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), and L. Bergreen (1994); K. Allsop, The Bootleggers and Their Era (1970); J. Eig, Get Capone (2010).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.