John Factor

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John Factor
Born October 8, 1892
Died January 22, 1984(1984-01-22) (aged 91)
Los Angeles, California, US
Other names Jake the Barber
Occupation Barber

John Factor (October 8, 1892 – January 22, 1984), born Iakov Faktorowicz, was a Prohibition-era gangster and con artist affiliated with the Chicago Outfit.

He later became a prominent businessman and Las Vegas casino proprietor, owner of the Stardust Resort and Casino. It is alleged that he ran the operation on behalf of the mob, with a lifetime take of $50–$200 million.[1][page needed]

His birth name is the Yiddish/Hebrew for Jacob ("Jake"), and like his more-famous older half-brother, Max Factor, he had trained at an early age in haircare; this led to his mob nickname, Jake the Barber.

He perpetrated a stock scam in 1926 England that netted $8 million, a substantial sum for the period. Some of his victims were English royalty. He fled to France, and executed another major scam, rigging the tables at the Monte Carlo casino, and breaking its bank. He then returned to the United States.[1][page needed]

1930 Duesenburg Boattail Speedster once owned by John Factor and on display in the Martin Auto Museum

While in the United States, he was tried and sentenced in absentia in England, to 24 years in prison. He fought extradition all the way to the Supreme Court, but fearing he would lose, had himself "kidnapped" in 1933, and, when "found", accused another mobster, Roger Touhy, of abducting him. This started a "cold" gang war (allegedly including corrupt prosecutors), fought in criminal and civil courts, and the media.[1][page needed]

During this period, Factor was convicted for mail fraud, his take totaling $10 million. He served 10 years in prison, from 1939 to 1949.[1][page needed]

In 1955, Factor took over the Stardust Hotel, though he was probably a figurehead for other Chicago mob figures, such as Paul Ricca, Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo, Murray Humphreys and Sam "Momo" Giancana. He sold the hotel for $7 million in 1962 or 1963. Factor became politically and philanthropically active, and was the largest donor to John Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign. In late 1962, after an investigation spearheaded by Robert Kennedy, Factor was scheduled to be deported, but received a presidential pardon.[1][page needed]

He was also involved in an attempt to bail out Jimmy Hoffa from his real-estate related financial problems.[1][page needed]

He lived his later years in Los Angeles, where he was a benefactor to the inner city.[1][page needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Tuohy, John William (2001). When Capone's Mob Murdered Roger Touhy: The Strange Case of "Jake the Barber" and the Kidnapping That Never Happened (First ed.). Fort Lee, N.J.: Barricade Books. ISBN 978-1569801741.

Further reading[edit]

  • McDougal, Dennis. The Last Mogul: Lew Wasserman, MCA, and the Hidden History of Hollywood. New York: Da Capo Press, 2001. ISBN 0-306-81050-6
  • Merriner, James L. Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago, 1833–2003. Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8093-2571-3
  • Moldea, Dan E. Dark Victory: Ronald Reagan, MCA, and the Mob. New York: Penguin Books, 1987. ISBN 0-14-010478-X
  • Pietrusza, David. Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003. ISBN 0-7867-1250-3

External links[edit]