano's bodyguards, the other
two stabbed Maranzano multiple times before shooting him.
 Reorganizing Cosa Nostra
Luciano now had businesses throughout the country. His longtime friend Meyer Lansky
served as his right-hand man and adviser. When Dutch Schultz decided he was going to kill
Manhattan District Attorney Thomas Dewey, in direct violation of Luciano's orders, Schultz
was executed instead.
Luciano had reached the pinnacle of America's underworld, directing criminal rules, policies
and activities along with the other family bosses. He ran a powerful crime family which now
bore his name, and he controlled lucrative criminal rackets such as gambling, bookmaking,
loan-sharking, drug trafficking and extortion. Luciano was very influential in labor and union
activities and controlled the Manhattan Waterfront, garbage hauling, construction, Garment
Center businesses and trucking.
Luciano abolished the title of Capo Di Tutti i Capi, insisting that the position created tension
and trouble between the families. He felt that the ceremony of being 'made a soldier' in a
family should be done away with. Meyer Lansky however, urged him against it, arguing that
young people needed rituals to cling to. Luciano also stressed the importance of the omertà,
the oath of silence, and kept the organizational structure that Maranzano had instituted.
 The Commission
Luciano, under the urging of Johnny Torrio, set up the Mafia's governing body. He organized
the Commission with the Mafia family bosses. The Commission settled all disputes between
families. It has been called Luciano's most important innovation. The Commission decided
which families controlled which territories. If an individual was to be a "made man", his boss
had to first go before The Commission and receive their approval.
The Commission was originally composed of representatives of the Five Families of New
York City, the Philadelphia crime family, the Buffalo crime family, Los Angeles crime family
and the Chicago Outfit of Al Capone; later, the Detroit crime family, Kansas City crime
family were added. All Commission members were supposed to retain the same power and
had one vote, but in reality some families and bosses were more powerful than others.
 The original Luciano family
Luciano elevated his most trusted and loyal family members to high-level positions in the
Luciano crime family. The feared Vito Genovese became his Underboss, while Frank Costello
was his consigliere. Michael "Trigger Mike" Coppola, Anthony Strollo, Joe Adonis, and
Anthony Carfano all served as caporegimes. Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were both
unofficial advisors to the Luciano family.
 Prosecutions and prison
Luciano's reign was relatively short-lived. Special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey, a future
Republican presidential candidate (later Luciano himself affirmed that the Commission had
done everything they could in order for Dewey to become President in exchange for Luciano's
return to America), singled out Luciano as an organized crime ringleader and targeted him,
along with others. Luciano had previously voted against Dutch Schultz's proposal to
assassinate Dewey after Schultz became the repeated target of Dewey's investigations.
In a raid by Dewey of 80 New York City brothels, hundreds of arrested prostitutes agreed to
turn state's evidence in exchange for not receiving prison time. Three of them implicated
Luciano as the ringleader, who made collections, although David "Little Davey" Betillo was
in charge of the prostitution ring in New York, and any money that Luciano received was
from Betillo. But Dewey had also managed to persuade the staff at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
to lie and say that Luciano's gangster friends had often come to his room.
It is believed by almost all mob experts[who?] that Dewey framed Luciano, since Mafia did not
bother with prostitution, and also Luciano meeting with hookers to collect money seemed
absurd, considering his position as boss. Before he could get Luciano into court for trial,
Luciano escaped to Hot Springs, Arkansas, the renowned gangster haven established by
famous gangster Owney Madden. An Arkansas judge remanded Luciano to a state prison for
extradition, but a local paid-off police detective bailed Luciano out of jail after only four
hours. Dewey then sent detectives to Arkansas to spirit Luciano back for trial.
Dewey's efforts succeeded in Luciano being convicted on charges as leader of one of the
largest prostitution rings in American history in 1936 and sentenced to 30 to 50 years in
prison, along with Dave Betillo and others. Dewey exposed Luciano for lying on the witness
stand, through direct quizzing and records of telephone calls; Luciano also had no explanation
for why his federal income tax records claimed he made only $22,000 a year, while it was
obvious to onlookers that he was a wealthy man.
Luciano continued to run the Luciano crime family from prison and his prison cell, relaying
his orders through his first acting boss, Vito Genovese. Genovese had quickly lived up to his
feared reputation for violence, and soon fled to Naples, Italy, in 1937 to avoid a murder
indictment. The Family's third most powerful member, Consigliere Frank Costello became the
new Sottocapo and overseer of Luciano's interests. It is a mystery to most organized crime
historians just who it was that had replaced Costello as the family consigliere. The only hint to
the Costello successor came from Joe Valachi. Valachi was a former soldier in the Genovese
Family and the first major mafia informer in the United States. Valachi mentions, in the book
The Valachi Papers , written by Peter Maas, a certain "Sandino," as the Family counselor. The
mysterious "Sandino" was whispered about at a meeting Valachi attended with his Capo,
Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo.
Luciano was imprisoned in Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, where codefendant Dave Betillo prepared special dishes for Luciano in a special kitchen set aside by
authorities. He would use his influence to help get the materials to build a church at the
prison, which became famous for being one of the only freestanding churches in the New
York State correctional system and also for the fact that on the church's altar are two of the
original doors from the Victoria, the ship of Ferdinand Magellan.
 World War II, freedom and deportation
During World War II, the U.S. government reportedly struck a secret deal with the imprisoned
Luciano. United States Army Military Intelligence knew that Luciano maintained good
connections in the Sicilian and Italian Mafia, which had been severely persecuted by Benito
Mussolini. Luciano considered himself to be a loyal American who was devoted to Sicily, the
Mafia, and the United States alike. His help was sought in providing Mafia assistance to
counter possible Axis infiltration on U.S. waterfronts, during Operation Avalanche, and his
connections in Italy and Sicily were tapped to furnish intelligence and ensure an easy passage
for U.S. forces involved in the Italian Campaign. Albert Anastasia, who controlled the docks,
promised that no dockworker strikes would arise. Both during and after the war, the U.S.
military and intelligence agencies reputedly also used Luciano's Mafia connections to root out
communist influence in labor groups and local governments. In return for his cooperation,
Luciano was permitted to run his crime empire unhindered from his jail cell.
Luciano would later say that his contribution to the war effort had been a sham, designed
purely to obtain his release from prison. The enemy threat to the docks, he said, had been
manufactured by the sinking of the SS Normandie directed by Anastasia's brother, Anthony
Anastasio. The Normandie, a captured French passenger vessel, was being refitted as a
troop ship in New York harbor. Furthermore, said Luciano, he did next to nothing to help the
war effort in Italy.
In 1946, as a reward for his presumed wartime cooperation, Luciano was paroled on the
condition that he depart the United States and return to Sicily. He accepted the deal, although
he had maintained during his trial that he was a native of New York City and was therefore
not subject to deportation. He was deeply hurt about having to leave the United States, a
country he had considered his own ever since his arrival at age ten. During his exile, Luciano
used to meet US military men during train trips throughout Italy, and he enjoyed being
recognized by his countrymen and tourists, taking photos and even signing autographs for
 The Havana Conference
Although Luciano was paroled from prison on the condition that he permanently return to
Sicily, he secretly moved to Cuba, where he worked to resume control over American mafia
operations. Meyer Lansky started investing heavily in a Cuban hotel project.
In 1946, Lansky called together the heads of all the major Families, claiming that they were
going to see Frank Sinatra perform. Luciano had three topics to discuss: the heroin trade,
Cuban gambling, and what was to be done about Bugsy Siegel. The Conference took place at
the Hotel Nacional de Cuba and lasted a little more than a week.
One of the main topics for discussion at the Havana Conference was ordering a hit on Siegel,
who was unaware of this meeting. Meyer Lansky, who several times owed his life to Siegel
when they were young, took a stand against the hit. He begged the attendees to give Siegel a
chance by waiting until after the casino opening. Luciano, who believed Siegel could still turn
a profit in Las Vegas, Nevada, and pay back what he owed the mafia investors, agreed to
postpone the hit.
To placate his investors, Siegel opened Flamingo Las Vegas, his still-unfinished casino, on the
star-studded night of December 26, 1946, although he did not have as many Hollywood
celebrities with him as he had hoped. Soon the Flamingo ran dry of entertainers and
customers; it closed after only two weeks in order to resume construction. The fully
operational Flamingo re-opened in March 1947. Still dissatisfied, the casino's gangster
investors once again met in Havana in the spring of 1947 to decide whether to murder Siegel.
Luckily for Siegel, the Flamingo had just turned a profit that month. Lansky again spoke up in
support of his old friend and convinced Luciano to give Siegel one last chance. However,
when the Flamingo still failed to turn a profit, Siegel's fate was sealed; he was killed by four
shots fired through a window at his girlfriend's California home in June 1947.
The deposed Luciano asked that he be declared Capo Di Tutti i Capi. His old friends and
business associates agreed that he deserved the title; all except Vito Genovese, who wanted
the title for himself and is rumored to have leaked Luciano's whereabouts to the government.
Luciano reportedly took him into a room and beat him severely for his betrayal.
When the US government learned of Luciano's presence in the Caribbean, he was forced to
fly back to Italy. The US government threatened to stop all shipments of medical drugs to
Cuba unless Luciano left.
 Operating in Italy
In his later years, Luciano came into conflict with Lansky over the amount of money he was
receiving from Mafia operations in the early 1960s. Luciano's failing health hampered him
from putting up much of a fight in the matter.
Luciano, however, was not willing to give up without a fight. He bought out the major interest
in an Italian candy company that sold confetti. Interpol and the US Government believed that
this was little more than a way for Luciano to ship heroin under the radar of the government.
The government, not willing to believe that Luciano retired, smashed sixty crates of confetti
without finding a single gram of heroin. After the unsuccessful raid, Luciano was exiled from
Living in Naples, Luciano immersed himself in the high life of Italian culture, dining in the
finest restaurants and living in luxurious apartments with the love of his life. In old age,
Luciano also became a charitable man, financially helping many poor Italians before he set up
a medical supply store as a front for his illegal businesses. But no matter how much success
he achieved, Luciano was homesick. He would often talk with G.I.s and tourists in the
California restaurant for the sole purpose of hearing the New York accent.
 Personal life
After being deported to Italy, Luciano fell in love with Igea Lissoni, an Italian dancer 20 years
his junior. They lived together peacefully until they learned that there was a hit contract on
Luciano, and the two went into hiding. They changed apartments many times throughout the
months and moved from hotel to hotel before the hit was called off.
Barred from Rome after the hit was called off, the two lived together in Luciano's 60-room
house on Via Tasso in Naples. Igea was reportedly the center of Luciano's life, so when she
died of breast cancer, he began to fall apart, as did his control of the American syndicate and
his own projects based out of Italy. After living together for 11 years, there was never any
confirmation that the two ever married. If they had, it would have been illegal, since Luciano's
deportation barred him from marriage.
 American power struggle
During his exile, Luciano missed a major power shift in America. Vito Genovese, who was at
one time Luciano's Underboss, had decided that he wanted to take over the Luciano Family.
After a botched 1957 assassination attempt on Costello by Vinnie "The Chin" Gigante,
Costello stepped down as Don and let Genovese take over. But Genovese wanted to take out
It was at the famous Apalachin Meeting, later in 1957, that Genovese planned to propose to
The Commission that Luciano be stripped of his title as Capo Di Tutti i Capi, and that he be
crowned Boss of all Bosses. But he did not count on Carlo Gambino, one of Luciano's
protégés, to hold loyalty to his old Boss.
Costello, Luciano, and Gambino met in a hotel in Palermo, Sicily, to discuss their plan of
 Death and legacy
Luciano was reportedly told not to promote or participate in films about his life, as it would
have attracted unnecessary attention to the mob. He relented after Igea Lissoni died of breast
cancer and was scheduled to meet with a movie producer arriving by plane at the Naples
Airport. On January 26, 1962, Luciano died of a heart attack at Naples International Airport.
Back in 1946 after serving his prison sentence, Luciano had been deported and thus denied
entry into the United States, but in death his desire was granted. He was buried in St. John's
Cemetery in Queens. More than 2,000 mourners attended his funeral. His longtime friend,
Carlo Gambino, spoke at the funeral.
Carlo Gambino was the only other boss besides Luciano to have complete control of the
Commission and virtually every Mafia family in the United States. Luciano, unlike many
Italian gangsters in the days of his rise to the top, was prepared to do dealings with nonItalians mainly of Jewish descent. As much as it was resented by his fellow Italians, it paid
dividends. With the help of his Jewish associates he reinvented the mob into the most
powerful crime syndicate the United States has ever witnessed and, in the process, oversaw
the golden era of the Italian-American Mafia. Lucky Luciano made what was then an
unprecedented mafia coup, facilitating the murders of two of the most feared bosses Joe
Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano. At the peak of his criminal career Lucky Luciano's
influence was far reaching to the extent that the United States government through the FBI
approached him for help in protecting the Navy fleet in New York and with the invasion of
Italy to defeat Mussolini in World War 2. Luciano's contribution led to his release from prison
in February 1946. In popular culture proponents of the mafia and its history often debate as to
who was the greater between Luciano and his contemporary Al Capone. The much publicized
exploits of Al Capone with the Chicago Outfit made him the most famous mobster in
American history, however Capone did not command influence over other mafia families;
something Luciano did in creating and running The Commission. For being the mafia
hegemon in the era of landmark mobsters like Albert Anastasia, Frank Costello, Meyer
Lansky, Bugsy Seigel, Tommy Lucchese, Carlo Gambino and Vito Genovese all of whom he
led, Charles Lucky Luciano is thus considered by many as the most powerful mafia boss of all
TIME magazine deplored Luciano as the "criminal mastermind" among the top 20 most
influential builders and titans of the 20th century.