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The Life of Al Capone – an Infamous Genius

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Born in the midst of harsh conditions surrounding him and his immigrant family, Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born on 1899 in New York. Born into a immigrant family from Italy, Al had a semi average upbringing his father was a barber and his mother a seamstress. From a young age Al showed promise as a student but he also had a problem with authority. Soon at the tender age of 14 Al Capone found himself expelled from school for hitting a female teacher in the face. Working small jobs around Brooklyn consisted of his expulsion.

Soon he ran into Johnny Torrio in the streets of New York. Johnny Torrio who Al later regarded as his mentor was infamous for being a founding member for the criminal organization James Streets Boy Gang which later became the Five Points Gang.

In 1909 John Torrio moved to Chicago to run a brothel, In 1920 Capone followed after John Torrio requested for him. As prohibition began this gave way for Capone’s bootlegging operations. Once Mr. Torrio retired in 1925 this was a huge opening for Al Capone. This also gave way to his violent methods of territorial dominance. As Al Capone’s notoriety grew he made sure to be as careful as possible he would always travel with two bodyguards and preferred to travel by night. Business was halted due to a crackdown on the racketeering that was going on in Chicago. The location the mob chose to move there location to was to Cicero, Illinois.

Throughout the mob, members took a variety of social jobs and government official jobs. “…One of dozens of people injured by roving bands of ‘sluggers, ‘ who intimidated, beat up and even kidnapped voters, election workers and campaign workers on election day in Cicero in 1924” was a headline in the Chicago Tribune. The mob men were notorious for serving out punishments if citizens decided to vote for anyone other than Mayor Joseph Klenha. His trail of blood wouldn’t end there. Frankie Yale was an American gagster who al Capone would soon be making negotiations with. Him and Al Capone were to smuggle large amounts of bootlegged whiskey. Eventually this led up into an event known as Adonis Club Massacre.

Richard “Peg Leg” Lonergan was a rival enemy of Frankie Yale which was a close associate of Al Capone. Richard was tipped that Al and his people would be at the Adonis Club, Richard “Peg Leg” decided to show up with some of his men who were all member of The White Hand Gang. One thing led to another and suddenly there was a shootout between Capone’s men and Richard’s men. As a result Richard “Peg leg” and two of his men passed away. Although there were plenty of witnesses there was not enough to charge Capone or his men.

Although the police were onto him, most of the high profile cases were unsuccessful due to lack of evidence. As law enforcement’s frustration grew they decided to perform occasional raids at his brothels and gambling hideouts. The constant fear would cause him to go into a hideout during the summer of that year. He would surprisingly turn himself into the police but soon got out again for lack of evidence. Al Capone would mock the justice system and police as well.

Before authorities could grasp the level of character they were out to get, Al Capone had an elaborate plan to finally get rid of his long time enemy George “Bugs” Moran who was the leader of the Moran mob. Once a bootlegger lured in George “Bugs” Moran and his men the mob men were to act as police and line the men up. According to police reports the men were lined up all seven of them were killed in cold blood. To their surprise “Bugs’s” Moran was not found amongst the men. He fled whenever he spotted the police vehicle. Although Al Capone wasn’t present on scene but instead in a Florida resort, he was suspected as the prime suspect.

Once media and newspapers caught light of this Al Capone was considered to be Americas public enemy. In May of 1929 prosecutors held Al Capone accountable of carrying concealed weapons. He was mandated to serve a nine month sentence and was later released for good behavior. His freedom would be short because on February 1931 he was found guilty on a contempt charge, which he was sentenced to six months in Cook County Jail.

Meanwhile Al Capone was in jail, the United States Treasury were building a lengthy case on Mr. Capone regarding his tax evasion. Frank Wilson was a special agent of the Intelligence Unit for the IRS tasked with investigate and build a case on Al Capone’s tax evasion. He also investigated his brother Ralph Capone and lieutenant Frank Nitti. Finding information regarding Al Capone’s income was like finding a needle in a haystack he didn’t keep financial nor did he have any bank accounts. After Frank Wilson and his team scavenged through roughly two million documents. Unsurprisingly they found some large transactions which he didn’t report as income. On October 17, 1931 the judge handed him the longest sentence ever for a tax evasion conviction, an eleven year sentence. Once in prison in Atlanta Georgia he mostly got what he wanted. He would bribe officials and he’d have a gathering of mirrors, typewriters, rugs and sets of encyclopedias. When prosecutors found out they were upset and wanted to relocate Al Capone to a much more harsh jail. They thought Alcatraz was ideal. So on August 22nd 1934 he was transferred to Alcatraz.

This is where Al Capone’s demise became prevalent. His condition of syphilis was deteriorating his mental capacity at an advanced pace. He was only getting worse throughout his time in Alcatraz. He was ultimately released on January 6, 1939 due to his tertiary syphilis to a Baltimore hospital. He would often be confused and disoriented due to his worsening condition. He would finally retire at a Floridian estate. He soon died on January 25, 1947 at the age of 48.

Overall Alphonse Capone was an infamous genius. He gathered enormous amounts of wealth and elaborately stayed under the radar. He is known for his influence of creating the term money laundering. He precisely bribed his way through authority and through the law. But in the end the consequences came crashing down, as his mental stability was completely gone. He died with the mental capacity of a twelve year old boy. 

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