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.
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
scars. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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 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.
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