Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone (January 17, 1899 – January 25, 1947) was an American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. The Chicago Outfit, which subsequently became known as the "Capones", was dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities such as prostitution, in Chicago from the early 1920s to 1931.
Older brother Vince Capone, a.k.a Richard 'Two-Gun' Hart, was a policeman in Nebraska. He was involved with stopping illegal bootlegging during Prohibition, while brother Al profited from it in Chicago.
He was a cold-blooded criminal who killed hundreds of people without a second thought. He paid off mayors, governors, and other elected officials to allow his crooked operations to continue. He could even influence elections by having members of his gang intimidate people into voting the way he wanted.
Although Capone ordered dozens of deaths and even killed with his own hands, he often treated people fairly and generously. He was equally known for his violent temper and for his strong sense of loyalty and honor. He was the first to open soup kitchens after the 1929 stock market crash and he ordered merchants to give clothes and food to the needy at his expense.
By 1928, the New Yorker magazine named Capone 'the greatest gang leader in history'. He was suspected to be the man behind most of the murders in Chicago. However, it was difficult to prove this. The legal businesses he ran always left him with an air of respectability that hid the real truth.
Born of an immigrant family in Brooklyn, New York in 1899, Al Capone quit school after the sixth grade and associated with a notorious street gang
HERRICK: How long, Mr. Capone, have you enjoyed a large income?
CAPONE: I never had much of an income.
The new panel of jurors, most of whom were white men from rural areas, had never appeared on any list of Capone's and had never been approached for bribery. These jurors would be sequestered at night so that the Capone mob couldn't get to them.
Capone inherited the "outfit" and became boss. The outfit's men liked, trusted, and obeyed Capone, calling him "The Big Fellow." He quickly proved that he was even better at organization than Torrio, syndicating and expanding the city's vice industry between 1925 and 1930.
"I make money by supplying a public demand. If I break the law, my customers … some of the best people in Chicago, are as guilty as me."
Alphonse Capone has been gone for 60 years, but his legacy — and his inextricable link to Chicago — refuses to die.
One of the most notorious criminals of the 20th century--the man held most responsible for the bloody lawlessness of Prohibition-era Chicago--was imprisoned for tax evasion.
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14, 1929, might be regarded as the culminating violence of the Chicago gang era, as seven members or associates of the “Bugs” Moran mob were machine-gunned against a garage wall by rivals posing as police. The massacre was generally ascribed to the Capone mob
there were 28 names on it, and Al Capone's was the first. Capone headed an enormous crime organization that netted huge profits from the illegal liquor trade and he became a legendary symbol of the violent gangsterism of the Prohibition era.
Before being sent to Alcatraz Prison in 1931 from a tax evasion conviction, he had amassed a personal fortune estimated at $100 million dollars and was responsible for countless murders.
Al Capone dropped out of school at the age of 12, it was clear that being law abiding was the last thing on his mind. He joined a notorious street gang belonging to Johnny Torrio, called the Five Points Gang.
Capone controlled speakeasies, bookie joints, gambling houses, brothels, horse and race tracks, nightclubs, distilleries and breweries at a reported income of $100,000,000 a year.
In 1920 during the height of Prohibition, Capone's multi-million dollar Chicago operation in bootlegging, prostitution and gambling dominated the organized crime scene. Capone was responsible for many brutal acts of violence, mainly against other gangsters.