The leader of this mafioso youth movement was the legendary Salvatore C. Luciana, known to the world as Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Charming and strikingly handsome, Luciano must rank as one of the most brilliant criminal executives of the modern age. For, at a series of meetings shortly following the last of the bloodbaths that completely eliminated the old guard, Luciano outlined his plans for a modern, nationwide crime cartel. His modernization scheme quickly won total support from the leaders of America's twenty-four Mafia "families," and within a few months the National Commission was functioning smoothly. This was an event of historic proportions: almost singlehandedly, Luciano built the Mafia into the most powerful criminal syndicate in the United States and pioneered organizational techniques that are still the basis of organized crime today. Luciano also forged an alliance between the Mafia and Meyer Lansky's Jewish gangs that has survived for almost 40 years and even today is the dominant characteristic of organized crime in the United States.
The Mafia made its mark on the United States shortly after Prohibition (the outlaw of manufacturing, selling, and transport of alcohol) began in 1920. They are comprised of Italian-American and Jewish-American men who took Prohibition as an opportunity to make money and control the underground world that sprouted up because the new law. They are independent of the Italian Mafia but work closely with the Sicilians’ and other Italian organized crime groups around the globe.
The American Mafia is most prevalent in New York where they set up what is known as the Five Families: Gambino, Lucchese, Bonanno, Colombo, and Genovese families
On January 17, 1920, Prohibition began in the United States with the Eighteenth Amendment making it illegal to sell, manufacture or transport alcohol. Despite alcohol production and consumption being made illegal, there was still a high demand for it from the public. The profits that could be made from selling and distributing alcohol were worth the risk of punishment from the government, which had a difficult time enforcing prohibition. There were over 900,000 cases of liquor shipped to the borders of American cities. Criminal gangs and politicians saw the opportunity to make fortunes and began shipping larger quantities of alcohol to American cities. The majority of the alcohol was imported from Canada, the Caribbean, and the American Midwest where stills manufactured illegal alcohol.
By the late 1920s Al Capone had become "the most powerful, important, and controversial figure in Chicago"with "a limitless income from his organization's management of gambling, vice, and bootlegging activities"and control over "bootlegging and racketeering networks reaching all the way from New York to the western states" (p. 582). Efforts to indict and convict Capone on various charges failed until in 1931 he was sentenced in federal court to 11 years for tax evasion. He served his time in the Cook County Jail and the Atlanta and Alcatraz federal penetentiaries before receiving an early release in 1939 due to his poor mental condition resulting from tertiary neurosyphilis. Al Capone died in his retirement home in Florida in 1947.
After prohibition ended in 1933, organized crime groups were confronted with an impasse and could no longer maintain the high profits they had acquired through the 1920s. The smarter of the organized crime groups acted prudently and expanded into other ventures such as unions, construction, sanitation and drug trafficking. On the other hand, those Mafia families that neglected the need to change eventually lost power and influence and ultimately vanished.Its membership was estimated at 1.5 million by the time repeal was finally passed in 1933. Originally, Sabin was among the many women who supported the 18th Amendment. Now, however, she viewed Prohibition as both hypocritical and dangerous. She recognized "the apparent decline of temperate drinking" and feared the rise of organized crime that developed around bootlegging.17] 
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