There’s no doubt that the nourishment of Nevada in the gambling industry was established by individuals who chose to defy societal standards. Joey Lombardo, the infamous mobster, was among the people that worked tirelessly, using both crooked and fair means, to make Nevada become what it is today. Lombardo took his last breath at a federal prison this week, just ten years short of celebrating a centennial.
Lombardo was never new to controversies throughout his life. At the age of 34, he had been arrested eleven times for crimes ranging from loan sharking to jewelry thefts. Lombardo was one of the eleven children of the emigrants from Bari, Italy. Though he was born named Giuseppe Lombardi, he found a way to change the last letter of his surname as well as altering his first name from Giuseppe to Joseph.
Until his numerous arrests and convictions, Lombardo was an established mob manager and a gambling master. Lombardo’s numerous antics earned him the famous nickname “The Clown.” The antics included the appearance of mug shots and his popular ear-to-ear grin.
He started his career in the wayward activities in Chicago with the Chicago Outfit, where he was born before expanding his territory to Las Vegas in 1971. Despite all his mafia operations, Lombardo married Marion at a tender age of 22 in a colorful Catholic ceremony. However, the marriage that was initiated in 1951 would be dissolved forty years later. It’s reported that the union of Marion and Lombardo yielded two children.
Toward the end of 1982, Lombardo was convicted together with his associates for their roles in bribing then Nevada Senator, Howard Cannon. The conviction led to fifteen-year imprisonment for the role they played in the bribery case. His predicament didn’t end there with the Outfit’s concierge being handed a further ten years imprisonment for skimming over $2 million while gambling.
Upon his release in November 1992, Lombardo made a surprising move when he decided to announce his innocence on the Chicago Tribune classified ad. In 2003, various media houses reported that the federal agents had begun investigating the killing of several individuals in the past.
When the investigations were concluded, it emerged that Lombardo had a hand in at least one of the eighteen deaths. He was accused alongside the other 13 defendants for the 1970’s massacres. Lombardo would later disappear after learning that a warrant of arrest had been issued on him.
The authorities apprehended the veteran mobster, and he was consequently handed a life sentence. Lombardo attended the hearing in a wheelchair. The loyal mob leader passed away on Saturday, October 19th, without giving details about the other defendants. He reportedly died of a heart attack.