Murder Incorporated

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Joseph "Doc" Stacher

Joseph "Doc" Stacher was a Jewish syndicate leader who helped bring together the Jewish and Italian Mafia into a national organized crime syndicate.

Born in Poland around 1902, Stacher immigrated with his family to the United States in 1912. As a teenager living in Newark, New Jersey he became known as a pushcart thief, later befriending future Jewish gangsters such as Meyer Lansky and Abner Zwillman. By the 1920s Stacher was running much of Zwillman's gambling operations.

In 1931 Stacher helped Meyer Lansky organize a conference of Jewish organized crime leaders at the Franconia Hotel, which later would see the merging of the Jewish and Italian Mafia into a national crime syndicate. Running West Coast and Caribbean gambling operations for Lansky during the 1930s, as well as becoming a silent partner of movie studio Columbia Pictures in the late 1930s, Stacher would later supervise gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada, particularly the Sands and Fremont Casinos.

Stacher continued running Mafia gambling operations until 1964, when Federal authorities arrested him for tax evasion. While the Government was in favor of deporting him federal law prohibited deporting anyone to a communist controlled country. However, because of the "Law of Return" Stacher was allowed citizenship in Israel, supposedly with the help of singer Frank Sinatra, who was allegedly instrumental in persuading an Orthodox member of the Israeli parliament to support Stacher, who immgrated there in 1965.
While living in Israel he served as the primary source of Israeli journalists Dennis Eisenberg, Uri Dan, and Eli Landau for a biography of Meyer Lansky. Stacher continued living in Israel until his death in 1977.


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