Posted on 12.30.21, previously paywalled: Almost all big-time gangsters go down in flames sooner or later, and almost always after a relatively short heyday — imprisoned, expelled from the U.S., blown away like Tony Montana or Tony Soprano, found stuffed inside a garbage can.
Gangsters rarely live to be old and gray-haired and surrounded by grandchildren. Okay, Vito Corleone did but that was fictional. Meyer Lansky made it to age 80 (cancer took him out) but he only had $57K in the bank at the end. Pablo Escobar was shot to death in the end, but he lasted as a kingpin for 17, 18 years — an exception to the rule.
If I was running Gangster Financial Services, my basic pitch would be this: “Sooner or later you’re going to have to lam it. You need to face the fact that you’re probably looking at five or six years at the top, perhaps a couple more, nine or ten at the outside. But sooner or later the law will indict you or rivals will have you killed.
“Smart gangsters understand that they need to start planning their escape early on. They need to start putting money away and building low-key homes in Vietnam or Eastern Europe or Belize or Paris or Rome, and having false passports and identity cards made and arrangements with good plastic surgeons, so when it’s time to go on the run, they do so on their own terms, and in relative comfort.
“We at Gangster Financial Services understand the game and how it works. Let us help you and your family plan for the inevitable, while you still can and before it’s too late. Oh, and by the way? No private zoos while you’re flush and at the top. Only idiots have Bengal Tigers and giraffes living on their property.”