Today in History: Indictments put an end to Al Capone and his empire.

On the 12th June 1931, Eliot Ness and his “Untouchables” and the Justice Department, charged notorious gangland chief Al Capone issuing him with indictments for violations of US prohibition laws. Interestingly, a week earlier Treasury Department agents led by Frank Wilson had already acquired indictments against Al Capone for tax evasion. In a strategic move, the US District Attorney’s office decided to prosecute Capone for income tax evasion first and, if for some reason they failed to prosecute Capone, they would then pursue the prohibition charges brought by Ness. While Eliot Ness’s dogged investigation did not put Capone in prison, he did seriously cripple Capone’s underworld empire.

Capone had once dominated the gangland scene since the infamous St. Valentine’s Day massacre of 1929. He built his empire by profiting from gambling and prostitution, but bootlegging made him extremely wealthy.

Arrested and charged, Al Capone would be sentenced to serve eleven years in jail for tax evasion, first at a federal penitentiary in Atlanta and a few years later in the famed prison known as Alcatraz. He would later be released after serving around seven years, but his days as a gangland boss were strictly over. By 1940, Capone was a broken man with the onset of late-stage syphilis completely destroying his state of mind. Capone would die in 1947 from a fatal heart attack. He was only 48 years old.

Robert Horvat is a Melbourne based blogger. He believes that the world is round and that art is one of our most important treasures. He has seen far too many classic films and believes coffee runs through his veins. As a student of history, he favours ancient and medieval history. Music pretty much rules his life and inspires his moods. Favourite artists include The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Garbage and Lana Del Rey.

1 comment on “Today in History: Indictments put an end to Al Capone and his empire.

  1. So interesting…today he would be at the top of the crime chain as a Drug Lord. I wonder how long it would take the Justice Department to prosecute him for his crimes. He was untouchable for so long!

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