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)
“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