Al Capone

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Capone, Al

Capone, Al (Alfonso or Alphonse Capone) (kəpōnˈ), 1899–1947, American gangster, b. Naples, Italy. Brought up in New York City, he became connected with organized crime and was the subject of murder investigations. In 1920 he moved to Chicago and became a lieutenant to John Torrio, a notorious gang leader. They established numerous speakeasies in Chicago in the Prohibition era. After eliminating his opponents, “Scarface” Capone took over control from Torrio. He was implicated in brutal murders and received tribute from businessmen and politicians. His crime syndicate—which terrorized Chicago in the 1920s and controlled gambling and prostitution there—was estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Internal Revenue to have taken in $105 million in 1927 alone. After many efforts to bring him to justice, Capone was finally indicted (1931) by a federal grand jury for evasion of income tax payments and was sentenced to an 11-year prison term. In 1939, physically and mentally shattered by syphilis, Capone was released.


See biographies by F. D. Pasley (1930, repr. 1971), J. Kobler (1971), R. J. Schoenberg (1992), L. Bergreen (1994), and D. Bair (2016); K. Allsop, The Bootleggers and Their Era (1970); J. Eig, Get Capone (2010).

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Capone, (Alphonse) Al

(1899–1947) gangster; born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He became the leader in Chicago bootlegging, gambling, and prostitution during the Prohibition Era. His involvement in gang and liquor wars left hundreds of people dead in Chicago and its suburbs. Increasingly implicated in the corruption of political, law enforcement, and labor officials, he was convicted of income-tax evasion (1931) and sentenced to 11 years. He was released in 1939 because, infected with syphilis, his mental condition was deteriorating.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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