Bioff was born and briefly raised in a kosher Jewish household in Chicago, but his father kicked him out on the street when he was eight years old. Bioff soon became involved in criminal ventures, beginning with petty theft, then minor protection rackets and working his way up to pimping in Chicago's Levee vice district, of which he was later convicted in 1922. Bioff later worked for Harry and Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik where, through Guzik, Bioff met Al Capone and later Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti.
In the 1930s, Nitti sent Bioff to California as an enforcer for Mafia controlled Union
In 1943, Bioff was indicted for tax evasion and related crimes, as well as extortion and racketeering, along with a number of his associates. Rather than face prison, Bioff testified against his companions, including Paul "The Waiter" Ricca, Philip D'Andrea, Charlie "Cherr Nose" Gioe, Johnny Rosselli, Lou Kaufman, and Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti. Nitti committed suicide shortly after Bioff's testimony. Bioff received a reduced sentence along with Browne.
Upon his release, Bioff moved to Arizona and assumed a new identity, "William Nelson," and even reportedly developed a friendship with then Senator Barry Goldwater helping contribute to his reelection campaign fund and even going into business with the senator's son, Bobby. Bioff, however, soon began working for Riviera Casino manager Gus Greenbaum, at the Chicago Outfit-owned Las Vegas casino. Bioff was assassinated on November 4, 1955, through a bombing described as follows:
Bioff walked out of his home and slid behind the wheel of his truck. A moment later, an explosion rocked the neighborhood. Parts of Bioff and his truck were strewn all over the driveway. Police found the remains of a dynamite bomb wired to the starter. The killers were never found.