Dutch Schultz biography
Dutch Schultz was born Arthur Flegenheimer on August 6, 1902, in the Bronx, New York. After his father left the family, Schultz turned to burglary, then bootlegging. Soon he expanded into illegal gambling, clashing with rival gangsters Legs Diamond and Vincent Coll. In the 1930s he was targeted by both the IRS and criminal prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey. Schultz was killed by an unknown gunman in 1935.
Infamous gangster, bootlegger and murderer Dutch Schultz was born Arthur Flegenheimer on August 6, 1902, in the Bronx, New York. During his relatively brief life, Dutch Schultz became a powerful figure in the New York crime world, earning the nicknames "Beer Baron of the Bronx" and "The Dutchman." The son of Jewish immigrants from Germany, he grew up in the slums of the Bronx. His father abandoned the family when Schultz was in his early teens. Soon after, he left school and started working odd jobs.
Schultz discovered that crime was more lucrative than a day job. He was arrested for burglary and served 17 months in prison for the crime at the age of 17—his only prison sentence. After his release, Schultz returned to the streets and his gang of thugs. His associates gave him the nickname "Dutch Schultz" after a local gangster known for his violent, brutal ways.
In the 1920s, Schultz got involved in bootlegging beer during the Prohibition and was once associated with notorious gangsters Lucky Luciano and Legs Diamond. Schultz eventually bought a partnership in an illegal saloon. Ruthless and determined, he formed a gang with friend and fellow criminal Joey Noe. They built an illegal beer business selling beer in New York, intimidating rival saloons into buying from them. Schultz even went as far as kidnapping and torturing a man who refused to buy their booze. The group expanded its operations from the Bronx into Manhattan. But this led to a conflict with Legs Diamond. In October 1928, Noe was shot and killed by members of Diamond's gang. Schultz is believed to have ordered the killing of a Diamond associate in retaliation. Diamond himself met a bitter end in 1931, reportedly at the hands of one of Schultz's thugs.
In his quest for power and wealth, Schultz clashed with other gangsters, such as former associate Vincent Coll. The two were embroiled in a vicious gang war during the early 1930s, which led a number of men dead in both camps. The conflict lasted until Coll was killed—reportedly by a member of Schultz's gang—in 1932.
Around this time, Schultz continued to grow his illicit enterprises, adding illegal gambling into his portfolio of profitable crimes. His gang operated slot machines and ran a policy racket, which was like a type of lottery. But Schultz was increasingly attracted the attention of the authorities and was indicted on a tax charge in 1933. He spent months hiding out before surrendering in November 1934. The following year, Schultz tried twice for income tax evasion. The first case ended with a hung jury, and he was acquitted in the second one.
But all of his time on trial affected his business.
The authorities weren't finished with him yet, especially New York special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey. He wanted to prosecute Schultz for his illegal policy business but before that could happen Schultz was indicated on federal tax charges in October 1935. Still Schultz blamed Dewey for his legal woes and started to plan to get rid of his nemesis. Allegedly his talk of killing a public figure made some of his fellow gangsters nervous and they ordered a hit on Schultz instead.
On the night of October 23, 1935, Schultz and four of his associates were shot at a restaurant in Newark, New Jersey. A brutal man believed to have been responsible for deaths of many others—at his hand or by his order—died the next day. Shortly before his death, he gave a rambling statement to the authorities, but he never named his killer.