Al Capone was possibly the largest and most feared mofia bossAmerica has ever seen. This 1920s gangster made his mark on the worldthrough organized crime during the Prohibition era. He is solely attributedwith Chicagos reputation as a lawless city. Alphonsus Capone was born on January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn, NewYork. As a child he was a member of the Brooklyn Rippers and the FortyThieves Juniors kid gangs. Capone quit school at age fourteen in the sixthgrade. He worked a few odd jobs in Manhattan in a bowling alley and acandy store.
Then Capone took a position as a bouncer in Frankie YalesBrooklyn dive and the Harvard Inn. While working at the Inn he wasattacked by a man and received the facial scars that would give him thebyname Scarface. Capone met Anne Mae Coughlin at a dance in 1918. Later that yearon December 4, 1918 she gave birth to their son, Albert Sonny Francis. Less than a month later they were married.
Capone became a member of the Five Points gang in Manhattan.
During this time he hospitalized a rival gang member in a fight. Feeling theheat from the conflicting group, he moved his family to Chicago. He began towork for John Torrio, an old partner and mentor of Yale. Capone was soonhelping to manage Torrios bootlegging business. He quickly gained therespect of Torrio and became his number two man. After being shot by anopposing gang member, Torrio left Chicago. Capone became boss of theoutfit. Torrios men respected Capone and trusted his business decisions. They referred to Capone as the big man. In the next five years heexpanded his industry of crime. Capone controlled speakeasies, nightclubs,brothels, gambling houses, and much more. His bootlegging provided the cityof Chicago with alcohol during prohibition. Capone had a reported income of$100,000,000 a year. Capone had an intricate spy network throughout Chicago. Crookedpolice men let him prepare for liquor raids and some of his other men madehim aware of assassination plots. He would use hotels as his headquartersand front businesses for a hideout. Capone was always good at successfullyknocking off his enemies when they became too powerful. Although he killedmen himself, it was much safer for his henchmen to do his dirty work.
Capones men would rent an apartment across the street from their target andgun him down when he stepped outside. These operations were quick andprecise, and Capone always had an alibi.
On St. Valentines Day, 1929, four of Capones cohorts entered theliquor headquarters of George Bugs Moran. Two of these men weredressed as police. Morans men, thinking this was a police raid, droppedtheir guns and put their hands against a wall. Using two Thompson machineguns and two shotguns, Capones men killed six gang members and anunlucky friend. More than 150 rounds were fired into the gangsters. Moran,who was most likely the real target, was across the street. Capone, asalways, had an alibi; he was in Florida. Eliot Ness was assigned to shut down Capones illegal industry. Nessand his men found ways to beat Capones spy network. They received thesobriquet Untouchables, because they never took a bribe. TheUntouchables were made up of young, brave officers fresh out of policetraining school. Ness used these officers because he didnt know which ofthe men already on the police force were moles for Capone. Soon they wereshutting down breweries and intercepting bootlegged products regularly. Frank Wilson of the IRS, who was assigned to focus on Capone, found arecord of Capones income. Wilson also discovered that Capone never filedan income tax return or made a declaration of income. Capone owed$215,080.48 in taxes. Now the government had sufficient evidence to indicthim of the felony of income tax evasion and other various assessmentmisdemeanors.
Capone thought he could plea bargain with the judge, but TheHonorable Judge James A. Wilkerson made no deals. Although Capone triedto bribe the jury, Wilkerson changed the jury panel at the last minute. Capone was convicted of only five of the twenty-three charges broughtagainst him. Capone was sentenced to eleven years in prison. He was firstsent to Atlanta federal prison where he quickly took over. A typewriter,mirror, and desk furnished the luxury cell from which he ran his outfit on theoutside. After word of Capones easy life in prison got out, he was moved toAlcatraz. Here he would receive no special treatment.
While incarcerated he showed signs of syphilitic dementia. After hisrelease he stayed in a hospital for a short period of time. His mind and bodydeteriorated to the point where he could no longer run the outfit. Caponelater had an apoplectic stroke which was presumably unrelated to thesyphilitic dementia. Although Capone appeared to be recovering from thestroke, the weakened man fell victim to pneumonia. On January 25, 1947,Alphonsus Capone died of a cardiac arrest. He was laid to rest in the MountOlivet Cemetery in Chicago between his father and brother.
Bibliography:Al Capone.World Book Encyclopedia.1983 Edition.
Al Capone.Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.1999 Edition.Bardsley, MarilynCrime Library: Al Capone.
On-line. Internet. Available http://www.crimelibrary.com/capone/caponepublic.htmHistory Files: Al Capone.On-line. Internet. Available http://www.chicagohs.org/history/capone.htmAlphonsus Capone, aka ScarfaceOn-line. Internet.Availablehttp://www.fbi.gov/yourfbi/history/famcases/capone/capone.htmWords/ Pages : 929 / 24
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