Louis "Russian Louie" Strauss

Louis Strauss (died 1953) better known as "Russian Louie", was a notorious Los Angeles underworld figure and syndicate gambling overseer.


Strauss was an associate of the Los Angeles crime family and was involved in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Oklahoma and Texas gambling interests. He was once charged with the murder of Harry Sherwood who was a partner of his in a Reno casino. Sherwood had previous issues with Los Angeles racketeers over his activities involving a gambling ship and had allegedly bilked investors of their money. In Las Vegas, Strauss operated the Green Gables club and owned the Fairway apartment located behind the Desert Inn and operated the Westerner club in conjunction with Benny Binion.

Strauss is best remembered in gangland lore for his sensational murder at the hands of infamous Los Angeles hitman Jimmy "the weasel" Fratianno. In 1953, Russian Louie committed the fatal mistake of trying to extort money from Las Vegas casino owner and mob associate Benny Binion, who was also a friend of mafia boss Jack Dragna. According to Jimmy Fratianno, he was given the contract to murder Russian Louie, "I told Louie (Stauss); hey Louie come on we'll go have a cup of coffee... so as he went in (to Gaspare Matranga's house) one guy put his arms around him, Frank Bomp (Frank Bompensiero) and I put the rope on him and we killed him and that was it, we choked him ."

According to Fratianno when they committed the murder, "There was about 8 or 9 people there". "They heard that i was coming in with Russian Louie so they stayed... they were all members of our family you see... so they just stayed. They didn't have to be there, it was just something that they just happened to be there and they waited around... they're killers themselves; so it didn't mean nothin'".

'Russian Louie' was featured in the book The Last Mafioso by Ovid Demaris.

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