Cohen went to prison a second time for tax evasion in 1961. He was sent to the notorious Alcatraz prison in San Francisco bay for fifteen years. After the ‘crumbling dungeon’ closed he was transferred to a prison in Atlanta where he suffered a vicious attack from a disturbed prisoner with an iron bar and was left partially paralysed.
After leaving Springfield prison in Missouri in 1972, the now ageing former mobster took retirement and spent his twilight days travelling the country visiting old friends. But one headline grabbing incident brought him back into the limelight again in 1974 when nineteen-year-old heiress, Patty Hearst, granddaughter of newspaper magnate William Randolph, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. The SLA was a group of American terrorists who targeted the Hearst empire due to its wealth and power as the country’s leading newspaper empire.
Cohen was approached by the Hearst family, due to his ‘background’ with the underworld but despite his efforts to pin down the people responsible for kidnapping Patty, the situation came to nothing. Cohen also backed out of further developments when it transpired that Patty was not interested in returning home and may herself be imprisoned for terrorist activities.
His last remaining years were spent at his home in California where he died peacefully in 1976.