Infamous Tax Evader – Al Capone
Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone (c1899 – 1947) was an American gangster who attained fame during the Prohibition era as the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit. He gained the nickname “Scareface” after being slashed in the face by Frank Gallucio while working the door at a Brooklyn night club.
Capone was born in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City to Italian immigrants. His life of crime started when he joined the Five Points Gang as a bouncer in organized crime brothels. He climbed the crime ranks and became leader of the Chicago Outfit at the age of 26. Capone expanded the bootlegging business through increasingly violent means (responsible for over 33 murders), but his mutually profitable relationships with mayor William Hale Thompson and the city’s police meant that Capone seemed safe from law enforcement. Capone made donations to various charities and was viewed by many to be a “modern-day Robin Hood”. However, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre of gang rivals, resulting in the killing of seven men in broad daylight, damaged Chicago’s image—as well as Capone’s—leading influential citizens to demand governmental action and newspapers to dub him “Public Enemy No. 1”.
His seven-year reign as crime boss ended when he was 33 years old. The federal authorities became intent on jailing Capone, and they prosecuted him for tax evasion in 1931. Capone’s admissions of his income and unpaid taxes during prior (and ultimately abortive) negotiations to pay the government any back taxes he owed resulted in Capone being convicted and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Capone spent 3.5 years at the Atlanta U.S. Penitentiary and 4.5 years in Alcatraz (see www.alcatrazhistory.com) and was released from prison in 1939. He suffered from Syphilitic dementia and died in his Palm Island mansion in Florida in 1947 of cardiac arrest.
"You’d be stupid not to try to cut your tax bill and those that don’t are stupid in business"
- Bono: U2