Episode 209: Elaine Smith – Tokyo Joe, Botched Mob Hit

Retired agent Elaine Smith served in the FBI for 22 years. Elaine, who grew up in the Chicago area, spent her entire career assigned to the Chicago Division. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, she reviews her efforts to convince Ken “Tokyo Joe” Eto, the highest-ranking Asian-American mob associate, to cooperate against the Chicago mob, also known as “The Outfit.” In an attempt to secure his cooperation, Elaine Smith successfully investigated Joe for interstate gambling violations. He turned her down until his mob associates attempted to kill him by shooting him in the head three times. After the botched hit, a 17-year cooperation relationship began between Elaine and Joe. The historical evidence he provided led to arrests, convictions, and long sentences for many of Chicago’s top mobsters.

Later in her career, Elaine became an expert in money laundering and white-collar crime fraud and was named the first female supervisor in the history of the Chicago FBI office and the second female supervisor promoted in the field. In the year 2000, the Federal Reserve Bank named her “Leader of the Year,” and in September 2001, Elaine was placed in charge of reconstructing the financial backgrounds of the 19 terrorists of the 9/11 bombings of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the downing of Flight 91 in Pennsylvania.

Elaine retired from the FBI in 2002 but continued to conduct examinations for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and assist financial institutions in designing their transaction detection systems to prevent irregular patterns, often a sign of money laundering. In 2012, she began working with attorneys whose clients had been accused of financial fraud and, in Federal court, is considered a certified expert witness on financial investigations. Elaine Smith is the author of A Gun in My Gucci, which covers her journey from school teacher to special agent and reveals her special relationship with Ken “Tokyo Joe” Eto. You can learn more about Elaine Smith by visiting her website, AGunInMyGucci.com.

Special Agent (Retired)

Elaine Smith










“He knew the price of not being loyal. The Chicago mob demonstrated it almost every other month, someone being shot in the head in the streets or stuffed in a trunk. There were lots of mob murders.”—Retired agent Elaine Smith

The following are links to news articles about Ken “Tokyo Joe” Eto and the Chicago mob:

Chicago Tribune – 7/15/2012: Thanks, Tokyo Joe, and those lousy gunshots

Japan Times – 12/26/2008: ‘Tokyo Joe: Mafia o Utta Otoko’ The wise guy who brought down the mob

YouTube Documentary – 12/29/2008: Tokyo Joe: The Extraordinary Life Of Ken Eto, Chicago Outfit

In the 1980s, Ken Eto, known as Tokyo Joe, was a Japanese-American FBI informant who helped with the conviction of 15 Chicago mob guys.











During the botched hit, the gun was placed right against Joe’s skull, but the bullet ricocheted under the skin and around his head.
Joe was shotin the head three times. The hitmen assumed he was dead and left him laying in his car. Somehow he survived.






Elaine Smith is the author of A Gun in My Gucci, which covers her journey from school teacher to special agent and reveals her special relationship with Ken “Tokyo Joe” Eto.















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top
Malcare WordPress Security