The Chicago Syndicate: FBI captures Lombardo

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

FBI captures Lombardo

Friends of ours: Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Frank "The German" Schweihs, Paul Schiro

Fugitive mobster discovered in Elmwood Park
Lombardo Caught
After an international manhunt, FBI agents captured reputed mob boss Joey "The Clown" Lombardo Friday night in Elmwood Park, not far from where he disappeared nine months ago, officials said. Lombardo had changed his appearance, growing a beard, after becoming a fugitive in April, when federal prosecutors charged him and more than a dozen other defendants in 18 Outfit-related murders dating to 1970.

FBI spokesman Ross Rice said Lombardo was arrested without incident. Rice said Lombardo was arrested about 8:30 p.m. outside a home on 74th Avenue. A law enforcement source said Lombardo cooperated with arresting officers. "He was very compliant and just put his hands up," the source said. Authorities said they were planning to release a more complete account of Lombardo's apprehension at a news conference Saturday.

Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin, said the U.S. attorney's office notified him of the arrest Friday night. He said Lombardo was arrested with a friend. Halprin talked to Lombardo as he was being transported to a police lockup by FBI agents. "His spirits were good," Halprin said. "He said he had been treated very well by the FBI."

Prosecutors charged Lombardo and Frank "The German" Schweihs with the 1974 murder of Daniel Seifert, a Bensenville businessman scheduled to testify against Lombardo and others in a Teamsters pension fund fraud case. Schweihs also was charged with joining co-defendant Paul Schiro in a 1986 gangland murder in Phoenix. Schweihs was a fugitive for eight months before being captured last month in a small town in Kentucky. FBI officials said Lombardo and Schweihs had apparently disappeared a "significant time" before the indictments in order to avoid capture.

The search for Lombardo included a number of federal agencies, including the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. Leads had raised suspicions that Lombardo could be in the Caribbean or in Mexico. Ultimately, he was "right under our noses," the law enforcement source said.

Lombardo, a longtime resident of Chicago's West Town neighborhood, has two federal convictions in the 1980s--for conspiring to bribe U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada for help in defeating a trucking deregulation bill and for scheming to skim $2 million from a Las Vegas casino.

While Lombardo has been missing, he was apparently not silent. Two attorneys reported getting letters from Lombardo, which they turned over to federal authorities. In May, Halprin delivered a four-page letter to a federal judge purportedly written by Lombardo. The letter said Lombardo would surrender if he would be released on his own recognizance and prosecuted in a separate trial after the fate of his co-defendants had been decided. U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel promptly rejected the offer. Halprin said he also got a letter in August that indicated Lombardo offered to take truth serum or a lie detector test if the FBI supervisor and its informant did too.

Thanks to Todd Lighty Matt O'Connor, and Michael Higgins

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