In 1912 gambler Herman M. Rosenthal was a desperate man. His business was in decline and he turned to telling reporters what he knew about a police protection racket involving New York Police Department Lieutenant Charles Becker. In fact Becker was the head of a criminal organization designed to help betting operations flourish. The embattled officer turned to members of "Big Al" Zelig's crime operation to solve his problem. Becker hired them to eliminate Rosenthal.