George Remus Starts a New Occupation
Unknown to Remus as he entered law school, his new knowledge and career would give him a leap into becoming one of the most popular bootleggers in American history. Once the United States Congress approved the 18th Amendment in January of 1920, Prohibition had begun. However, for Remus, his career as a bootlegger would not start immediately. In fact, it took Remus a few months to start thinking about the bootlegging business. He did not become a bootlegger until he began to notice just how wealthy other bootleggers were. However, Remus knew that in order to escape any punishment for the crime, he would have to find loopholes in the law.
Therefore, Remus studied the law carefully and looked at every single detail he could. He read between the lines and even looked at other rules to see where he could find any loopholes. It was then Remus realized that he could get liquor for medical purposes, as long as it was bonded whiskey. Remus quickly came up with a plan. First, he moved to Cincinnati, where the majority of the bonded whiskey was located. The pharmacist slash lawyer then bought as many whiskey manufacturers as he could in that area. Once Remus had successfully set up this plan, he was in the business of buying and selling bonded whiskey to pharmacies, including establishing his own trucking company which transported the alcohol.
After establishing his plan successfully, Remus used his name and connections in Washington, D.C. to obtain permits for his business. It was not long until Remus became rich beyond his wildest dreams, even earning well over millions of dollars in one quarter within a year of starting his business. In fact, in today’s worth, he would have made roughly $33 million during this quarter. Of course, this is not the total Remus made selling bootleg whiskey, which is unknown.
George Remus Gets Busted
By the time the law had caught up to Remus near the end of 1921, he had controlled the liquor sales in about nine states and paid about 3,000 employees. In fact, one of the ways Remus and some of his crew were busted was because the Bureau of Prohibition had bugged his hotel room. During this time, Remus had a meet with over 40 men who were working closely with him. These men included federal marshals, politicians, and prohibition agents.
While Remus believed he had successfully protected himself from any sort of punishment in his illegal business through connections and loopholes, he was wrong. Remus was convicted and charged with 3,000 counts in his bootlegging business. The courts quickly found Remus guilty and sent him to prison. For two years, Remus and his attorney appealed his convictions, working their way up to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court sided with the courts and Remus had to stay in prison for his two-year sentence.