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Bugsy Siegel – Las Vegas Crime Legend

The Life and Times of Mobster Bugsy Siegel

One of the most feared gangsters of the early 20th Century was Bugsy Siegel, a man who played an important role in the development of the Las Vegas strip. He is said to have financed some of the early casinos here including The Flamingo. He was also the founder of Murder Incorporated, which was a name given to enforcement arms of the Jewish and American Mafias during the 1930s and 1940s.

Siegel was often under government scrutiny for his antics, including during his 1939 murder trial. At that time, he was accused of slaying fellow mobster Harry Greenberg. “Big Greenie” as he was known was a childhood friend of Siegel’s and an employee of Lucky Luciano. It is said that Siegel feared the men would spill their guts to authorities, and murdered them in an effort to keep them silent. Although there was a great deal of evidence connecting him to the crime, Siegel was nonetheless acquitted.

He became a murder victim himself on June 20, 1947 at the home of his girlfriend Virginia Hill. While relaxing in her living room, he was struck by an assailant with a 30-caliber rifle, which struck him twice in the head. It is believed his murder was in retaliation for him extorting money from the mob, and has official remained unsolved.