THURSDAY, APRIL 16: Follow the Money, The Unsung Intelligence Unit That Put Away Some of the Most Notorious Mobsters
Treasury Department agents known as T-Men, under the leadership of Director Elmer Irey, quietly built tax evasion cases against mobsters like Al Capone, Nucky Johnson and Waxey Gordon; public official Huey Long and businessman Moses Annenberg. While the G-Men grabbed headlines, the T-Men put some of the biggest mobsters and corrupt politicians behind bars. The Treasury Department’s Special Intelligence Unit pursued organized crime bosses and other criminals for not paying taxes on their illegal incomes — and their record of success was astonishing.
The Intelligence Unit’s key figures, especially Irey, Frank Wilson and Mike Malone, deserve more fame for their financial investigation skills. Even today, the IRS Criminal Investigation division continues to be an effective force in the fight against organized crime.
A panel of nationally known Justice Department and IRS Criminal Investigation experts will share the insider’s story on how Irey’s team was responsible for busting numerous mobsters and others in the public eye. The panel will include:
- Rich Weber, national head of IRS Criminal, Washington, D.C.
- Tom Moriarty, special investigator with the Department of Justice United States Attorney’s Office
- Paul Camacho, former IRS criminal investigator, Las Vegas
- Geoff Schumacher, moderator
NEW EXHIBIT: GUN OWNED BY AGENT WHO ASSISTED IN TAKING DOWN CAPONE HEADED TO THE MOB MUSEUM
On April 17, the day following the “Follow the Money” panel discussion, The Mob Museum is unveiling a new permanent exhibit on the third floor featuring artifacts from the families of T-Men legends Elmer Irey and Mike Malone. It will include a Smith & Wesson .38 Special that belonged to IRS investigator Michael Malone, the man who went undercover to infiltrate Al Capone’s gang in the 1930s. The exhibit is focused on the Treasury Department agents, or T-Men, who were responsible for busting mobsters like Al Capone, Nucky Johnson and Waxey Gordon on tax evasion charges.
Also included are a number of T-Men artifacts including letters, photographs, documents and iconic items showcasing the work of these tireless agents of the Treasury Department. The exhibit will also include information on how the IRS investigative unit helped solve the kidnapping of the son of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
WHO PUT SOME OF THE MOST NOTORIOUS MOBSTERS BEHIND BARS?
ANSWER: THE IRS.
BACKGROUND ON THE INTELLIGENCE UNIT
The IRS created the Intelligence Unit in 1919 to investigate widespread allegations of tax fraud. Elmer Irey was put in charge, and he transferred six Postal Service inspectors to create the new unit. In 1978, the Intelligence Unit’s name changed to Criminal Investigation.
The Intelligence Unit’s efforts were given a boost in 1927, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a criminal’s illegal incomes could be taxed. This opened the door for prosecution of the likes of Mob bosses, business schemers and corrupt politicians on tax evasion charges. The court’s majority opinion was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Other big T-Men cases:
- Kansas City political boss Tom Pendergast
- Louisiana Governor Huey Long
- Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping
- Businessman Moe Annenberg
- New York mobster Dutch Schultz
- Chicago mobster Frank Nitti
- Chicago mobster Johnny Torrio
- Chicago mobster Ralph Capone
- Chicago mobster Murray Humphreys
- St. Paul mobster Leon Gleckman