Al Capone - Leading the
An American gangster, Al Capone led a crime syndicate
dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor and other illegal
activities during the
Prohibition Era. Born in Brooklyn,
on January 17, 1899 to Italian immigrants, Capone quit school after
the sixth grade and began to associate with a notorious street gang.
He was quickly accepted as a member of the group led by
Johnny Torrio, and became friends with another
gang member by the name of Lucky Luciano.
About 1920, at
Johnny Torrio's invitation, Capone joined
Chicago where he had become an influential lieutenant with his uncle, Giacomo "Big Jim" Colosimo,
a major crime boss and pimp. The mob group was also involved in legitimate businesses and cultivated influence with
receptive public officials, labor unions and employees' associations.
However, by 1920,
because Colismo resisted getting into the lucrative alcohol
distribution business during
Torrio had his uncle killed and took over the operation,
making Capone his right hand man. Heavily involved in illegal brewing, distilling and distribution of beer and
liquor, which were viewed as "growth industries," Torrio
took full advantage of the opportunities.
In 1925, Capone became boss when Torrio, seriously wounded in an assassination attempt, surrendered
control and retired to Brooklyn. Capone had built a fearsome reputation in
the ruthless gang rivalries of the period, struggling to acquire and
retain "racketeering rights" to several areas of Chicago. That
reputation grew as rival gangs were eliminated or nullified, and the
suburb of Cicero became, in effect, a fiefdom of the Capone mob, which
became known as the Chicago Outfit.
Perhaps the St. Valentine's Day Massacre on February 14,
1929, might be regarded as the culminating violence of the Chicago gang
era, as seven members or associates of the "Bugs" Moran mob were
machine-gunned down against a garage wall by rivals posing as police. The
massacre was generally ascribed to the Chicago Outfit, although Capone himself was
in Florida at the time.
The investigative jurisdiction of the
FBI during the 1920s and early 1930s was more limited than it is
today, and the gang warfare and depredations of the period were not within
the Bureau's investigative authority. Instead, their crimes fell under the
jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
The FBI; however, got
involved when Al Capone was reluctant to appear before a Federal Grand Jury on March 12, 1929, in
response to a subpoena. On March 11th, his lawyers formally filed for
postponement of his appearance, submitting a physician's affidavit dated
March 5th, which attested that Capone, in Miami, had been suffering from
bronchial pneumonia, had been confined to bed, and that it would be dangerous to
his health to travel to Chicago. His appearance date before the grand jury was re-set for March
On request of the U.S. Attorney's Office, the
FBI obtained statements to the effect that Capone had
attended race tracks in the Miami area, that he had made a trip to the
Bahamas, and that he had been interviewed at the
office of the Dade County Solicitor, where he had appeared in good
Capone appeared before the Federal Grand Jury at
March 20, 1929, and completed his testimony on March 27th. As he left the
courtroom, he was arrested by Agents for Contempt of Court, an offense for
which the penalty could be one year and a $1,000 fine. He posted $5,000
bond and was released.
On May 17, 1929, Capone and his bodyguard were arrested
in Philadelphia for carrying concealed deadly weapons. Within 16 hours
they had been sentenced to terms of one year each. Capone served his time
and was released in nine months for good behavior on March 17, 1930.
On February 28, 1931, Capone was found guilty in Federal
Court on the Contempt of Court charge and was sentenced to six months in
Cook County Jail in Chicago,
Illinois. His appeal on that charge was subsequently dismissed.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department had been developing
evidence on tax evasion charges. In addition to Al Capone, his brother
Ralph "Bottles" Capone, Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, Frank Nitti and other
mobsters were subjects of tax evasion charges.
On June 16, 1931, Al Capone pled guilty to tax evasion and
Prohibition charges. He then boasted to the press that he had struck a
deal for a 2 ½ sentence, but the presiding judge
informed him he, the judge, was not bound by any deal. Capone then changed
his plea to not guilty.
On October 17, 1931, Capone was convicted
after trial, and on November 24th, was sentenced to eleven years in
Federal prison, fined $50,000 and charged $7,692 for court costs, in
addition to $215,000 plus interest due on back taxes. The six-month
Contempt of Court sentence was to be served concurrently. While awaiting
the results of appeals, Capone was confined to the Cook County Jail. Upon
denial of appeals, he entered the U.S. Penitentiary at Atlanta and was
later sent to
On January 6, 1939 Capone was released from
Alcatraz and transferred to Terminal Island, a Federal Correctional
Institution in California. Finally on November 16, 1939, Al Capone was released after having
served seven years, six months and fifteen days, and having paid all fines
and back taxes. However, his isolation from his associates and the repeal
of Prohibition in January 1933 had greatly
diminished his power.
He was also suffering from paresis derived from syphilis
and had deteriorated greatly during his confinement. Immediately upon his
release, he entered a Baltimore hospital for brain treatment, and then
went on to his
Florida home, an estate on Palm Island near Miami.
He never publicly returned to Chicago
and had become mentally incapable of returning to gangland politics. By 1946,
his physician and a Baltimore psychiatrist, after examination, both concluded Al
Capone had been reduced to the mentality of a 12-year-old child. He continued to
reside on Palm Island with his wife and immediate family, in a secluded
atmosphere, until his death due to a stroke and pneumonia on January 25, 1947.
Al Capone was first buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Chicago, but was
later moved to the city's Mount Carmel Cemetery.
Al Capone's home in
From Legends' General Store
This Is Your FBI Old Time Radio MP3 Collection on DVD - This
series was a radio crime drama which aired in the United States on ABC
from April 6, 1945 to January 30, 1953. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover gave it
his endorsement, calling it "the finest dramatic program on the air."
Producer-director Jerry Devine was given access to FBI files by Hoover,
and the resulting dramatizations of FBI cases were narrated by Frank
Lovejoy (1945), Dean Carleton (1946-47) and William Woodson (1948-53).
Stacy Harris had the lead role of Special Agent Jim Taylor. Others in the
cast were William Conrad, Bea Benaderet and Jay C. Flippen.
This collection of This Is Your FBI Greats includes 247 different shows
and appearances for a total of 117+ hours of listening enjoyment.
Made in the USA.