90 Years Ago — Al Capone Convicted of Income Tax Evasion (October 17 1931) [UPDATE : Al Capone’s Favorite Gun Sells for $860K at Auction]

“Capitalism gives all of us a great opportunity if we seize it with both hands and hang on to it.”

Chicago gangster Al Capone

October 17 2020 — On October 17, 1931, Chicago gangster Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and later sentenced to 11 years in federal prison, ending his control of the Chicago underworld. Aren’t you glad that the era of mafia politicians and corrupt law officers is finally over? I mean… Almost over.  Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“A smile can get you far, but a smile with a gun can get you further.”Al Capone

UPDATE (October 17 2021) — Witherell’s auction house sold nearly 200 pieces from the Capone family Friday at the Sutter Club in Sacramento, with some items fetching for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Al Capone's Possessions, Now for Sale, Show Two Sides of the Gangster - The  New York Times

The top seller was a .45-caliber Colt pistol, Capone’s favorite gun, which garnered a winning bid of $860,000. The next-highest seller was a .38-caliber Colt pistol, which went for $200,000.

“We expected that Al Capone’s personal gun would be the top-selling item because we immediately received multiple six-figure bids when we announced the auction back in August,” Brian Witherell, co-founder of Witherell’s said in a prepared statement.

“The final selling price, along with the record number of registered bidders, completely exceeded our expectations. It really speaks to the notoriety and allure of Al Capone, who is more widely known today than he was 100 years ago.”

Diane Patricia Capone, granddaughter of Al Capone and Placer County resident, said in a statement provided by Witherell’s that the pieces put up for sale reveal a personal side of the infamous figure.

“We decided that it was time to part with these family heirlooms and to reveal a very different side of Al Capone that most people would never imagine,” she said.

“To us, he was Papa. He was a very loving and doting husband, father and grandfather who would run around the house playing with us as small children. He was clearly a complex man, and that’s evident if you examine the years after his imprisonment at Alcatraz.”

Over the years, many actors — including Robert De Niro, Jason Robards, F. Murray Abraham, and Eric Roberts — have played the infamous crime boss.

But for all the flash and glamour of the Hollywood Al Capone, he actually lived a life filled with tragedy.

So, why did Hollywood decide to glamorize this gangster? Al Capone might be the most well-known American gangster, but he was certainly not the most powerful Italian gangster during Prohibition.

By 1933, Lucky Luciano, with some help from Meyer Lansky, had established a national syndicate of Italian and Jewish gangsters. And, even if he never said so, Luciano was clearly the Boss.

For some reasons, the role of Jewish gangsters during the prohibition is almost ignored nowadays.

Professor Joe Kraus was astonished to learn that his grandfather had been part of Chicago’s Prohibition crime wars. Amazingly, his mother knew almost nothing about it.

“Gangsters lie for a living, so it’s no surprise that we’ve lost much of what actually transpired, but it seemed extraordinary that, in less than a generation, my own family had lost the sense that there was even a larger story to tell,” Kraus recently wrote.

During WWII, Luciano and Lansky collaborated with the US Naval Intelligence Department. After the war, Luciano’s sentence was commuted on the condition that he be deported to Italy.

[Operation Underworld was the United States government’s code name for the cooperation of Italian and Jewish organized crime figures from 1942 to 1945 to counter Axis spies and saboteurs along the U.S. northeastern seaboard ports, avoid wartime labor union strikes, and limit theft by black-marketeers of vital war supplies and equipment. Wikipedia]


“All I ever did was sell beer and whiskey to our best people. All I ever did was supply a demand that was pretty popular. Why, the very guys that make my trade good are the ones that yell the loudest about me. Some of the leading judges use the stuff.”

Chicago gangster Al Capone

Brooklyn-born Al Capone followed gangster Johnny Torrio, a member of Big Jim Colosimo’s criminal organization, to Chicago in 1921, just as the Colosimo mob had begun to exploit the growing bootlegging industry in Chicago.

In 1925, Torrio, who had succeeded Colosimo, was seriously wounded. Capone took over as mob boss.

Based out of Cicero, Ill., Capone controlled many speakeasies and casinos in and around Chicago. In 1929, he seized control of the Chicago underworld when his men killed at least seven members of Bugs Moran’s gang in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Capone “built a fearsome reputation in the ruthless gang rivalries of the period, struggling to acquire and retain ‘racketeering rights’ to several areas of Chicago,” says the FBI. “That reputation grew as rival gangs were eliminated or nullified, and the suburb of Cicero became, in effect, a fiefdom of the Capone mob.”

Capone was targeted by federal authorities. In May 1929, he was arrested and sentenced to a year in prison on a weapons charge. He served nine months in a luxurious prison cell and resumed control of the mob upon his release, but his rule would be short-lived. In 1931, he was indicted for tax evasion.

He at first pleaded guilty, believing that he would receive another short sentence, but the judge informed him that was not the case. Capone changed his plea and agreed to go to trial. He was found guilty on Oct. 17, 1931. On Nov. 24, he was given an 11-year prison sentence, ordered to pay $215,000 in back taxes, and fined $50,000.

Capone’s successful conviction set a precedent for future law enforcement officials. Tax evasion would become a popular way to convict participants in organized crime if more substantial evidence was not available.

In May 1932, Capone was sent to Atlanta, which at the time hosted America’s most notorious prison. Once there, Capone began to take control of the prison, receiving special privileges from guards and other prisoners. Word spread about his situation in Atlanta and he was eventually transferred to Alcatraz.

In Alcatraz he was completely isolated from the outside world and rendered powerless with no way to buy off guards or cellmates. He also showed signs of syphilitic dementia and spent time in the prison hospital.

After a year in a different California prison, Capone was set free on Nov. 16, 1939, having served just over seven and a half years.

Physically and mentally unfit to return to mob life, he returned to his home in Palm Island, Fla., where he lived out the rest of his life in quiet. His body and mind deteriorated due to a stroke and syphilis, and he died of pneumonia on Jan. 25, 1947.

“They can’t collect legal taxes from illegal money.”Al Capone

Why Al Capone Wasn’t Your Typical Discreet Gangster

Al Capone wasn’t just one of the biggest distributers of bootleg alcohol during Prohibition, he also embraced his notoriety in some flamboyant ways.


On This Day: Al Capone Convicted of Income Tax Evasion — Finding Dulcinea


On This Day — Al Capone Convicted of Income Tax Evasion (October 17 1931)

On This Day — Al Capone Convicted of Income Tax Evasion (October 17 1931) [2019]

On This Day — Al Capone Convicted of Income Tax Evasion (October 17 1931) [2020]

On This Day — Al Capone Convicted of Income Tax Evasion (October 17 1931) [UPDATE : Al Capone’s Favorite Gun Sells for $860K at Auction]

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