Al Capone: Chicago's Most Infamous Mob Boss
Public Enemy #1
Mellon commissioned a two-pronged approach: to get the necessary evidence to prove income tax evasion and to amass enough evidence to prosecute Capone successfully for Prohibition violations. Once the evidence was collected, the Treasury agents were to work with the U.S. Attorney, George E. Q. Johnson to initiate prosecution of Capone and the key members of his organization.
The man charged with gathering the evidence of Prohibition violations --bootlegging --was Eliot Ness, who began to assemble a team of daring young agents like himself. The biggest effort was led by Elmer Irey of the IRS Special Intelligence Unit, who redoubled his ongoing efforts shortly after Hoover's mandate. While there was doubt that Capone could be successfully prosecuted for Prohibition violations in Chicago, regardless of the weight of evidence, Mellon felt sure that with the Sullivan ruling the government could get Capone on tax evasion.
Capone was, at least initially, unaware of the forces put in motion against him and generally did not let concerns about federal agents interfere with business. In mid-May, 1929, Capone went to a conference in Atlantic City where gangsters of all types from all over the country met to talk about cooperation rather than mutual destruction.
To keep violence and rivalry to a minimum, they divided up the country into "spheres of influence." Torrio became head of an executive committee which would arbitrate all disputes and punish renegades. The conferees had decided that Capone should surrender his Chicago criminal empire to Torrio to divvy up on his own terms. Capone had no intention of going along with carving up his empire or turning it over to Johnny Torrio.