In the 1940s, Accardo continued to gain power in the Outfit. As the 1940s progressed, it became evident that a number of Outfit bosses and members were going to have to face serious consequences for their parts in the extortion of the Hollywood movie industry's unions. However, because Nitti was claustrophobic, he was fearful of serving a second prison term, the first for tax evasion. So, Nitti committed suicide in 1943. Paul "The Waiter" Ricca, who had been the de facto boss since Capone's imprisonment, became the boss in name as well as in fact and named Accardo as underboss. Ricca and Accardo would run the Outfit either officially or as the powers behind the throne for the next 30 years, until Ricca's death in 1972. When Ricca subsequently received a 10-year prison sentence for his part in the Hollywood scandal, Accardo became acting boss. Three years later, as a parole condition, Ricca was barred from contact with mobsters. Accardo then became boss of the Outfit. In practice, he shared power with Ricca, who remained in the background as a senior consultant.
Under Accardo's leadership in the late 1940s, the Outfit moved into slot machines and vending machines, counterfeiting cigarette and liquor tax stamps and expanded narcotics smuggling. Accardo placed slot machines in gas stations, restaurants and bars throughout the Outfit's territory. Outside of Chicago, The Outfit expanded rapidly. In Las Vegas, The Outfit took influence over gaming away from the five crime families of New York City. Accardo made sure that all the legal Las Vegas casinos used his slot machines. In Kansas and Oklahoma, Accardo took advantage of the official ban on alcohol sales to introduce bootlegged alcohol. The Outfit eventually dominated organized crime in most of the Western United States. To reduce the Outfit's exposure to legal prosecution, Accardo phased out some traditional organized crime activities, such as labor racketeering and extortion. He also converted the Outfit's brothel business into call girl services. The result of these changes was a golden era of profitability and influence for the Outfit.
By keeping a low profile and letting flashier figures such as Sam Giancana attract attention, Accardo and Ricca were able to run the Outfit much longer than Capone. Ricca once said, "Accardo had more brains for breakfast than Capone had in a lifetime."
Also in the late 1950s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had to finally admit that organized crime in America is real, because of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's embarrassment over the local law enforcement's uncovering of the 1957 Apalachin Meeting. Thus, the FBI began to employ all types of surveillance against mobsters.
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