Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Following the election of President Herbert Hoover, U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon was specifically charged with bringing down gangster Al Capone. The federal government approached the problem from two directions: income tax evasion and the Volstead Act. Ness was chosen to head the operations under the Volstead Act, targeting the illegal breweries and supply routes of Capone.
With Chicago's corrupted law-enforcement agents endemic, Ness went through the records of all Prohibition agents to create a reliable team, initially of 50, later reduced to 15 and finally to just eleven men called, "The Untouchables". Raids against illegal stills and breweries began immediately; within six months Ness claimed to have seized breweries worth over one million dollars. The main source of information for the raids was an extensive wire-tapping operation. An attempt by Capone to bribe Ness's agents was seized on by Ness for publicity, leading to the media nickname, "The Untouchables." There were a number of assassination attempts on Ness, and one close friend of his was killed.
The efforts of Ness and his team had a serious impact on Capone's operations, but it was the income tax evasion which was the key weapon. In a number of federal grand jury cases in 1931, Capone was charged with 22 counts of tax evasion and also 5,000 violations of the Volstead Act. On October 17, 1931, Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and following a failed appeal, he began his sentence in 1932.
Collaborating with Oscar Fraley in his last years, he co-wrote the book, The Untouchables, which was published in 1957, a month after his death at age 54, following a heart attack.
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The World of Remakes
Ness' appearance in 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles', like the appearance of all the historical figures on that show, was filtered through the memories of the aged Indiana Jones. All of his other appearances in TV movies and docu-drama recreations could be assigned to other TV dimensions.
Two for Tuesday!