How Much Do You Know About Al Capone?

How Much Do You Know About Al Capone?

Oct 08
How Much Do You Know About Al Capone?

Mention Al Capone and visions of a vicious gangster likely come to mind. Known trivia and facts you probably did not know about Al Capone likely contribute to the mystique and Hollywood-style fame of one of the most notorious gangsters of his time. Ira Riklis delves into some of pieces of trivia about the renown mobster.

Early Life and Childhood Gangs

Born to Italian immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York on January 17, 1899, Alphonse Capone joined gangs early in life. Some sources say he quit school after sixth grade, while others indicate that he was expelled at age 14.

Capone sustained a cut across his face during a fight, leading to his well-known nickname, “Scarface.”

He soon began living the gangster life, along with the likes of Lucky Luciano and Johnny Torrio. He married Mae Coughlin in 1918, remaining with her until death. He fathered one child with Mae.

The FBI indicates that Al Capone joined Torrio as a member of the Colosimo mob in Chicago around 1920. His crimes ranged from minor offenses to tax evasion and heinous criminal acts.

Capone and the Mob Life

Prohibition offered opportunities for gangsters like Al Capone to make a great deal of money while building their criminal empire. Alcohol-smuggling, prostitution and gambling enterprises increased wealth as well as competition among mobsters.

Johnny Torrio retired from life as a gangster after an assassination attempt in 1925. Already known for being a ruthless mobster, Capone took over the gang upon Torrio’s retirement.

His rivalries with other gangs continued after his rise to the top. Some sources indicate that Capone and “The outfit” raked in up to $100 million annually. He enjoyed celebrity status when speaking with the media but became elusive at times when aware that law enforcement was closing in on him.

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Although multiple sources attributed the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to Al Capone, he was never criminally charged with the murders of seven men affiliated with gangster Bugs Moran. The attackers lined the men against a wall and shot them all to death.

Capone conveniently went to Florida around the time of the massacre, where he remained on the February 14, 1929, massacre. His whereabouts was one reason that law enforcement could not charge him with the murders. The case remained unsolved.

Elliot Ness, Income Tax Evasion and the Downfall of Al Capone

Capone considered Elliot Ness his enemy. Some officials tired of his tactics to evade court appearances and arrest, while other officials gladly accepted bribes. Witness intimidation tactics kept some witnesses from offering testimony against Capone or members of his gang. Capone made the FBI “Most-wanted” list by 1930.

He received a one-year sentence for carrying a concealed weapon, yet was released after nine months, likely a frustrating turn of events for law enforcement. While the Ness’ team of “The Untouchables” worked tirelessly to take him down, Al Capone maintained his national notoriety and ability to hide from the FBI.

Although Ness sometimes receives credit for the apprehension and prison sentence handed down to Al Capone, he actually was not responsible for Capone’s fall from leadership of his criminal gang. The U.S. Treasury Department successfully brought charges of income tax evasion against Capone, resulting in a 1931 conviction. He began serving 11 years at the U.S. Penitentiary at Atlanta.

He soon found himself at Alcatraz after reports of receiving privileged treatment surfaced. He received an early release in 1939 due to advanced syphilis. He died in 1947.

Little Known Al Capone Facts

When Al Capone purchased a home in Miami, officials worked tirelessly to rid Miami of Capone for good with the sheriff giving orders to arrest him “On sight,” says the South Beach Magazine.

Al Capone once said, “They can’t collect legal taxes from illegal money.” Brainy Quotes published other Capone quotes such as:

“Vote early and vote often.”

“I don’t even know what street Canada is on.”

“When I sell liquor it’s called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive, it’s called hospitality.”

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