Why Women Kill-the Matriarchs of Crime

Crime does not pay, so it is said. Organized criminal gangs are led by ruthless mob bosses, like Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel. However, once in a while, a woman takes the reigns. These rare women criminals play a big part inside the gang’s leadership matrix. They keep themselves hidden and do their scheming in the background. We call them the matriarchs.

One of these matriarchs is Stephanie St. Clair who was born in Moule Grandterre in the French West Indies. This woman of French and African descent came to New York from Montreal in 1912. She became well known for developing a lottery game or numbers rackets in New York with another mobster, Bumpy Johnson, as her partner. The numbers game became popular with the black community and made Madame St. Clair rich. The lucrative returns from the numbers game caught the attention of mobster Dutch Schultz who dispossessed her of control. She fought Schultz for a while but had to give in to his superior force.

Virginia Hill, who held the moniker “The Flamingo”, was another woman who made her mark in the criminal underworld. Widely recognized as the girlfriend of Bugsy Siegel, a mob boss based in Brooklyn, she was initiated into the workings of the mob as an accountant to Al Capone. She was, later on, linked to the death of Siegel in her Beverly Hills home.

 There is always a woman behind every successful mobster. That is what matriarchs like St. Clair and Hill epitomized.

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