Born in 1882 into a religious Jewish family, Arnold Rothstein grew up to become the spiritual father of Organised Crime in the United States.
It was said that he fixed the World Baseball Series in 1919 so as to cash in on the record bets placed on the outcome and he then graduated to the position of foremost gambler in America.
On 16th January 1920 the Volstead Act became law in America making it a criminal offence to manufacture or sell alcohol for commercial purposes.
Rothstein was smart enough to take advantage by masterminding and financing the smuggling of illegal liquor which then flourished into amulti-hundred million dollar business that continued for thirteen years.
Shortly after the introduction of Prohibition he had been approached by a couple of small-time hoods Maxey Gordon and Max Greenberg) and introduced to the possibility of making a ‘few dollars’ if he would finance the impart of a shipment of illegal scotch whisky from the United Kingdom.
Rothstein quadrupled his investment in a couple of months and was now in the liquor business.
Also known as the Big Bankroll’ or ‘the Brain’ Rothstein was well placed to have police, politicians and judges on his personal payroll. This ensured proper protection from all those in authority who could cause him difficulties.
Rothstein was also an undisputed spotter of talent and he recruited into his fold characters that became legends including ‘Lepke’ Buchalter, Frank Costello. ‘Legs’ Diamond, Meyer Lansky, Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano. Dutch Schultz and Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel. He trained them well.
On 4th November 1928 Arnold Rothstein was dealt into a poker game at the New York Sheraton Hotel where he lost heavily. He declined to meet his losses and a few hours later he was found dying from a gunshot wound to the stomach.
When asked by the police who shot him. Rothstein lifted himself slightly from his deathbed and just put his fingers to his lips.