Abe Reles, the son of Austrian immigrants, was born in New York in 1907. He became a criminal and by the age of 34 had served six prison terms. In 1933 Reles became a member of group that later obtained the name, Murder Incorporated. Reles, and gunmen such as Louis Lepke Buchalter and Albert Anastasia, carried out executions for money.
In 1940 Reles was arrested for murder and to avoid prosecution for this crime, agreed a deal with William O'Dwyer, the Brooklyn district attorney. This involved him in providing evidence against fellow gangsters, Louis Lepke Buchalter and Albert Anastasia. Reles claimed that Murder Incorporated had been responsible for over 70 killings. Both men were arrested and Lepke was convicted on his testimony. Reles was guarded by a team of 18 policeman. However, on 12th November, 1941, before he could testify against Anastasia, he fell from the window of the Half Moon Hotel. It was afterwards claimed that Reles accidentally fell while trying to escape from the hotel. Later, Joseph Valachi, a well-known criminal, claimed that Reles had been murdered with the help of his police guard.