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 • Mount Carmel Cemetery
 • Belleville
 • St. Clair County
 • Illinois
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Frank L. "Buster" Wortman
Original name: Worthmann Wortman
Birth: Dec. 4, 1904
Death: Aug. 3, 1968

Rackets Boss. Born in St. Louis, Frank first worked as a molder for a steel casting plant in East St. Louis. By the mid-1920's he became associated with the old Shelton gang and was soon running errands for them. He quickly became an important part of the gang that terrorized Southern Illinois in the 1920s and early 1930s. During those years "Buster" was arrested between 35 and 40 times. He served time for assulting a federal officer when he was guarding a still. Federal agents raided a still near Collinsville, Illinois in 1933 A federal agent was beaten and Wortman was charged with assault. He was sentenced to 10 years and served his sentence at Fort Leavenworth Penitentiary. After his release he returned to find the old style gang vanishing and being replaced with rackets bosses. Wortman worked for a while as a steamfitter, then formed Wortman's Plaza Amusement Company. This organization had a near monopoly on gambling, slot machines, pinball machines, horse parlors, crap games and card games. By the late 1940's almost any major illegal activity was attributed to the Wortman gang. Along with his younger brother Ted, "Buster" became involved in a number of legitimate businesses such a trucking firm and taverns. Ted managed "The Paddock," a tavern/night club/restaurant. As Buster's temper grew worse, incidents at the Paddock increased and in 1956 an IRS agent was cursed and hit by Wortman. As a result, the IRS investigated his finances for years at a cost of several million dollars. Wortman and two associated were convicted in 1962 of tax evasion, but before the sentencing, one of the partners and his bodyguard were shot to death. Later that same year, Wortman and the other partner were sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000 each. The convictions were overturned and Wortman was acquitted. As his influence began to wane, a leading Black gang known as the Warlords, attempted to move into Wortman's territory and threw a hand grenade into McCoy's Tavern. A few days later, the mob paid a surprise visit to the meeting of the Warlords and lined them up against a wall and threatened to gun them down St. Valentine's Day Massacre-style. The Warlords decided to bide their time before making another move. Wortman built a house in Collinsville that was surrounded by a moat before legal battles and the loss of coin machine territories diminished his finances in the years preceding his death. (bio by: Connie Nisinger) 

Cause of death: Complications from larnyx surgery
 
Burial:
Mount Carmel Cemetery
Belleville
St. Clair County
Illinois, USA
Plot: Section K, Block 171, Lot 3
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Connie Nisinger
Record added: Oct 06, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6825684
Frank L. Buster Wortman
Added by: Anthony S
 
Frank L. Buster Wortman
Added by: Connie Nisinger
 
Frank L. Buster Wortman
Added by: Connie Nisinger
 
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