Feds complete tax case against Capone


CHICAGO, Oct. 13, 1931 (UP) -- The federal government completed its case today against Alphonse Capone, Coney Island bartender who made good in such a big way as a Chicago criminal that he is accused of cheating the income tax department of $215,000.

So suddenly did the prosecution rest and so unprepared did the action catch "Scarface Al's" two attorneys, that Capone looked as though he were ready to weep. The "world's worst criminal," who wears silk underwear and who uses perfume, buried his face in his hands and shuddered.


His attorneys asked for time to prepare their defense. Federal Judge James H. Wilkinson ruled that they could have until 10 a.m. tomorrow.

The lawyers then asked for 10 hours to argue their case. Judge Wilkinson said they might have four. Almost wild-eyed were Attorneys Michael Ahern and Albert Fink. They pleaded for a directed verdict of not guilty. The judge overruled their motion.


Then it was that the Capone of machine gun murder fame almost wept.

A jury which already has heard of his extravagant expenditures, of his mansions and his hotel suites, his armored cars and his penchant for diamond jewelry, will listen to whatever arguments and witnesses his attorneys may produce, and then will decide whether he must spend a maximum of 32 years in prison and pay a top fine of $80,000.

One of the last and perhaps most important of the prosecution's witnesses was Fred Ries, sad-eyed gambler who has been on a tour of South America for "his health." Authorities feared that if he remained in the United States while Capone knew he would testify, Ries might be taken on one of the underworld's murderous "one-way rides."

During 1927, said Ries, profits of the Subway, the Ship, the Radio and other Cicero, Ill., gambling houses approximated $150,000. Ries worked in all of them, he said, as a dealer. Sometimes he saw Al Capone in them, sometimes he saw Al's brother, Ralph, and always he turned in his profits to gentlemen known as henchmen of the notorious "Scarface," Ries testified.

Chester Johnson, bank teller, testified next that Jack Guzik, the Capone "syndicate collector," had opened an account at the Equitable Trust company. The government closed its case whereupon by producing Herbert J. Walter, handwriting expert. Walter identified the "A Capone" endorsement on Guzik's gambling house checks, as being written by "the defendant."


The judge, meanwhile, had ordered the only other witness of the day, Edward Waters, ex-internal revenue agent, placed under semi-arrest.

"I discussed his income tax with Capone over good beer at one of the Cicero gambling houses," testified Waters.

"Did you say root beer?" asked Fink.

"No, I said good beer," replied Waters.

The latter then admitted that although he had talked about taxes with Capone, he had said nothing about his conversations to his superiors in the income tax department. The judge thought that sufficiently "strange" to order Waters' daily appearance in court.

Another extraneous case before the judge concerned Phil D'Andrea, faithful Capone bodyguard, who was arrested Saturday for carrying a pistol into court, and who has been in jail since, without bond. Judge Wilkerson ordered him to trial Friday on a contempt charge.

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