In the prohibition-era, Alphonse ‘Al’ Capone’s notoriety in Chicago was at its height, and a conglomerate investigation composed of multiple Federal departments launched to take down the impenetrable mobster. Capone’s sound completion of crimes and the threat of retaliation towards key-witnesses inhibited the success of the investigation for the Federal government. Therefore, the Treasury Department’s special investigative unit took charge, seeking to unveil the vast income that Capone failed to report on tax filings. Their efforts led to the successful prosecution of the seemingly untouchable man. An examination of the legal structures in place that allowed for the utilization of tax evasion as a means of conviction are examined through the review of statutes and superseding tax evasion court rulings. In order to determine the role of forensic accounting in the Treasury Department’s approach, the efforts to acquire key evidence and the examination of those documents is reviewed. Furthermore, multiple landmark court cases are referenced in a legal chronology. Their citation of the Capone ruling as precedent is analyzed to determine their influence on the acceptance of tax evasion and forensic accounting as a legitimate practice in criminal investigations. This research investigation determined forensic accounting’s increased presence in criminal investigations and its influence on increasing the prevalence of tax evasion in union with the legal approach of pretextual prosecution.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Stacy Bibelhauser, Ph.D.
Accounting | Legal Studies
Gumbel, Rachel, "The Federal Prosecution of Al Capone and Its Impact on the Evidentiary Evolution of Forensic Accounting" (2021). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 923.