Al Capone is perhaps the best known gangster of all time and by far the most



powerful mob boss of his era. His mob dominated the Chicago area from 1925 to 1931,



when he was imprisoned for income tax evasion. This was the only crime the courts



could prove against him. He went to jail at Alcatraz for eight years until he became very



ill with syphilis and died from the disease in 1947 (URL:http://www.broonale.co.uk/



austria/capone.html 1-3).



Al Capone was born somewhere in Brooklyn on January 17, 1899 but knowbody



really knows for sure. Capone grew up in a tough neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. He



attended school through the sixth grade. He recieved his nickname Scarface during these



years as a result of a knife attack from the brother of a girl he had insulted which left



three scares (Kobler 23). Soon after, Capone joined the James Street gang which was



headed by a guy named Johnny Torrio. In 1920, Torrio asked Capone to go to Chicago



and work with his uncle who controlled the city's largest prostitution and gambling ring



at the time.



Later that year the Prohibition act came into affect and Capone became interested



in selling illegal whiskey and other alcoholic beverages. Torrio's uncle did not agree



with this idea but within the next month he was shot and killed. Capone and Torrio took



over Torrio's uncles business and added the selling of illegal alcohol. After Torrio was



gunned down and almost killed by a rival gang, he retired from the underworld which



left Capone to run the empire alone (Kobler 34).



At the age of 26, Capone was managing more than 1,000 employees with a



payroll of more than $300,000 a week. He demanded total loyalty from all of his



employes (URL:http://www.nara.gov/nara/ events/calendar/capone.html 2). During this



time Capone became so rich that he gave out free food for Chicago's unemployed which



made him look like he had a heart of gold. By 1927, Capone was grossing about



$105,000,000 a year from various illegal operations (the average law-abiding US citizen



in 1927 was taking home just $2,400 a year in pay). When appearing in public, he



travelled in a seven ton limousine and had 18 bodyguards including the guy who gave



him the scares on his face. Capone was a marked man by this time, and after several



attempts on his life from a rival gang, he struck back with the St. Valentine's Day



Massacre on February 14, 1929 (Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1996, 1997



Compton's NewMedia). It may be the greatest violence that ever occured during the



Chicago gang era, as seven members of "Bugsy" Moran's mob were killed with machine-



guns by Capone's mob posing as police officers (URL: http://user.capone/life/story.html



1). The massacre was credited to the Capone mob, although Capone himself was in



Florida and no one was ever charged with the killings.This gruesome exectution of



several of his enemies ended any gang resistence against Capone and his empire. By this



time however, Capone's days as a free man were numbered, because an I.R.S.



investigator, Elmer L. Irey, had built a case against him that was strong enough to convict



him on tax evasion charges (URL:http://clio.nara.gov/exhall /originals/capone.html 1).



On the first day of the income tax evasion trial which began on October 7, 1930



Capone and his lawyers were confident because they had previewed the list of jurors and



knew the names and addresses of each of them. At the last minute, the judge on the case



was changed from Judge Edwards to Judge Wilkerson, who came to the courtroom with a



new set of jurors. To reduce the temptations of jury tampering, the judge keep the trial as



short as possible and quarantined the jury at night. During the trial, the prosecuters



documented Capone's huge spendings, evidence of an enormous income. The



government also included proof that Capone was aware of his obligation to pay Federal



income tax but failed to do so. After nearly nine hours of court, the jurors found Capone



guilty of three felonies and two misdemeanors, relating to his failure to pay and file his



income taxes between the years 1925 and 1929. Capone simply said to this "The income



tax law is a lot of bunk. The government can't