Frank Cosrello

Frank Cosrello

New York gangster
Date of Birth: 26.01.1891
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Frank Costello
  2. Early Criminal Career
  3. Transition to Organized Crime
  4. Partnership with Lucky Luciano
  5. The Castellammarese War
  6. The Kefauver Hearings and Later Years
  7. Decline and Assassination Attempt
  8. Later Life and Death

Biography of Frank Costello

Frank Costello, also known as the "Prime Minister of the Underworld," was a New York gangster who rose to the top of America's criminal world, controlling a vast empire of gambling in the United States and wielding political influence. He became one of the most powerful and influential mafia bosses in the history of the United States, eventually surpassing the Luciano crime family. Frank Costello, born Francesco Castiglia, was born on January 26, 1891, in a mountain village in Calabria, Italy. In 1900, he boarded a ship with his mother and brother Edward to join his father in the United States, who had arrived there a few years earlier and opened a small grocery store in East Harlem.

Frank Cosrello

Early Criminal Career

Costello was introduced to the criminal world by his brother Edward, and by the age of 13, he had become a member of a gang, using the name Frankie. He continued to commit petty crimes, and in 1908, 1912, and 1917, he found himself in prison for assaults and robberies. In 1918, he married a Jewish girl named Lauretta Giegerman, the sister of his close friend.

Frank Cosrello

Transition to Organized Crime

In the same year, Frank spent nine months in prison for illegal weapons transportation. After that, he decided to leave street crimes behind and use his brains for more sophisticated criminal activities. However, he claimed that he never carried a weapon. For the next 37 years of his life, Frank Costello never returned to prison.

Partnership with Lucky Luciano

Being part of the Morello gang, Costello met Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, the leader of the Manhattan gang on the Lower East Side. The two Italians immediately became friends and partners. Alongside their Italian-American partners, Vito Genovese, Gaetano "Tommy" Lucchese, and Jewish mobsters Meyer Lansky and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Frank began participating in robberies, thefts, extortions, and criminal activities related to drugs and gambling.

The Castellammarese War

In 1922, Costello, Luciano, and their closest associates joined the Sicilian Mafia headed by Giuseppe Masseria, the main boss of the Italian underworld. By 1924, Frank became a close ally of Irish criminal authorities Bill Dwyer and Owney Madden, participating in the rum-running operation known as "The Combine." During the 1920s, Costello remained a highly influential gangster, earning the nickname "Prime Minister of the Underworld" for his connections with New York's criminals, politicians, businessmen, judges, and police officers. He even reminisced about his criminal partnership in bootlegging with Joe Kennedy, the father of the future president.

The Kefauver Hearings and Later Years

In May 1950, the U.S. Senate conducted a high-profile investigation known as the "Kefauver Hearings." Over 600 gangsters, pimps, bookmakers, politicians, and lawyers defending gangsters were shown on television, testifying before Congress. During the hearings, Costello was named the "number one gangster" in America and the de facto leader of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party's New York organization.

Decline and Assassination Attempt

Troubles began for Costello with the murder of his right-hand man, Willie Moretti. In August 1952, he was accused of contempt of the Senate and sentenced to 18 months in prison. After serving only 14 months, he was charged with tax evasion in 1954 and sentenced to five years in prison. However, after 11 months, he was released by an appeals court. In 1956, Costello found himself in prison again, but he was released in early 1957. Vito Genovese declared war on Costello, and on May 2, 1957, shortly after his release, Costello was shot in an assassination attempt by Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, a driver and protege of Genovese. Despite being hit in the head, Costello survived and did not betray Gigante.

Later Life and Death

Recovering from the assassination attempt, Costello made peace with Genovese. Later, Genovese himself received a 15-year prison sentence and died in 1969. Frank Costello passed away at the age of 82 on February 18, 1973, due to a heart attack in a Manhattan hospital.