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Top 5 Mafia Bosses Of The Last 100 Years

Updated on July 21, 2014
Semion Mogilevich.
Semion Mogilevich.

5. Semion Mogilevich

Semion Mogilevich is an Ukrainian organized crime boss born on the 30th of June, 1946, currently on FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted and considered the "boss of bosses" over most of the worlds Russian Mafia syndicates.

He was born in Kiev to a Jewish family. His intelligence and the degree in economics that he received at the age of 22 led to his nickname "Brainy Don". In 1991 Seva married his Hungarian girlfriend and moved to Budapest, at this point holding Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish and Hungarian citizenship.

Mogilevich started his crime life in the 1970s, by joining a crime group in Moscow that dealt with petty theft and fraud. In this period he also spent time in jail for currency-dealing offenses.

In the 1980 he took advantage of Russian and Ukrainian Jews that were emigrating to Israel on short notice, without the possibility of transferring their belongings. Mogilevich would offer to deal with the selling of their things and properties and to send the money to them after the deals were made. Instead of doing that he would invest the money in the black market and other criminal activities, by the 90s being already a millionaire.

His charges include fraud, racketeering, mail fraud, money laundering ( over 10 billion dollars through two of his banks), aiding and abetting and falsification.

Even tough he was arrested in 2008 for tax evasion he is now free, being considered to reside in Moscow.

Pablo Escobar.
Pablo Escobar.

4. Pablo Escobar

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gavíria was born on the 1st of December, 1949, in Rionegro, Colombia to a farmer and an elementary school teacher being the third of seven children. He became the head of the Medellin Drug Cartel, his childhood ambition was that of becoming a millionaire by the age of 22.

It is believed that his criminal life started with the theft and selling of gravestones, even tough shi brother denies this saying that the gravestones were of people that stopped paying for their spots in the cemetery thus receiving them from the cemetery owners.

Before the 1970s when he entered the drug world Escobar was involved in petty street scams, selling of contraband cigarettes, stealing cars and fake lottery tickets.

In 1975, after murdering Fabio Restrepo, a Medellin dealer, his reputation increased and gave start to the building of his drug empire. The cocaine operation was so proficient that in his prime Escobar was smuggling into the U.S. an estimated 15 tons of drugs a day, worth half a billion dollars. 2 500 dollars were spent a month just for rubber bands to wrap the money, deposited in warehouses in which 10% of the money was considered to be eaten by rats.

To avoid charges he used bribes and killings of authorities, and estimated 600 policemen dieing because of him. Despite these Escobar cultivated and Robin Hood persona amongst regular people, especially the poor, financing the construction of many churches, hospitals and sport facilities in the western part of Colombia.

Pablo Escobar died on the 2nd of December, 1993, after a 15 month effort of the U.S. and Colombian forces, his brothers believing that he was not killed but rather committed suicide.

Al Capone.
Al Capone.

3. Al Capone

Maybe the most recognizable name of the Mafia world, Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was born on the 17th of January, 1899, in Brooklyn, New York, to a family of Italian immigrants. He entered the crime world at a young age, after being expelled from school when he was 14, in his early 20s moving to Chicago to take advantage of the illegal smuggling of alcoholic beverages in the city caused by the Prohibition.

In New York Capone was the member of several gangs but his real mobster life started in Chicago, were he was recruited by his mentor Johnny Torrio that became the head of the local crime empire.

Taking advantage of Chicago's good position on Lake Michigan and its good railroad network, bootlegging became his main of the Torrio-Capone organization. They took control over the local authorities, threatening voters outside the polling stations not being an issue for their men. Other parts of the business included gambling and prostitution.

Despite his affiliation with the crime worlds Al Capone nurtured himself a good image in the public eye, with many donations to charity, making media statements such as: "I am just a businessman, giving the people what they want", and "All I do is satisfy a public demand".

Several years after serving some time at Alcatraz, Capone died, in 1947, of a stroke in his Florida mansion, in the last years of his life his mental and physical state being highly damaged by psychoneurosis that he contacted in his youth.

Salvatore Riina.
Salvatore Riina.

2. Salvatore Riina

Salvatore Riina, also called Toto, was born on the 16th of November, 1930, in Corleone, Sicily, Italy. After his fathers death, due to a failed attempt of emptying and American bomb of its gunpowder, the young Toto started a life of constant search for power, stating that not a bomb killed his father, but hunger.

Riina entered the Mafia world through the help of Luciano Leggio, the right hand of the Corleones Mafia boss, Michele Navarra, for which along with some of his friends committed a murder. Soon after this event the killing of a man with whom he had an argument led to an arrest and prison sentence of six years.

After getting out of jail Salvatore returned to the crime life and with the removal of Michele Navarra, under the rule of Luciano Leggio the Corleonesi started getting involved in the Mafia scene in Palermo. While in Cosa Nostra the Corleone family has always been seen as not of great interest, often being called peasants, due to the fact that their not so numerous family routed from a small village. The main money maker for them was heroin.

Despite being seen as underdogs Riina's intelligence and cold blooded attitude finally led to him becoming il capo dei capi. During his ascendance and rule the number of murders has escalated, taking the Mafia from a state of being considered non existent to being made aware of feared. With and old school approach and not being a fan of political games during his plays Toto murdered everybody that stood in his way, from police officers to high profile authority personalities to even mobster allies.

Lucky Luciano.
Lucky Luciano.

1. Charles "Lucky" Luciano

Charles "Lucky" Luciano(Salvatore Lucania was his birth name), was born on the 24th of November, 1897 in Sicily, Italy to a poor family. When Salvatore was 10 his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Manhattan, New York.

After dropping out of school and wining 244 dollars in a game of dice the 14 years old Luciano decided to make money on the street. While a teenager he started his own gang that offered protection to Jewish youngsters that would pay a tax, unlike other gangs that resume to petty crimes. During this time he met his future business partner, Meyer Lansky.

In the early 1920s Luciano started working for Arnold Rothstein, that saw the opportunity that the Prohibition had brought and initiated his and other future Mafia bosses in the business of bootlegging. He considered Rothstein as his mentor.

After Rothsteins death Lucky Luciano joined Mafia Boss Masseria whom he betrayed in a power play that made Masserias enemy, Maranzano, the most powerful Don. Taking over Masserias territories Luciano became Maranzanos right hand.

Maranzano divided the America-Italian gangs activating in New York into The Five Families and named himself il capo di tutti capi, thing that which Luciano seemed to agree upon. In fact he was just buying time until he would remove him and after doing so he abolished the term of boss of all bosses, but smartly kept on steering the works in his favor through hidden alliances with different families.

After reorganizing the Mafia Luciano set up the Commission, as an governing body through which organized crime would settle disputes and what each family controls.

Through his intelligence and innovations brought to the crime world Lucky Luciano is considered the father of modern organized mafia and one of the most influential men in its history.


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