AL CAPONE, THE AMERICAN GANGSTER .THE RISE OF THE AMERICAN MAFIA.HE RULED AN EMPIRE OF CRIME IN THE WINDY CITY.GAMBLING BOOTLEGGING,BRIBERY, NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING ,PROSTITUTION ,MURDER,ETC.
Al Capone: The most famous American gangster of all time.Capone was cited for contempt of court in Chicago and arrested in Florida. He was released on bond, but from there on, it was downhill for the notorious gangster.Less than two months later, Capone was arrested in Philadelphia by local police for carrying concealed weapons and was sent to jail for a year.When he was released in 1931, Capone was tried and convicted for the original contempt of court charge. A federal judge sentenced him to six months in prison.In the meantime, federal Treasury agents had been gathering evidence that Capone had failed to pay his income taxes. Capone was convicted, and on October 24, 1931, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. When he finally got out of Alcatraz, Capone was too sick to carry on his life of crime. He died in 1947.
Al Capone, one of America’s most famous gangsters, rose to fame as the leader of the Chicago Mafia during the Prohibition era. Born in 1899, into a respectable family living in Brooklyn, Capone struggled through school and was expelled at the young age of fourteen for hitting a female teacher.Capone’s career in organised crime began when he met the gangster Johnny Torrio, who proved to be a great influence on the impressionable young Capone. Capone soon joined his James Street Boys gang where he swiftly rose up the ranks. Torrio moved to Chicago in 1909, and a decade later Capone would follow.It was in Chicago where Capone rose to the top of organised crime and made a name for himself. It is alleged that either Capone or Frankie Yale were responsible for the assassination of Big Jim Colosimo in 1920, the then current Mafia crime boss, making way for Johnny Torrio’s rule. Capone would soon replace him in 1925 however, and became the leader of the group that would become widely known as the “Capones.”Al Capone was a "punk hoodlum" whose "native Italian secretiveness" confounded tax collectors for years in the 1920s before the government convicted him in the most celebrated tax evasion case in US history, newly released IRS documents show.The Internal Revenue Service, in what it calls a "highly unusual" move, released a trove of records on its investigation of America's most notorious gangster Thursday night, 76 years after his conviction. The memos, covering 1931 to 1936.They show how agents struggled to connect Capone's income to sources such as prostitution, gambling, and bootlegging during Prohibition, all while avoiding threats of assassination. The agents even sent Capone's bookkeeper, a hostile witness, to South America to keep him alive before Capone's trial."That Al Capone is shrewd, there is no doubt, which, together with his native Italian secretiveness, has made this case a most difficult one to handle," Internal Revenue Bureau agents W.C. Hodgins, Jacque L. Westrich, and H.N. Clagett wrote in a 1931 memo to the agent in charge of the Chicago office. The IRS was initially called the Internal Revenue Bureau."Al Capone never had a bank account and only on one occasion could it be found where he ever endorsed a check, all of his financial transactions being made in currency," the memo said. "Agents were unable to find where he ever purchased any securities, therefore, any evidence secured had to be developed through the testimony of associates or others, which, through fear of personal injury, or loyalty, was most difficult to obtain."Hodgins, Westrich, and Clagett determined that Capone failed to report $1,055,375.07 in income from 1924-1929. They proposed taxes and penalties of $383,705.21.After a three-year investigation, the agents succeeded where Elliott Ness and his team of liquor agents, dubbed "The Untouchables," failed: They convicted him of a federal crime. Capone was found guilty of five counts of tax evasion and failing to file a tax return. Sentenced to 11 years in prison, he was released for good behavior after 6 1/2 years and died in 1947.The memos repeatedly refer to the danger of investigating Capone, who was known as Public Enemy No. 1 for his violent attacks on rivals and government agencies. The documents, marked confidential, in many cases did not identify sources or agents."As the lives of the persons who furnished this information and cooperated with the government during the investigation would probably be placed in jeopardy on account of the vengeance of the Capone organization if their help became known, it is not considered advisable to mention their names in this report," Special Agent Frank Wilson wrote in a 60-page report dated Dec. 21, 1933, to Elmer Irey, then chief of the tax agency's intelligence division.The IRS said releasing Capone's records is highly unusual because current confidentiality laws prohibit disclosure of tax information. The agency said it decided to make the memos public because Capone never filed a tax return.The Freedom of Information Act request was made by Jonathan Eig, author of "Get Capone," .Eig said in an interview that he was "casting a wide net" for Capone records with federal agencies and was "shocked" that the IRS complied, especially since the agency had won lawsuits seeking access to them in the past.In 1989, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied access to the Capone records in a lawsuit by James Calder, a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The court said Calder didn't have a right to the records under the Constitution or other federal laws.Calder said in an interview yesterday that he was researching a book about President Hoover that alleged Hoover "orchestrated" the Capone investigation."The whole thing is irritating the hell out of me, frankly," Calder said of the IRS's decision to release the records now. He said a law firm represented him in his legal challenge at no charge.Eig said the decision is probably because "there are new lawyers at the IRS taking a different view of this." He added that the agency probably considers their release to be good publicity.
Nucky Johnson second from right, walks the Boardwalk with Al Capone, third from right, and other mob figures for the May 1929 ‘Atlantic City Convention’ of organized crime figures from around the nation.
What is interesting about Capone’s time in the Mafia is that his coming signaled a new age in organised crime unlike any ever seen before. First off, the crime boss enjoyed publicity and did not avoid it like most gangsters. He embraced celebrity culture and made a name of himself, making himself out to be a pillar of the community and a respectable businessman.Secondly, whereas prior to Capone organised crime was not so much organised, more crude and loosely structured, Capone created a corporate empire. He tried to tone down gang crime violence and have run everything like it were a legitimate business. The principal reason why? Prohibition.Before prohibition organised crime had largely been based on gambling, theft and prostitution, but prohibition created an illegal market unlike any which had existed before. With the ban on the sale of alcohol put into effect in 1920, a black market was created under Capone’s Mafia.Ironically, although there are no official figures because its sale was illegal, it is believed alcohol consumption in the USA actually increased under prohibition. The problems which prohibition was meant to solve were actually exacerbated and made worse. Bootleg liquor brought in by the Mafia was more dangerous to drink; there being no standard of quality in the products, the result was many consumers were harmed or killed. Furthermore, the US government mandated that poisonous adulterants be added to industrial alcohol, resulting in the deaths of thousands.Prohibition was responsible for the massive expansion of crime in the 1920’s. The money it brought in was used to bolster, diversify and expand many of the Mafia’s business interests, legal and illegal. Gangs were given the opportunity to flourish, and Capone took full advantage, allowing organized crime to grow and rise to heights never seen before. Although Capone may have publicly sought to tone down the violence associated with organised crime, as gangs expanded so did violence, and soon Chicago became the centre of a gang war which cost the lives of many.The plain fact is that the introduction of prohibition increased risks and violence. Alcohol, a commodity which prior had been enjoyed by the average American without problem, soon became the centre point for the rapid expansion of the American crime scene. Prohibition allowed organized crime to expand like never before, giving the American Mafia an untapped source of income which the government struggled to close.Capone was eventually convicted of over twenty-two acts of tax evasion, totalling over $200,000, but not before he left his mark. By the time Capone was sent to Alcatraz prison in 1931, he had amassed a fortune worth over $100 million and was responsible for the murders of countless people. Capone may have made himself out to be a respectable businessman, a man for the people and a “Robin Hood” type figure, but he was far from it. Rather, he was responsible for the rise of a new culture of crime in the USA.Al Capone gained a large powerbase during the height of Prohibition, where he smuggled alcohol into Chicago and the United States. He was notorious for his numerous executions of enemies, such as the St. Valentine's Day massacre in 1929, which was one of the reasons why he was not permitted to join the Commission. Vito Corleone saw Capone's public arrogance and rejection of any political shielding as outright stupidity, and believed that Capone's empire could and would be easily shattered.Capone was an associate of Salvatore Maranzano, who called upon his help during the Olive Oil War of 1933, between Maranzano and Vito Corleone. Capone secretly sent two assassins to eliminate Vito Corleone, but they were both found out early and savagly killed by Luca Brasi, Vito's merciless enforcer. The shock came not so much from the brutality, but how quickly the hit was anticipated and intercepted. A few days later, Capone received a message from Corleone: You know now how I deal with enemies. Why does a Neapolitan interfere in a quarrel between two Sicilians? If you wish me to consider you as a friend I owe you a service which I will pay on demand. A man like yourself must know how much more profitable it is to have a friend who, instead of calling on you for help, takes care of his own affairs and stands ever ready to help you in some future time of trouble. If you do not wish my friendship, so be it. But then I must tell you that the climate in this city is damp; unhealthy for Neapolitans, and you are advised never to visit it. With the possibility that every assassin he sent would end up the same way, Capone ceased to interfere in the matter. Shortly after, Capone was convicted for tax evasion (the only crime that law enforcement officials could pin on him), passing his empire on to Paul Ricca and later Louie Russo, who negotiated a seat on the Commission for Chicago.Judge James Herbert Wilkerson who also presided over Ralph Capone’s case was familiar with Capone and his antics. When US Attorney George E. Q. Johnson agreed to a plea bargain that only gave Capone a couple of years in prison, Judge Wilkerson overruled it, refusing to allow Capone to plead guilty in hopes of receiving a reduced sentence. The Judge ruled that while he wouldn’t accept the guilty plea due to Capone’s lawyer admitting the guilt instead of Capone himself, he would admit the confession into evidence on the grounds that anyone making a statement to the government did so at their own risk, including an authorized legal representative of Capone.The case was now based on the size of Capone’s income using his spending habits as evidence of his income. In November 1931, Capone was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to eleven years in federal prison. In addition, Judge Wilkerson fined him $50,000 plus an addition $7,692 for court costs and a further $215,000 plus interest for back taxes. The judge further ordered that Capone would serve a contempt of court sentence concurrently.Capone said he couldn’t make it. His excuse? He claimed he’d been laid up with broncho-pneumonia for six weeks and was in no shape to travel.That’s when we got involved. We were asked by U.S. Attorneys to find out whether Capone was on the level. Our agents went to Florida and quickly found that Capone’s story didn’t hold water. When he was supposedly bedridden, Capone was out and about going to the race tracks, taking trips to the Bahamas, even being questioned by local prosecutors. And by all accounts, his health was just fine.
1931 Capones tax evasion trial was the event of the day and drew large crowds outside the Federal Building in Chicago hoping to catch a glimpse of the well-known gangster.