Sunday, February 24, 2008

IRS Agents Used Muscle to Get Capone

Recently released memos written by the IRS investigators who brought down Al Capone are shedding new light on the way federal agents successfully ended the reign of the Chicago crime lord.

IRS investigators could prove Capone had money, but they couldn't prove where he was getting it from, said Jonathan Eig, a Chicago author who is writing a book about the investigation leading to Capone's arrest and conviction.

Agents found one bookkeeper who could testify to Capone's income source, and they "used a lot of muscle to get this guy to testify," Eig said.

The bookkeeper was sent to South America for a time to safeguard him from assassins, he said.

"The evidence shows the IRS agents really did get out of the office and track down this accountant and really put the screws to him to get him to testify," he said.

Eig sought the material through the Freedom of Information Act, something others had previously done without success. A new lawyer at the IRS reviewed Eig's request and released the documents to him.

Eig's book, whose working title is Get Capone, is being published by Simon & Schuster. It focuses on the last years of Capone's reign. Eig said he hopes to correct the myth that Eliot Ness brought down the man known as "Public Enemy No. 1."

"'The Untouchables' movie has made Eliot Ness the hero of the story," he said. "The IRS agents are."

Thanks to Kara Spak

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