Thursday, January 11, 2007

U.S. Marshal Charged with Leaking Information to Chicago Mob

Friends of ours: John "No-Nose" DiFronzo, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Frank Calabrese Sr., Tony Spilotro
Friends of mine: Nick Calabrese

A federal deputy marshal was charged Thursday with leaking information about a reputed mobster's cooperation with prosecutors as they investigated the top echelon of Chicago's organized crime family.

John Thomas Ambrose, 38, a former supervisory inspector of the U.S. Marshals Service's Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, surrendered Thursday at the FBI's Chicago office, officials said. Ambrose has been on leave since September. He is charged with theft of government property, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Ambrose is accused of revealing information concerning the cooperation and travel plans of Nicholas Calabrese, expected to be a key witness in the government's Operation Family Secrets murder conspiracy case. Prosecutors said Ambrose told them in a Sept. 6 interview that he passed the information to an associate of reputed mob boss John DiFronzo in hopes of getting information on the whereabouts of then-fugitive organized crime figure Joseph Lombardo.

Prosecutors said that in later interviews Ambrose said he never believed the information would be passed to organized crime figures.

Lombardo, among those charged in the Operation Family Secrets indictment, was subsequently captured and is due to stand trial starting in May along with the others accused in the case.

Calabrese, 63, of Chicago and his brother, Frank Calabrese, 68, of Oak Brook are among 14 defendants charged in a sweeping indictment alleging a long-term conspiracy by Chicago mobsters to commit at least 18 murders. Victims include Tony Spilotro, the mob's one-time man in Las Vegas, who was beaten to death and buried in a corn field.

Prosecutors said Ambrose leaked information concerning Nicholas Calabrese while Calabrese was in the witness security program operated by the Marshals Service. They said in court papers that the information was given to members of the Chicago mob.

Gary Shapiro, the first assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, said the alleged leak "constitutes an egregious breach of his law enforcement duties." There was no evidence that Calabrese or other witnesses were ever in danger, Shapiro said.

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