Good day to you! How are you? I hope that you are doing well. The evocative title of today’s eNewsletter takes its inspiration from an event that happened on this date in 1931. A certain gangster by the name of Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion. For someone who was involved in various forms of organized crime it seems like he got off relatively easy. However, as this article will explain, the lucrative life of crime that Mr. Capone seemed to enjoy did not pay well in the long run...
Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born on January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian immigrants. He preferred to go by the name of Al but also maintained the nickname of “Scarface” due to a scar across one of his cheeks that he had gotten from a fight in his youth. Although he was a proverbial teacher in the “School of Hard Knocks” he did not do so well as a literal student in school. In fact, he was expelled from junior high for hitting his teacher and from that moment onward he preferred a life of crime. Though he worked a couple of legitimate jobs he found that “working” for his friend Johnny Torrio was much more exciting.
Johnny was a successful crime boss who started out in New York but then made his way west to the Windy City of Chicago. At his invitation, Al Capone moved from the East Coast to Chi Town to help Johnny with his “business” operations of bootlegging, gambling, and prostitution. Since Prohibition - or the outlawing of alcohol - was in full effect at that time in history, it was the business of bootlegging that was truly booming. When Capone took over the business for Torrio some estimate that his annual revenue was more than $100 million. That's an astounding figure for today, let alone back in the 1920s. Capone won over supporters among politicians, police officers, and folks of the general populous with his generous and easygoing personality. He was even thought of as a “Robin Hood” for his charitable contributions.
However, a series of violent actions and assassinations ordered by Capone in broad daylight shifted the tide of opinion about him. He was considered “Public Enemy Number One” and the U.S. Government did what it could to pin some crime on him. After seizing thousands of documents from his headquarters the government was able to determine that Capone owed an enormous amount of money for taxes. The case went to trial and Capone was convicted on this date eighty-eight years ago on this very day. He spent a couple of years in a prison in Atlanta before being transferred to the famous Alcatraz Island. Due to declining physical and mental health - as a consequence of contracting a disease in his youth - he was released in the seventh year of his eleven year sentence.
On January 25, 1947 at the young age o
f 48, Al “Scarface” Capone died from a heart attack. Just before his death he actually received the Last Rites or the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick. While none of us can judge the state of a person's soul we do pray for God's mercy upon Mr. Capone and all who would seek the treasures of this world rather than the treasures of above. Though the temporal gains can seem to be quite attractive in the end a life of crime doesn't pay for entry into eternal life.