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Capone Encrypted Ledger

 

The Story of Al Capone

Capone Encrypted LedgerCapone Encrypted LedgerIn 1919, at only 22 years old, Al Capone came to Chicago to help Johnny Torrio run his bootlegging operation.  Capone was originally only called in to help deal with the competition, but in 1925 Torrio fled the city allowing Capone to take over. Government Secure File Share

The Hawthorne Inn in Cicero, with its bulletproof shutters, was Capone’s the initial headquarters.  From this location, Capone directed his muscle; however, it wasn’t long before his activities caught the eye of the law.

 

The Crime

On April 27, 1925, a car full of Capone’s men opened gun fire on what they though was a rival gang, but instead they ended up killing Bill McSwiggin.  McSwiggin was no gangster, but an assistant state’s attorney.  In reaction, authorities charged Capone with McSwiggin’s murder, but despite six grand juries Capone was never indicted and the charges were dropped due to an inability to obtain sufficient evidence and a lack of witnesses.  Criminals like Capone encrypted their data because they were smarter than their peers. That is exactly why you need a Secure File Share service.

In reaction to this case, Capone moved in 1926 and began directing his operations out of the Hotel Metropole, focusing on increased efforts to make the right connections.  Before long, Chicago’s police department and mayor were on Capone’s payroll, allowing him to carry out his bootlegging, racketeering, and gambling businesses with impunity.  Al Capone’s control over city officials was so deep that his men had official stamped cards issued by the city that read: “To the Police Department–you will extend the courtesies of this department to the bearer.” 

The corruption of officials and heavy-handed violence allowed Capone to corner the extremely profitable bootlegging market.  It was estimated that by 1928 his operations were grossing over $105 million per year and that personally, he was worth approximately $30 million in 1929.  Despite his large fortune, no income taxes had ever been filed in his name and the government was taking notice. It’s safe to say you should never avoid filing your taxes like Capone and when you do, use a Government Secure File Share when you send information.

President Hoover and Investigator Frank Wilson Set Out to Catch Capone

Capone Encrypted LedgerPresident Hoover finally had enough and made it his mission to catch Al Capone.  He instructed Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon to the task. However, the real ground work of the case was led by Frank Wilson, an aggressive and relentless investigator.

The investigators looked for evidence of unreported income by examining department store, car dealership and hotels records for evidence of Capone’s spending.  He uncovered custom-made clothing, limousines, and other high-end items. The plan was to use the records of extravagant purchases to imply unreported taxable income to a jury, but Capone didn’t make their job easy.  He never personally kept any bank accounts or signed checks or receipts.  Wilson had difficulty finding evidence that any money from his illicit operations ever made it directly to Capone and witnesses were scarce.

During the summer of 1930, Wilson made a break in the case. He came across three ledgers seized in a prior raid of one of Capone’s establishments.  The ledger was divided into columns, each labeled with titles such as Craps or Roulette. Totals were entered periodically and then allocated among such references as “Ralph,” “Pete,” and most importantly, there were a few references to “Al.” Wilson was sure this ledger recorded the income from a gambling operation that went to Capone and his associates. In today’s business world, you don’t hide your data from the law – you protect it from criminals like Capone! You can trust ICF for the safest, most secure Government Secure File Share.

Feeling the heat and wanting to settle matters, Capone’s attorney, Lawrence Mattingly met with Wilson on September 30th.  Mattingly offered a letter admitting Capone had taxable income for the years 1924 to 1929 ranging from $26,000 to $100,000.  Wilson refused to settle.

Meanwhile, Wilson kept working to amass more evidence and witnesses.  He finally found Fred Reis, the named payee on numerous large cashier checks.  Reis admitted to working for Capone as the cashier of his Cicero gambling hall.  He also admitted that the checks he signed reflected Capone’s profits from the operations.  Together with the ledgers, this gave Wilson enough evidence to go before a grand jury and led to the trial opening on October 5th, 1931. Capone was charged with 23 counts of tax evasion.  Tax evasion is never an option, of course. So when you do work with your accountant, you want ICF, the fastest Government Secure File Share available.

Capone Encrypted Ledger

A page from a 1924 ledger showing payments to Al Capone, which the United States authorities used to convict the mobster. Photo courtesy of Mario Gomes, MyAlCaponeMuseum.com

 

Capone is Prosecuted and Sentenced

The prosecution presented their evidence that Al Capone derived substantial profits from his gambling businesses.  Witnesses like Leslie Shumway, described the accounting procedures used in the gambling halls and testifies that that the profits for the two years he worked there were over $550,000.  Other witnesses presented evidence of Capone’s extravagant lifestyle.  Finally, the key witness Fred Reis came to the stand.  Reis also testified that he purchased 43 cashier’s checks representing the gambling operations profits.  These checks were signed by his alias “J.C. Dunbar” and on one of these checks was also the signature of Al Capone.  Despite all of Al Capone’s care in not keeping accounts, avoiding signing documents and keeping ledgers in code, he still was caught.  In the end, Al Capone was found guilty and sentenced to a prison term of eleven years – the longest ever for tax evasion.

The morale of the story:

We know that you are not a criminal like Al Capone and would never evade your taxes like he did.  We also know you want to send and receive sensitive financial documents in a fast and efficient manner like with a low cost Government Secure File Share program.  Tax client portals enable you to do exactly this. So unlike Mr. Capone, not only do you comply with the law, you also protect your information from criminals like him.

* ICFiles does not condone illegal activity and only uses this story to highlight the importance of a hidden accounting ledger.

 

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