By 1932, Adonis was also a major criminal power in Brooklyn.
Despite his wealth, Adonis still participated in jewelry robberies, a throwback to his early criminal career on the streets.
For his part in murdering Masseria, Adonis received a seat on the Syndicate "board of directors". Adonis and Luciano soon controlled bootlegging in Broadway and Midtown Manhattan.
At its height, this operation grossed $12 million in one year and employed 100 workers. When customers bought cars from his dealerships, the salesmen would intimidate them into buying "protection insurance" for the vehicle.
In the early 1920s, Doto started calling himself "Joe Adonis" (Adonis was the Greek god of beauty and desire). One story states that Adonis received this nickname from a Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl who was dating him.