Jukebox Empire follows the many twists and turns in one man’s pursuit of the American dream, from a self-taught electronics genius to money launderer for the mob. This book exposes how the jukebox industry became the vertically integrated business model for organized crime at a time when there was a jukebox in every restaurant, diner, bar, barracks, arcade, and canteen throughout the country. Anyone can afford a nickel for a song and every week the jukeboxes generate millions of dollars in cash, untaxed income, that needed to be laundered.. Beneath this wholesome veneer lies a seamy underworld of juke joints, operators’ routes, smoke-filled showrooms, and violence. Rabinovitch reveals the details of the mob’s international money-laundering scheme to finance running guns to Cuba. The investigation pieces together an epic puzzle that begins in Chicago with the invention of a jukebox and spans the casinos of Havana and the financial giants of Europe, leading to what the FBI called “the biggest bank robbery in the world.”
David Rabinovitch is a winner of the EMMY, Peabody, and Gemini awards. Significant films include the documentary Politics of Poison, which was screened for a Congressional committee and resulted in the suspension of the domestic use of the chemicals Agent Orange, and the mini-series Secret Files of the Inquisition, which dramatized a thousand years of intolerance by the Catholic Church, based on newly accessed archival files. David hails from the town of Morden, Manitoba.
Cast of Characters
Chapter One – Origins
Chapter Two – Pay to Play
Chapter Three – Coin Men
Chapter Four – Crimebusters
Chapter Five – Biggest Bank Robbery in the World
Chapter Six – Dollye
Chapter Seven – Air Chase
Chapter Eight – Front Page
Chapter Nine – Biggest Burglary Solved
Chapter Ten – Wheels of Justice
Chapter Eleven – Scheme and Artifice
Chapter Twelve – Shoot the Moon
About the Author
This is a brilliant depiction, in evocative prose, of the corrupt juke box industry as controlled by the mob. Anyone interested in how the mob can launder money through a seemingly innocent American past time should read Jukebox Empire.
It reads like a novel but the characters and events described by David Rabinovitch are real and chilling. Fans of The Untouchables and Godfather II will thank me for recommending Jukebox Empire.
Jukebox Empire is the engrossing story of William Rabin, a key figure in the development of the jukebox industry in America who rubbed shoulders with major Mafioso from the US and Canada. Author David Rabinovitch, the nephew of William Rabin, weaves together a compelling story of family and crime that even touches on key events of US history in the 1950s and 60s. Rabin was a character who, before this book, was missing from the US Mafia historical timeline, but is here rightfully placed in the canon as one of the many key figures in the story of organized crime in the 20th century.
It is a compelling book from beginning to end. David Rabinovitch takes us into the dark meanders of the American underworld and tells the story of a man who, thanks to jukeboxes, managed to create an empire. It is an eye-opening, informative, and fascinating book. Jukebox Empire is must-read.
Jukebox Empire is part family journey, part mob story, as Rabinovitch vividly retraces his uncle’s life of crime from Canada to Chicago to Cuba. The personal story of Wolfe Rabin helps illuminate misunderstood aspects of organized crime in the twentieth century. A delightfully entertaining story of jukeboxes, money laundering, and stolen bonds.