The Internal Revenue Service has made available records from one of its most famous legal cases of all time, the tax evasion prosecution of Chicago gangster Al Capone in 1931.
That year, the Bureau of Internal Revenue's Intelligence Unit completed an investigation of Capone that led to a conviction for tax evasion. The mobster ended up with an 11-year sentence, although he ultimately served only six-and-a-half years because of good behavior. The case was dramatized in the movie, "The Untouchables," in which Prohibition agent Eliot Ness worked with Treasury and Internal Revenue agents to build a case against Capone.
The IRS recently unearthed documents relating to the three-year investigation following a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of Special Agent Frank Wilson's report on the case.
"The group of agents detailed to this work included many of the best men in the service," wrote Wilson in one document. "The course of the investigation into the hidden sources of income of the 'big fellows' was a tortuous trail through the crooked ramifications of underworld intrigue."
The IRS conducted a review of its records to determine whether they could be released despite the confidentiality protections imposed upon the service. Ultimately the review concluded that the information could be made public because Capone never filed a tax return.
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