The mafia. The mob. La Cosa Nostra. Whatever you call it, America's national crime syndicate is powerful, entrenched and almost impossible to nullify.
Federal and local law enforcement have tried to stamp out organized crime for almost as many years as it has existed. The sheer size and scope of organized crime makes that nearly impossible.
Organized crime activities bring in a worldwide annual income of between $50 billion and $90 billion according to a 2002 FBI study — more money than any major legitimate national industry. From loan-sharking and labor racketeering to illegal gambling and murder for hire to its recent invasion into Wall Street — it’s all part of the life-and-death business of organized crime.
And it's all lead by the bosses. The often dapper, sometimes charming and always lethal men who rise to the top of the ranks and become known to the mainstream world.
Here, we look at some of the most famous mobsters in US history.
By Jamie Corsi with Constance Parten
Posted 22 June, 2010