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Al Capone, Monster not Mobster

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Al Capone was most known in movies and spectacle for his gruesome crimes, so how did the government forget about all the murders and harm he orchestrated; charging him with tax evasion instead. Legendary crime boss Alfonse ‘Al’ Capone, also known as the infamous scarface didn’t finish elementary school. Yet, he was very far from being stupid, and by the time he was in his mid to late 20’s, he controlled much of Chicago’s criminal backdrop with an elite force. Due to Al Capone’s balanced personality of brutality and charm, he rose to the likeness of being some sort of HollyWood star and people either loved or hated him.

At the time, the city he called his second home: Chicago Illinois, ran almost like the scenes of an old time action film about the good guys and the bad fighting it out in the streets. With some of the first known drive by shootings, and rival gangs killing one another’s members Capone and other mobsters were gaining power and fear from the public eye. It wasn’t the time or the place because the public as well as it’s public servants like the police; were no longer safe. People were unfortunately starting to find themselves in the middle of these violent and graphic situations. For example, “one state attorney, William McSwiggan, was murdered in 1926 outside a Capone speakeasy. Murder characterized Capone’s rule of Chicago. The year before he ascended to power over the city’s vice in 1925, there were 16 murders linked to gangland activity. At the height of his rule, the pyearly gangland murder total reached 64.” Al Capone is not just a mobster but also a monster,becoming a sort of figure head and ruler of many secretive yet profitable illegal businesses that included: bootlegging of alcohol which was illegal under prohibition laws, gambling, prostitution, murder, and protection, yet he was ironically only charged for tax evasion in prison.

Due to Capone’s vicious and highly illegal methods, Capone was an impeccable businessman with the whole package with tons of smarts and Italian charm. “While partaking in a local strike, the Chicago Tribune asked Capone to arbitrate to end the labor dispute”. With Capone “having the power of a king”, Capone was able to help them out with internal sources he had with his mobster “family”. When he was later arrested for multiple major crime charges aka: the murders and other illegal activities that comprised his business; were conspicuously absent from the charges.

A common question still contemplated today is why or why not the FBI and Chicago Police couldn’t point to anything more on him, but the short answer is that Capone was very, very careful and he had the right friends from the right places including people of political power, and of the police force. The Treasury Department described him as possessing a ‘ secret natural Italian secretiveness’. Plus, he even managed to create plausible alibi, finding enough ways to be able to rid himself of evidence from the violence and illegality he partook in so that no connections would be able to be made between him and the crimes he authorized in his “family”.

The now infamous Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago’s Northside is an incredible example of it, several members of Capone’s rival gang were brutally murdered under his own command. Each member was shot directly from behind, after being persuaded into thinking that they were in fact being arrested by police officers who were actually Capone’s mob members in a poor disguise.

At the time, Al was conveniently staying at his beach house in Florida when the multiple murders took place. Furthermore, Capone had even obtained a note from a doctor stating that he’d been bedridden and seriously ill at the time. Capone was equally careful about keeping his illegal earnings hidden.Capone only legally signed one check in his lifetime, and he never had a bank account in his own name usually having them either in an alias’ or his wife’s name.except for with that single check, Capone pretty much always dealt exclusively in cash whether it be coinage, silver, gold, or bills.

Additionionally, Capone then had the added protection of the fact that any and all witnesses were unwilling to testify against him no matter how much they were convinced they’d be safe, or even bribed. Of course there were plenty more than enough of the public eye that were taught of the fact that Al Capone participated in many illegal and morally incorrect acts. Those fortunate or unfortunate enough to be close to him were so so afraid of him that they had no choice but to stand by Capone, were bribed, “taken care of”, or simply feared certain death. The public, cops, and local lawyers of Chicago felt similarly stating that, “Capone was very liberal with both bribes and threats. In 1927, Capone spent an estimated $30 million in bribes alone to politicians, prosecutors, police and other city officials.”

Like with many other infamous mobsters or criminals, there were quite a few occasions when the mobster had unfortunately went off the rails (on a crazy train) and he was charged with and stayed imprisoned for months for a charge of a concealed and illegally carried weapon in the late 1920’s. Additionally in 1931, Al Capone was again charged with contempt for his failure to appear in court in Chicago for questioning about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre after he claimed to be “ill” again and failed miserably.

Since a federal court had issued thecrime’s citation, the FBI began its involvement in investigating Capone and his “family” criminal activities leading to an extremely intense, multiple year -long process of going into his personal business practices with authorities building symbolic paper trails between his crimes and businesses, and ending up looking for witnesses who could and morally would testify against the mobster for his multiple crimes. When the FBI starting working alongside with the Treasury Department and the IRS to “dig up dirt” or evidence against or on the mobster. Unfortunately for Capone, the government groups were able to find enough evidence against Capone ending up able to put charges against him, unfortunately only being able to charge him with tax evasion with the information that was collected. When using the only check he ever endorsed, along with testimony from the last few witnesses that the government was able to gather up and to persuade successfully to go against him, providing the judge with just enough evidence to put Capone away in AlCatraz.

Overall, unfortunately for the United States government, FBI, IRS, and Chicago police, the infamous Al Capone was an incredibly good criminal. No, not meaning that he did any good deeds, though he did have a soup kitchen for the unemployed; Capone was very good at hiding everything and everything that could be used as evidence against him. Once he was finally convicted, Capone served his time for tax evasion, was released and died of cardiac arrest and syphilis; Capone was said to have hid away from society for his last few months and died surrounded by family. A rather good way to die out, with family of course even for a mobster.

Works Cited

  • Capone a Mobster, Not Monster.’ Newsmax, 1 Nov. 2012. Gale General OneFile
  • Capone, Deirdre Marie. ‘Remembering Uncle Al (Capone, that is).’ USA Today, Mar. 2012, p. 52+. Gale
  • DE STEFANO, GEORGE. ‘Ungood Fellas.’ The Nation, 7 Feb. 2000, p. 31. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints
  • ‘Organized Crime.’ Gale Encyclopedia of American Law, edited by Donna Batten, 3rd ed., vol. 7, Gale
  • “The Legend of Scarface” Karaminski, Theodore J. Chicago History. Spring 2006. ProQuest
  • “The Secret Capone Infamous Al cut his mob ties and spent his final years sick, broke, and doting on his grandchildren” New York Post, Oct. 16. 2016. Gale General OneFile
  • “Why was tax evasion the only thing pinned on Al Capone?”,Clark, Josh History vs. Myth Chandler et al. 

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