fall-dough: How a professional thief retires

theprofessionalthiefHow does a professional thief retire from a mob?

Fall-dough is defined as:

  • money to be used in case of arrest, discharge or retirement.

It is a sum of money held in trust for expenses in case any member of the mob gets pinched, busted, exposed. The mob itself owns it so it would be split evenly if the mob dissolved. Who actually holds the cash depends on the racket and few thieves would gamble or lose the money as that would be a very serious breech of the professional thieves’ code of conduct.

How it is Done: From what I understand the member simply says “Give me my fall-dough, I resign.” In most cases when members withdraw or are fired, there is no hard feeling on either side. p. 31

Conditions upon Retirement: The retiree can only return to the life if the mob agrees.

University of Chicago Press: The Professional Thief, [preview]


This monograph by a professional thief—with the aid of Edwin H. Sutherland’s expert comments and analyses—is a revealing sociological document that goes far to explain the genesis, development, and patterns of criminal behavior. “Chic Conwell,” as the author was known in the underworld, gives a candid and forthright account of the highly organized society in which the professional thief lives. He tells how he learned to steal, survive, succeed, and ultimately to pay his debt to society and prepare himself for full and useful citizenship. The Professional Thief presents in amazing detail the hard, cold facts about the private lives and professional habits of pickpockets, shoplifters, and conmen, and brings into focus the essential psychological and sociological situations that beget and support professional crime.


Part I. The Professional Thief, Written by a Professional Thief and Annotated by Edwin H. Sutherland
I. The Profession
II. The Mob
III. The Rackets
IV. the Fix
V. The Thief and the Law
VI. Stealing as a Business
VII. The Social and Personal Life of the Thief
VIII. The Thief and Society
Part II. Interpretation and Conclusion
IX. Interpretation
X. Conclusion

I believe a dignified exit to a vocation [as with life] is a noble goal. I would hope to offer that to a colleague and would hope it to be reciprocated. If A/R collection is the only obstacle, it can and should be handled in a professional, gentlemanly and timely manner.

  • You got a leak, you call plumber, He performs, & You pay a fair charge.
  • You get caught: You pay your fine and move on. Best of luck.
  • Human action can become transcendent for no reason just because someOne offers it up. ie. a Comedian playing to a crowd…
  • Go easy or go hard: it’s entirely Your choice, Your funeral.
  • Repeat.

Continuing a deceitful, belittling and economic privation strategy will result in some otherwise entirely avoidable reputational consequences which, once started, cannot be controlled.

I wish everyone as Happy a New Year as possible.

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