Great Trials of the 1920's

By: Madi Good, Reid Michalski, and Jack Beaverstock

Al Capone's tax evasion trial


The St. Valentine's Day Massacre occurred on February 14th, 1929 and was the murder of six mob associates and a mechanic of the North Side Irish gang. It resulted from the struggle between the Irish American gang and the South Side Italian gang led by Al Capone. Capone's men opened fire on the Moran gang who were all lined up on a wall in a parking garage in Chicago's North Side. It was common knowledge that Moran was hijacking Capone's Detroit-based liquor shipments. Authorities could not place Capone at the scene of the murder, so Treasury Agent Frank Wilson attempted to put him in jail for tax evasion. Capone got word of what Wilson was trying to do, so Wilson moved into a hotel with his wife, posing as tourists. Capone, growing worrisome, ordered 5 hit men to murder Wilson. Urging so from Johnny Torrio persuaded him persuaded him to cancel the hit. As a result of Wilson's investigation, which revealed millions of dollars in unreported income, Capone was eventually sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment.

Personalities Involved:

-Al Capone was the leader of the South Side Italian gang, and was running a huge bootlegger operation.

-Treasury Agent Frank Wilson was assigned to the Al Capone investigation, which led him to go into hiding 3 years as he gathered information about Al Capone's finances. Eventually he gathered enough evidence to put him away for 11 years.


The jury found Al Capone guilty on the charge of tax evasion for 1925. The judge, Judge Wilkerson, imposed a prison sentence of 11 years, which was the longest term ever handed down for tax evasion.


Al Capone's tax evasion trial has to do with Americanism, Modernism, and Consumerism. A famous quote from Al Capone was about Americanism and how we should take advantage of it. Modernism in the 1920's was all about partying and breaking the rules, which encompassed what Al Capone was all about. Al Capone was only interested in the money and selling what people want to buy, which links him to consumerism.