Best Known For
A child from an Italian immigrant family, Al Capone, also known as "Scarface," rose to infamy as the leader of the Chicago mafia during the Prohibition era.
Al Capone - Taking Him Out (4:57)
Al Capone - Rise to Power (2:59)
Al Capone - Random Facts (2:00)
Al Capone - Sentenced (0:35)
Al Capone was a famous outlaw and leader of the Mob in Chicago. It took Eliot Ness and the secret six of Chicago to take down Al Capone on tax evasion.
Al Capone rose to power with a deadly combination of raw brutality and brainpower. "Scarface" wanted to be loved, but wasn't afraid to murder anyone that crossed him.
Al Capone is best known as the Prohibition-era leader of organized crime in Chicago, however, there's more than meets the eye to this criminal mastermind.
Deadly gangster Al Capone was sentenced to jail for tax evasion in 1931.
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McSwiggin was mistakenly shot and killed by Capone's henchmen during a shoot out between rivals outside a bar. Capone was blamed but once again due to lack of evidence he escaped arrest. However,
the murder was followed by a big outcry against gangster violence and public sentiment went against Capone.
High profile investigations against Capone failed. The police therefore took their frustrations out by constantly raiding his whorehouses and gambling dens. Capone went into hiding for three months during the summer. But eventually he took a huge risk and gave himself up to the Chicago police. It proved to be the right decision as the authorities did not have enough evidence to charge him. Capone was a once again a free man having made a mockery of the police and justice system.
Ironically, Capone took on the role of peacemaker, appealing to the other gangsters to tone down their violence. He even managed to broker an amnesty between rival gangsters and for two months the killing and violence ceased. But Chicago was firmly in the grip of gangsters and Capone appeared beyond the reach of the law. Somewhat ironically it was the pen pushers from the tax office who were to pose the greatest threat to the gangsters' bootlegging empires. In May 1927, the Supreme Court ruled that a bootlegger had to pay income tax on his illegal bootlegging business. With such a ruling it wasn't long before the small Special Intelligence Unit of the IRS under Elmer Irey was able to go after Al Capone.
Capone left for Miami with his wife and children and bought Palm Island estate, a property that he immediately started to renovate expensively. This gave Elmer Irey his chance to document Capone's income and spending. But Capone was clever. Every transaction he made was on a cash basis. The only exception was the tangible assets of the Palm Island estate, which was evidence of a major source of income.
Meanwhile, internal infighting between rival gangsters escalated into street violence and frequent hijackings of Capone's whiskey transports became a big problem. Another thorn in the side for Capone was Frank Yale. Once a powerful associate, he was now seen as the main instigator of disruptions to Capone's whisky business. One Sunday afternoon, Yale met his end with the first use of a "Tommy gun" against him.
Al Capone also had to deal with rival gangster Bugs Moran and his North Siders gang. They had been a threat for years. Moran had even once tried to kill Capone's colleague and friend Jack McGurn. The decision by Capone and McGurn to avail themselves of Moran was to lead to one of the most infamous gangland massacres in history &emdash; The St Valentine's Day Massacre.
On Thursday, February 14, 1929 at 10:30am Bugs Moran and his gang were lured by a bootlegger into a garage to buy whiskey. McGurn's men would be waiting for them, dressed in stolen police uniforms; the idea being that they would stage a fake raid. McGurn, like Capone, made sure he was far away and checked into a hotel with his girlfriend.
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Bootleggers, smugglers, drug dealers, hit men—all these occupations are the provenance of mobsters, who operate in ethnic, family and business networks. Mobsters' real life crimes, and Hollywood's fascination with them, has earned them a special place in the American imagination. From Al Capone's Chicago crime ring to Bugsy Siegel's Las Vegas racket, these mobsters have made their names notorious from coast to coast.
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