this day in crime history: december 4, 1875

On this date in 1875, William “Boss” Tweed, former head of the Democratic machine in New York City, escaped from jail and fled to Cuba. Tweed was facing hard time for his role in fleecing New York taxpayers of millions of dollars (some estimates run as high as $200 million). Almost captured in Cuba, Tweed moved on to Spain. He was arrested there in 1876 by a police officer who reportedly recognized him from a political cartoon by Thomas Nast. He was returned to the United States by Spanish authorities. He died of pneumonia in the Ludlow Street Jail in 1878.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – William M. Tweed

Biography.com – Boss Tweed

Friday Movie Quote from 1/1/10

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3 thoughts on “this day in crime history: december 4, 1875

  1. A good book about Tweed: Boss Tweed by Kenneth D. Ackerman. He tells how Tweed used the corrupt State legislature to pass laws that put money in his own pocket (nothing much changes in NYS, does it?).
    Interesting vignette: Part of the reason his scheme unraveled was because one of his biggest henchmen was killed in a TRAFFIC ACCIDENT in 1871.

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