When we think back, we tend to think of simpler times. Some years, in some ways that have been true. But then you have times of Prohibition and the Great Depression when crime ran rampant and people struggled to take care of their families.
This story is from back in the days towards the end of prohibition, 1933. Times were real tough with close to a 50% unemployment rate and a lot of people turned to alcohol for solace. 4 bad men came up with what they thought was a bright idea to scam money from insurance companies by taking out policies on drunks and hastening their deaths with booze.
The 4 men were Anthony Marino who owned a speakeasy in the Bronx, his barkeep Joe Murphy, an undertaker named Frank Pasqua and a friend named Dan Kriesberg. The first victim was a frequent patron of Marino’s speakeasy named Mike Malloy. He was a 50 year old ex firefighter who’s alcoholism was preventing him from keeping a steady job.
The 4 brainiacs figured he was perfect for the scheme because he was bound to drink himself to death soon. So they welcomed in, which he wasn’t used to as a bum, Malloy and began filling him with alcohol and even gave him a place to stay so they could keep an eye on things.
They talked a drunken Malloy into filling out 1 insurance policy for $800 and 2 more for $495 each and kept filling him full of alcohol for weeks. After a few weeks, Marino realized how much this guy was costing him and that his health seemed better than ever (cause he was happy as hell, full on free alcohol).
So they decided to be a bit more drastic. Murphy the barkeep tells Malloy about some “new stuff” that just came in and gave him some to drink on down. He drank it down not knowing he just slugged down a car anti freeze laced drink and collapsed to the ground. All happy they drag him to the back room to a cot and start planning on who they could bribe for a “rush death certificate”.
Like a cat with nine lives, about an hour later Malloy comes bouncing back in the bar rested and ready to drink. For the next few days the group kept poisoning Malloy’s drinks with even stronger amounts of antifreeze, then turpentine and lastly horse liniment mixed with rat poison. Much to theirs and mine quite frankly, Malloy was still alive and well!
So they figured since drinks were doing the job they would switch to food.They took raw oysters and soaked them in wood alcohol and fed them to Malloy, 2 dozen of them! Does he die, nope. Instead he tells Marino he liked the food so much and that Marino should open his own restaurant! hahahha Next they feed him rotten sardines mixed with tin shavings and once again he loved em!
Getting more desperate they take Malloy and get him drunk enough not to know what was going on. It was winter time in NY and there was snow on the ground and it was quite cold out so they strip him naked and pour gallons of water on him before throwing him into a snowbank and leaving.
The next night Malloy shows up at the speakeasy with a brand new suit on looking quite healthy. He tells the men that he must have got drunk and passed out in the snow naked and the police found him that night. They took him to a welfare organization who gave him the suit and fed him.
You know right now that had the movie Terminator come out back then these gyus would have believed they had one on their hands cause this guy just would not die! What do they do? They hire a cab driver to run Malloy over.
They get him drunk and put him in the road. Harry Green, the cab driver backs up a full 2 blocks to get the momentum to finish this guy off. Just before striking Malloy, he staggered out of the way to safety. Undaunted, they take him to a different place and try again, this time hitting him with the car. All the guys head back to the speakeasy to celebrate and await news.
Days go by but there is nothing in the paper and they have no idea what happened. Several weeks later Malloy comes rambling into the speakeasy looking to get drunk saying he had been in the hospital with a fractured skull and broken shoulder from being hit by a car! This guy is amazing.
Even more desperate they contact a hitman but he wants too much money so they grab another drunk, Joe Murray. They got him sloshed and put Malloy’s Id on him and then had Harry Green run him over with his cab. He doesn’t die either! After 2 months he is released from the hospital.
They realize the only way to kill Malloy is with good old fashioned murder. Marino challenged Malloy to a drinking contest but Marino drank regular alcohol and Malloy was given straight wood alcohol! After he was out of it they dragged him up to a room and stuffed a hose down his throat. The hose was attached to a gas jet on the wall and they basically carbon monoxided Malloy to death. Yup he was dead this time.
The guys paid Dr. Frank Manzella to issue a false death certificate stating he died from pneumonia and alcoholism and within 4 hours Malloy was buried with no wake in a $12 wood box. Their plan almost complete with only one step left, collect the money.
So the barkeep Murphy, pretends to be Malloy’s brother and collects the $800 check. When representatives from the other 2 policies showed up Murphy was nowhere to be found. He had been arrested on an unrelated matter and was in jail. Feeling something was wrong the insurance guy contacted police.
Now the police start investigating and with 7 people involved, people talk. The hitman started telling people that an insurance scam ring tried to hire him but couldn’t afford him. The cabbie Green, hadn’t got all of his money and started talking to police to cut a deal.
Police also learned of another victim, Betty Carlson, who had mysteriously died of pneumonia in the same speakeasy and the life insurance beneficiary for her policy was no other than Marino. So this wasn’t their first run at this just their worst.
Police arrested the men and within a year, all 4 of the group were electrocuted while Manzella, the Doctor was convicted as an accessory and sentenced to an indeterminate prison term!
Mike Malloy definitely had his issues and had he not been so bad of a drunk he would not have fallen victim to these men most likely, but with that said what these lowlife’s did to this unbelievably tough man was just evil. Thankfully though, they got fried for it! To read even more details see http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2007/10/14/2007-10-14_the_durable_mike_malloy.html
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