Dutch Schultz (born Arthur Simon Flegenheimer; August 6, 1902 – October 24, 1935) was an American mobster. Based in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, he made his fortune in organized crime-related activities, including bootlegging and the numbers racket. Weakened by two tax evasion trials led by prosecutor Thomas Dewey, Schultz's rackets were also threatened by fellow mobster Lucky Luciano. In an attempt to avert his conviction, Schultz asked the Commission for permission to kill Dewey, which they refused. When Schultz disobeyed them and made an attempt to kill Dewey, the Commission ordered his murder in 1935.
Born in the Bronx, Schultz took his alias from an old-time Bronx gangster and advanced from burglaries to bootlegging, ownership of breweries and speakeasies, and policy rackets in the Bronx and parts of Manhattan. His gang engaged in a number of bloody gang wars.
In 1933 he was acquitted of a charge of income-tax fraud; but, in hiding out for months prior to the trial, he had lost much of his business to his New York rivals. From Newark, N.J., he tried to rebuild his New York rackets but became the target of New York special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey. In October 1935 he broached the idea of assassinating Dewey, outlining a plot to Albert Anastasia and perhaps other mobsters.
The New York crime bosses disliked the possible publicity, and on the evening of Oct. 23, 1935, Schultz and three of his bodyguards were bullet-riddled in a Newark restaurant by New York gunmen Charles Workman and Emmanuel “Mendy” Weiss.
Although Schultz's gang was meant to be crippled, several of his associates survived the night. Martin "Marty" Krompier, whom Schultz left in charge of his Manhattan interests while he hid in New Jersey, survived an assassination attempt the same night as the shootings at the Palace Chop House. No apparent attempt was made on the life of Irish-American mobster John M. Dunn, who later became the brother-in-law of mobster Edward J. McGrath and a powerful member of the Hell's Kitchen Irish Mob.
After Schultz's death, it was discovered that he and his wife had never gone through an official marriage ceremony, and the possible existence of another wife emerged with the discovery of letters and pictures of another woman and children among his effects at the hotel where he was staying in Newark. This was never resolved, as his common-law wife refused to talk about it and the mystery woman never came forward. Two other women also called at the morgue to receive his effects, but their identities were never established. Though he was estimated to be worth $7 million when he died, no trace of the money was ever found.
Shortly before his death, fearing that he would be incarcerated as a result of Dewey's efforts, Schultz commissioned the construction of a special airtight and waterproof safe into which he placed $7 million in cash and bonds (the equivalent of $130,875,985.40 in 2019 dollars). Schultz and Rosenkrantz then drove the safe to an undisclosed location somewhere in upstate New York and buried it. At the time of his death, the safe was still interred; as no evidence existed to indicate that either Schultz or Rosenkrantz had ever revealed the location of the safe to anyone, the exact place where the safe was buried died with them. Schultz's enemies are said to have spent the remainder of their lives searching for the safe. As the safe has never been recovered, treasure hunters have annually returned to look for it in the Catskills. One such meeting became the documentary film Digging for Dutch: The Search for the Lost Treasure of Dutch Schultz.