Al Capone's Downfall Inspires AG's New Tactic

Defense Attorney Questions Strategy

Taking a page from the history books, the Indiana Attorney General's Office is using tax law to prosecute those suspected of running illegal operations, but at least one defense attorney is questioning the tactic.

It's called the Al Capone strategy after the 1920s criminal mastermind who was finally brought to his knees for not paying taxes.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller is trying to do the same with Hoosiers who try to slip through the cracks.

"The common denominator in some these cases is that they been scamming the public, and the only thing we found to stop these activities is to file these tax charges," he told 6News' Rafael Sanchez.

All tax-related cases are heard in Indianapolis because it's where state taxes are sent. But noted Indianapolis defense attorney Jack Crawford argues that criminal jurisdiction should be local.

Crawford is representing Tuan Chu, a glass repairman accused of intentionally busting out windows and then charging his victims for the repair.

Chu beat prosecution in Boone County, but with new complaints in Marion County, the state managed to close his operations by filing tax evasion charges.

"The actual decision to bring a person to trial in a local jurisdiction should be made by locally elected prosecuting attorney," Crawford said.

The attorney general's office is defending its new tactic.

"These cases represent the worst of the worst," said Deputy Attorney General Andrew Swain. "We've exhausted our civil remedies to shut them down."

If Chu is convicted, Crawford could make his case to the Indiana Court of Appeals.