The Chicago Syndicate: John Ambrose

Showing posts with label John Ambrose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Ambrose. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Secret Prison Video Highlights Testimony at Mob Leak Trial

Secretly-recorded video of two Chicago Outfit members discussing mob hit man Nicholas Calabrese's cooperation with federal investigators highlighted the first testimony in the trial of Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose in local federal court today.

Grainy footage of James and Michael Marcello, taken from the waiting room of a Michigan federal prison in 2003, showed the brothers using code words, subtle gestures and whispers to discuss what information Calabrese was sharing on dozens of mob murders in the Chicago area.

"He admitted to being involved in 19 of them things," Michael Marcello told his brother in one recording, referring to Calabrese and the number of mob murders he had disclosed to authorities.

FBI Special Agent Michael Maseth said such discussions were the first clue to authorities of a significant leak about Calabrese's cooperation with investigators. "We were shocked," said Maseth, describing the response of agents when they heard specific information about Calabrese's disclosures being discussed by the Marcellos.

Prosecutors say Ambrose, who protected Calabrese during two visits to Chicago in 2002 and 2003 as part of his witness security detail, was the original source of the "highly sensitive" information that eventually made its way to the Marcellos.

Video recordings were also played of the Marcellos, seated side-by-side in a waiting room with their heads almost touching, discussing that the leak's source was the son of a figure arrested in the Marquette 10 police corruption trial in the 1980's. Ambrose's father, Thomas, was convicted on felony bribery charges in 1982.

Earlier, Maseth gave the jury a crash course in the Chicago Outfit, describing the structure of the organization and defining what made particular figures "made members." Maseth also described Calabrese as "the most important organized-crime witness that has ever testified in this district and perhaps in the United States."

Assistant U.S. Atty. Diane MacArthur asked Maseth what consequences Calabrese could face if his cooperation was discovered by members of the Outfit. "The level of risk was the ultimate level of risk. He could be killed," Maseth said.

Thanks to Robert Mitchum

Chicago Mob History 101 from the FBI

An FBI agent gave jurors a lesson in the history of the Chicago mob during the trial of a former deputy U.S. Marshal accused of blabbing secrets to alleged mobsters.

Special agent Michael Maseth was the first witness in the trial of John Ambrose, 42.

Ambrose is accused of leaking information about Nicholas Calabrese, the government's star witness at the Family Secrets trial that targeted top members of the Chicago mob. He's denied the allegations.

Maseth's testimony Tuesday underscored how Calabrese put his life at risk by cooperating with the government and how significant his information was.

Maseth called Calabrese the most important organized crime figure to ever testify in the district and "perhaps the entire United States."

Thanks to CBS2Chicago

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Deputy U.S. Marshal Trial to Begin on Monday

Once known as a tireless bloodhound who tracked down fugitive gang leaders, deputy U.S. marshal John T. Ambrose now faces years behind bars if he is convicted of betraying his oath and leaking secrets to the mob.

Ambrose, 40, is due to go on trial Monday for tipping off organized crime figures seven years ago that a so-called made member of the Chicago mob had switched sides and was now providing detailed information to federal prosecutors. Ambrose denies he ever broke the law in handling secret information.

"The feds are guaranteed to see this as the worst sort of treacheryThe Chicago Outfit," says mob expert John Binder, author of "The Chicago Outfit." ''I don't think I'm overblowing it. They're going to see him the way the military sees a Benedict Arnold."

U.S. District Judge John F. Grady has ordered extraordinary security including screens in the courtroom to conceal the faces of key witnesses from spectators.

Inspectors in the government's supersecret Witness Security Program operated by the U.S. Marshal's Service will testify behind the screens and also use pseudonyms.

The idea is to prevent anyone from identifying the inspectors, whose job it is to guard heavily protected witnesses from mob assassins, terrorists or others who might want to silence them.

Ambrose defense attorney Francis C. Lipuma objected to the screens and testimony under false names. "This is going to sensationalize the trial," Lipuma told a recent hearing.

Ambrose is accused of leaking information to the mob about an admitted former hit man, Nicholas Calabrese, who was the government's star witness at the landmark 2007 Family Secrets trial that targeted top members of the Chicago mob.

As a trusted federal lawman, Ambrose was assigned to guard Calabrese on two occasions when witness security officials lodged him at "safe sites" in Chicago for questioning by prosecutors.

Ambrose is charged with stealing information out of the Witness Security Program file and passing it to a go-between believing it would go to reputed mob boss John "No Nose" DiFronzo.

He's accused of leaking information about the progress of the investigation -- nothing about the whereabouts of the closely guarded witness. But prosecutors say it still could have put Calabrese in jeopardy, and Grady seemed to agree when the issue came up at a hearing last week.

"Anyone who has even occasionally read a Chicago newspaper in the last 20 years knows what the potential consequences of testifying against the so-called Mafia are," the judge told attorneys.

The Family Secrets trial was Chicago's biggest mob trial in years. Three of the top names in the mob including Calabrese's brother, Frank, were sentenced to life in prison and two other men received long terms behind bars.

Nicholas Calabrese admitted he was involved in the murders of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro and his brother, Michael. Tony Spilotro was the model for the Joe Pesci character in the movie "Casino."

Nicholas Calabrese also said one of the Family Secrets defendants, reputed mob boss James Marcello, was among those in a suburban basement the night the Spilotro brothers were strangled.

Calabrese agreed to cooperate in the Family Secrets investigation in 2002 after a bloody glove recovered by police yielded DNA evidence placing him at a murder scene. Rather than risk capital punishment, Calabrese agreed to become a witness. He was placed in the Witness Security Program.

Ambrose was charged with stealing and leaking the contents of Calabrese's file after federal agents bugged the visitors room at the federal prison in Milan, Mich.

James Marcello was an inmate there and was visited by his brother, Michael Marcello, the operator of a video gaming company who eventually was charged in the case and pleaded guilty to racketeering.

Authorities overheard the Marcello brothers discussing a mole they had within federal law enforcement who was providing security for Calabrese. They called him "the babysitter." They said he was also providing information on the investigation.

Agents quickly narrowed the suspects to Ambrose when one of the Marcellos said "the babysitter" was the son of a Chicago policeman who went to prison decades ago as a member of the Marquette 10 -- officers convicted of shaking down drug dealers.

Ambrose's fingerprint was later found on the file.

Thanks to AP

Friday, April 10, 2009

John Ambrose - The Mob's Babysitter?

Top Chicago Outfit bosses described a deputy wiith the U.S. Marshal service as the "Mob's Babysitter."

The deputy goes to trial next week on charges that he provided sensitive witness information to the Outfit.

When the court bailiff announces "United States versus John Thomas Ambrose" on Monday in a Chicago courtroom, history will be made. It will be the only time since George Washington swore in the first U.S. Marshals that a deputy has ever been charged with leaking inside information to a criminal organization.

When Chicago Deputy Marshal John Ambrose broke down doors for the Great Lakes fugitive squad, it was seen across the country during a CNN special report. But it was what Ambrose was doing behind closed doors, away from the cameras, that authorities say makes him a criminal.

According to federal charges that Ambrose will face beginning Monday, he leaked information about mob investigations.

"The breach could have put at risk the life of one of the most important witnesses ever developed in Chicago against the Chicago Outfit. It could have put at risk US Marshals, and family members of that witness," said Robert Grant, FBI agent in charge.

That witness was Nick Calabrese, mob hitman extraordinare. In 2002, Calabrese began secretly cooperating with the FBI in an investigation called Family Secrets.

One of the primary duties of the U.S. Marshal service is to protect government witnesses. The ultra secret, cloak and dagger style witness security program, or WITSEC as it's known, has protected 17,000 people since 1970 and officials claim not one has ever been harmed.

Calabrese was a protected witness. Deputy John Ambrose was assigned to protect him.

According to federal records, as a supervisor, Ambrose had access to confidential case information, including details of Calabrese's cooperation, where he would he housed, and when he would be moved.

It was during secretly recorded prison conversations between Chicago mob bosses that federal agents knew there was a leak.

The discussions between Outfit leader Jimmy Marcello and his brother Michael were in code. But on numerous occasions when they talked about "the babysitter," feds say that was their code name for Ambrose who was babysitting Nick Calabrese and allegedly leaking inside information to the mob through an Outfit connected family friend.

"No system is perfect. And much of what we do depends on trust and confidence and honor," said Gary Shapiro, first assistant U.S. attorney.

Federal authorities said they were shaken by what they said they found and Ambrose was called in and question by his superiors on several occasions. He denied having contacts with mob lieutenants John "Pudgy" Matassa and or with "Little Tony" Rizzo who had recently gone missing and has never turned up.

Records reveal Ambrose told investigators several conflicting stories including one that he leaked outfit information to curry favor with Chicago mob boss John "No Nose" DiFronzo but only for the purpose, he said, of helping to locate federal fugitives in the future.

"John Ambrose is not connected to the mob at all...it rests on impressions and opinions of an FBI agent," said Frank Lipuma, Ambrose' lawyer.

Ambrose lives in south suburban Tinley Park. He has never publicly spoken about this case. In a 2005 TV interview, Ambrose did discuss how his father motivates him to be a federal lawman. "As corny as it may sound, I feel like he's (my dad) nudging me in a direction or opens my eyes to something," said Deputy U.S. Marshal Ambrose.

Ambrose' father, Thomas, was a Chicago police officer, highly decorated and respected until he was snared in the notorious Marquette Ten police corruption scandal in the 1980's.

Another one of the Marquette ten was William Guidie, John Ambrose' family friend, the one to whom he allegedly passed inside information.

Nothing happened as a result of the breach and Calabrese went onto help convict the top bosses.

Federal judge John Grady said that 40-year-old Ambrose isn't charged with being a member of the Outfit, of murdering anybody or being involved in the Family Secrets Trial and that he is concerned about sensationalizing the proceedings.

That said, Judge Grady is allowing some witnesses in the Ambrose trial to testify from behind screens so no one will see their faces.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Mob Witnesses to Testify Behind Screens

Some federal officials being called as witnesses at the Chicago trial of a deputy U.S. marshal charged with leaking secrets of a major mob investigation will be allowed to testify behind screens so spectators won't see their faces.

The witnesses are expected to testify at the trial of John T. Ambrose, who's charged with whispering the secrets concerning the government's landmark Operation Family Secrets investigation to organized crime.

The witnesses are officials of the government's ultra-secret witness security program (WITSEC). They'll also use bogus names to keep their identities secret.

The trial is due to get under way Monday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Brother of Mob Boss to Testify Against U.S. Marshal

For months, Michael Marcello passed along key information about a top mob snitch during his 2003 prison visits to his half-brother, James "Little Jimmy" Marcello -- the Chicago Outfit's top boss.

The details about the key witness, mob killer Nicholas Calabrese, were allegedly coming from the man assigned to protect Calabrese from the mobsters who wanted him dead -- deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose.

Now, in a stunning reversal, Michael Marcello, once his imprisoned half-brother's eyes and ears on the street, will testify against Ambrose next month, a prosecution filing shows.

Ambrose is charged with leaking important information about Nick Calabrese to the Outfit. Marcello could provide key testimony about how the information allegedly made its way from Ambrose to Ambrose's friend with Outfit connections to reputed mobster John "Pudgy" Matassa to Michael Marcello to James Marcello. Matassa has not been charged in the case.

Michael Marcello pleaded guilty in the Family Secrets case in June 2007, admitting he ran an illegal video-poker business. He didn't agree to cooperate then and got 8½ years in prison.

It's unclear what prompted the turnaround. Prosecutors would not comment, and an attorney for Marcello did not return a message. Such cooperation often results in less prison time.

Prosecutors secretly recorded Michael Marcello's conversations when he visited James Marcello in prison.

The Marcellos were intent on finding out what Nick Calabrese had revealed about James Marcello's involvement in the 1986 killings of mobsters Anthony and Michael Spilotro.

James Marcello drove the Spilotros to a Bensenville area home, where the two men believed they were going to get promotions in the mob, according to testimony in the Family Secrets case. Instead, several mobsters, including Nick Calabrese, pounced on them and beat them to death.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Judge Approves of Prosecutors Romancing US Marshal

Arresting and romancing don't mix.

That was one of the conclusions of a federal judge Friday as he rejected a request from a deputy U.S. Marshal who wanted his statements to investigators kept out of his upcoming trial for allegedly leaking secrets to the Chicago mob.

Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose, once a rising star but now suspended without pay, said he was coerced into making statements that he leaked information concerning a witness he was guarding - Nicholas Calabrese, a mob hit man turned federal witness.

Prosecutors argued they were interested in getting Ambrose to cooperate - in "romancing" him, as U.S. District Judge John Grady characterized it.

Prosecutors said authorities didn't wind up arresting Ambrose, 39, of Tinley Park, during a meeting in September 2006 with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and FBI agent Robert Grant, the head of the bureau's Chicago office.

Fitzgerald and Grant wanted to pitch Ambrose to cooperate.

They thought he leaked the information on Calabrese but didn't know how imprisoned mob boss James Marcello learned of it. They wanted Ambrose to fill in the blanks.

Fitzgerald testified at Friday's court hearing he told Ambrose at the start of the 2006 meeting he wasn't under arrest.

Grant backed up Fitzgerald's testimony.

Ambrose, though, told the judge Fitzgerald never mentioned he wasn't under arrest - a key omission.

Ambrose argued whatever he told Fitzgerald and Grant in the meeting shouldn't be allowed as evidence at trial because he was coerced. But the judge didn't buy it.

"If you're going to romance him, arresting him is inconsistent with romancing - or pitching him - as they put it in testimony," Grady said.

Ambrose's attorney, Francis Lipuma, said Ambrose was disappointed by the judge's ruling, but Ambrose still plans on going to trial.

The U.S. attorney's office had no comment on the judge's ruling.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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Friday, March 07, 2008

US Marshall Wore Wire to Investigate Mob Witness Leak

A deputy U.S. marshal secretly wore a wire against a man who was like a father to him as part of the investigation into the leak of confidential witness information to the Chicago Outfit.

The details were revealed Tuesday in federal court as the deputy marshal, John Ambrose, battled prosecutors to get certain statements he allegedly made to investigators thrown out of his upcoming trial. Ambrose is charged with leaking information on a star witness, hitman Nick Calabrese -- information that made its way to mob boss James Marcello.

Federal agents focused on Ambrose as the source of the leak after listening to secret prison tape recordings of Marcello.

Ambrose was lured to FBI offices on a pretense in September 2006, then the feds revealed their evidence against him. The feds needed Ambrose to detail how the information got from him to Marcello. Ambrose answered the feds' questions but initially balked at wearing a wire, worrying he would be viewed as "a snitch," FBI Special Agent Ted McNamara testified.

Ambrose eventually recorded William Guide, a former Chicago Police officer who was convicted with Ambrose's cop father in the Marquette 10 scandal. Ambrose's father died in prison, and Guide became a second father to Ambrose.

The feds haven't charged Guide but claim in court filings Ambrose passed witness information to Guide, who allegedly has mob ties.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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Did US Marshall Put Flipped Mobster at Risk?

In a brief but loud confrontation, the top FBI agent in Chicago, Robert Grant, underscored the deadly potential of a deputy U.S. marshal leaking information to the Chicago mob about a star government witness, as Grant verbally battled with the deputy marshal's attorney during a court hearing on Monday.

"This leak put at risk the most important witness in the Family Secrets case. It put at risk the agents guarding him. It put at risk his wife," Grant said, during questioning by Francis C. Lipuma, the lawyer for U.S. Deputy Marshal John Ambrose. "This leak was no small leak."

Ambrose is accused of leaking information about mob hit man Nicholas Calabrese, the star witness in the Family Secrets trial, which ended in September with the convictions of five defendants, including Calabrese's brother, mob killer Frank Calabrese Sr.

Chicago mobsters "protect their own because it's assumed they won't cooperate. Once that cooperation becomes known, it's fair game," Grant said.

A federal judge is holding a hearing to determine what statements by Ambrose, if any, should be allowed at his trial.

Ambrose contends when he was lured to FBI offices in September 2006 on a ruse, he was in custody but not initially read his Miranda rights.

Both Grant and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who paired up to talk with Ambrose initially, testified at the hearing that they told Ambrose he wasn't under arrest.

Ambrose's name came to light during secret FBI recordings of Chicago mob boss James Marcello while in prison.

Grant said that Ambrose admitted he knew two of his friends had connections to mob bosses Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo and John "No Nose" DiFronzo.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

US Attorney Denies Interrogating US Marshal about Leak to the Mob

The U.S. Attorney in Chicago has denied in grand jury proceedings he interrogated a U.S. Marshal suspected of leaking information to the mob.

Patrick Fitzgerald said he summoned federal Marshal John Ambrose to FBI offices in September 2006 for "a conversation," and not an interrogation, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.

Ambrose is suspected of leaking information to a mob star witness in another trial he was assigned to protect.

On Tuesday, Ambrose said while meeting with Fitzgerald he was closely guarded by FBI agents, including when he went to the washroom, and was never read his Miranda rights, the Chicago Sun-Times said.

Fitzgerald in turn said Ambrose was agitated, and the agents only accompanied him to the washroom because "I did not want to see him kill himself."

The hearing is set to resume Jan. 3 with further cross-examination of Fitzgerald, the report said.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Deputy US Marshal Breaks Down Meeting with Prosecutors Regarding Mob Leak

A deputy U.S. marshal from Chicago, once a rising star in his office and now accused of leaking information to the mob, was questioned about possible contacts with other reputed mobsters, according to testimony in federal court Tuesday.

Investigators quizzed Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose about any contacts he had with top reputed mobsters John "Pudgy" Matassa and Tony Zizzo, who is now missing, according to testimony. Ambrose denied even knowing who the men were.

Ambrose, 39, is charged with lying to the feds about leaking secret information about mob killer Nicholas Calabrese, who decided to cooperate with the government and was in the witness protection program.

The feds caught on tape two mobsters, reputed Chicago Outfit boss James Marcello and his half brother, Michael, talking about Calabrese's "baby-sitter" -- their code name for Ambrose -- and the information "the baby-sitter" was providing to them.

The hearing was to determine whether statements that Ambrose made to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Robert Grant, the head of the FBI in Chicago, should be tossed out.

Ambrose contends he was in custody when he made statements and was not read his Miranda rights, so the statements shouldn't be allowed in. The feds say he wasn't in custody and gave the statements freely in talks with Fitzgerald and Grant in September 2006. Fitzgerald testified Tuesday that he told Ambrose he was not under arrest -- which Ambrose denies.

U.S. Marshal Kim Widup, Ambrose's boss, backed Ambrose's account in one key detail. Widup said he believed Ambrose was in custody when he was being questioned, which could support Ambrose and undermine the prosecution's case. Ambrose's uncle, Gerald Hansen, a retired Chicago police officer and current federal court security officer, visited Ambrose while he was at FBI offices and also said he believed his nephew was in custody.

It's unclear how much those statements will assist Ambrose. U.S. District Judge John Grady said he likely wouldn't consider their opinions all that helpful.

Ambrose broke down on the witness stand as he described how he was confronted by Fitzgerald and Grant.

"I was thinking about my wife and how she was going to raise the kids if we were separated, how we were going to provide," Ambrose said, tears coming to his eyes. "I felt I had been hurled into a vat of quicksand, and Mr. Fitzgerald was throwing bricks at me," Ambrose said.

Investigators were worried that Ambrose might kill himself, and lured him to FBI offices on a ruse.

Ambrose had to hand over his gun, a customary procedure, before he went up to 10th floor conference room at FBI offices, where he was confronted by Fitzgerald and Grant.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

US Marshal Accused of Being Mob Mole Appears in Court

A U.S. marshal accused of leaking information about a key mob trial witness says he felt he'd been "thrown into a vat of quicksand" when he realized he faced possible criminal charges.

A sometimes tearful John Ambrose testified Tuesday at a hearing to determine whether statements he made before being formally charged will be admissible in court.

Ambrose says he was intimidated into making the 2006 statements to prosecutors.

Defense attorneys say Ambrose was effectively under arrest and should've been read his rights. Since he wasn't, they say his statements shouldn't be admissible. But prosecutors say Ambrose wasn't under arrest and made the statements freely.

Attorneys gave no indication what Ambrose told prosecutors.

Hickory Farms

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

2 Counts Dropped Against U.S. Marshal in Mob Case

Friends of ours: Nicholas Calabrese
Friends of mine: John Ambrose

A federal judge Monday dismissed two counts in an indictment against a deputy U.S. marshal accused of leaking information about a key government witness to the mob.

John Ambrose was charged earlier this year with giving information on the cooperation and movement of witness Nicholas Calabrese to members of the Chicago Outfit while Calabrese was in protective custody.

Ambrose had been charged with federal felony theft and a count alleging he had disclosed information without authorization. U.S. District Judge John Grady found that the counts were not specific enough.

Grady wrote that the government had not adequately described what Ambrose allegedly stole to constitute the theft charge. He also found that prosecutors did not fully outline what information allegedly was taken, denying Ambrose the ability to formulate an adequate defense.

Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined to comment on the decision.

Ambrose remains charged with making false statements in the case.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

US Marshall Tells US Attorney and FBI He F@#%ed Up

Friends of ours: Nick Calabrese
Friends of mine: John Ambrose

As soon as the high-ranking deputy U.S. marshal sat down with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and FBI Chicago chief Robert Grant, he knew he was in trouble, federal documents allege.

"I fucked up," John Ambrose reportedly told both officials as they questioned him about whether he leaked sensitive information.

Ambrose, a member of the regional fugitive task force who also did a brief stint in witness protection, is charged with passing government material about protected mob witness Nick Calabrese to a third party. That information made its way to the mob, federal authorities contend.

Calabrese is a major government witness in the upcoming Operation Family Secrets mob trial. Ambrose was stripped of his duties last year and charged in January.

The allegations were taken so seriously that Grant and Fitzgerald took the rare move of sitting down with Ambrose last September. Prosecutors say they told him he faced criminal charges and risked losing his job -- but they contend they also told him he wasn't under arrest. If he were in custody, a Miranda warning would have been required. Federal prosecutors say Ambrose never asked for a lawyer and was free to leave whenever he pleased. "Mr Ambrose at times appeared anxious while reviewing some of the evidence against him," Grant said in a court affidavit filed Tuesday. "Mr. Ambrose on a number of occasions shook his head and repeated that he had fucked up."

Their contentions come in response to a filing last month in which Ambrose claimed that he was pressured into giving incriminating statements. "The pressure was so extreme that my body was shaking and my mind was racing," Ambrose said in court papers.

Ambrose's filing says he believed he was in custody. He is trying to get his statements tossed.

Thanks to Natasha Korecki

Friday, April 20, 2007

Chicago Outfit Hits from Four Decades Detailed in Court Papers

Friends of mine: Tony "The Big Tuna" Accardo, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Nick Calabrese
Friends of ours: John Ambrose

A newly released court document details four decades of alleged Chicago mob killings, including the slayings of six men accused of robbing the vault of the Mafia's biggest boss.

The 63-page document was submitted by federal prosecutors to U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel. He is to preside over the trial of 14 men accused in an indictment that blames the mafia for 18 long-unsolved murders. Jury selection is scheduled to begin June 1.

The trial is the result of the FBI's long-running Operation Family Secrets investigation.

In the robbery case, mob bosses wanted to send a message that they would not tolerate the theft of jewelry and other items from the basement vault of fellow boss Tony Accardo's house, according to the document unveiled Thursday.

"The Outfit wanted to find out which burglars were actually involved in the Accardo burglary so they could be killed to enforce the message," the document says.

Eventually, six men were blamed. The alleged organizer of the vault burglary, John Mendell, was last heard from January 16, 1978, the prosecutors said.

Among the list of 18 unsolved murders is the killing of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, the Chicago mob's longtime man in Las Vegas, who inspired the Joe Pesci character in the 1995 movie "Casino." His body was buried in an Indiana cornfield.

The document seeks to convince Zagel that a conspiracy existed and that third-party testimony that would ordinarily be hearsay should be allowed.

Among those expected to testify is Nicholas Calabrese, a self-described "made guy" in the Chicago mob who now is helping the government. The document says Calabrese's account of mob bookmaking, loan sharking, extortion, arson and murder has resulted in an FBI report more than 100 pages long that points the finger at organized crime leaders.

The version of the document made public Thursday is heavily redacted with prosecutors saying their witnesses are afraid of mob reprisals and would be even more terrified if their names got out before trial.

Federal deputy marshal John Ambrose is charged with leaking information about Calabrese's whereabouts to the mob. He has pleaded not guilty and claims he was not read his Miranda warning when arrested.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

U.S. Marshal Coerced to Reveal Leaks Regarding Mob Informant?

Friends of ours: Nick Calabrese, John "No Nose" DiFronzo, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo
Friends of mine: John Ambrose

A deputy marshal accused of leaking sensitive information about a valuable mob informant is claiming that Chicago's U.S. attorney and FBI chief coerced statements from him.

John Ambrose is asking that a judge toss out statements he made last September to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Chicago's FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Grant. Ambrose claims he was pressured into talking and was never read his rights.

"I felt extreme pressure because of . . . the stature of the men who were confronting me and the intimidating nature of the confrontation," Ambrose wrote in a court-filed affidavit. "The pressure was so extreme that my body was shaking and my mind was racing."

Ambrose, 38, was charged in January with theft of information after the government said he leaked confidential material about protected mob witness Nick Calabrese to "Individual A." Calabrese will be a top government witness in this June's Operation Family Secrets mob trial. Ambrose watched Calabrese in a brief stint with witness protection. The feds say the information Ambrose leaked about Calabrese made its way to the mob.

Last September, Ambrose said he was told to come to the FBI to talk about white supremacists and fugitives. Once there, Grant and Fitzgerald allegedly accused him of compromising the government and pushed him to talk.

At one point, Ambrose claims Fitzgerald referenced his father, Thomas, who was convicted in the Marquette 10 cop corruption case. "I told Mr. Fitzgerald that they took a cheap shot bringing my father into this," Ambrose wrote.

Ambrose said Grant told him to "think of your family. Think of your job. You don't want to go to prison."

He alleged Fitzgerald told him: "You've got two choices, either fill in the blanks and cooperate, or possibly face charges and lose your job." Ambrose claims he talked because he felt he "had no choice."

The government has claimed that Ambrose gave conflicting statements. They say in one he admitted giving sensitive information to a third party, who knew reputed mobster John "No Nose" DiFronzo. Ambrose allegedly said he hoped DiFronzo's "good will" would help him capture onetime mob fugitive Joey "The Clown" Lombardo. In another interview, Ambrose allegedly denied intending to pass information to DiFronzo or mob members.

Spokesmen for the FBI and U.S. attorney's office declined to comment. Prosecutors are expected to respond in future court filings.

Thanks to Natasha Korecki

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

U.S. Marshal Pleads Not Guilty of Mob Leak

Friends of ours: James Marcello, Michael Marcello
Friends of mine: John Ambrose

A deputy U.S. marshal pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal charges that he leaked confidential information that a mob hit man was cooperating with the FBI against organized crime.

John Ambrose was charged last month with telling a family friend that Nicholas Calabrese, the only member of the Chicago Outfit ever to become a government informant, was releasing details of gangland slayings.

Ambrose's alleged role as the inside source came to light in cryptic conversations between imprisoned Outfit boss James Marcello and his brother, Michael, that were secretly recorded by the FBI.

Following Wednesday's arraignment, Ambrose's lawyer, Francis Lipuma, said he has been told that federal officials plan to place Ambrose on unpaid leave from his job, but Lipuma intends to fight the move. He is currently on paid leave.

Ambrose, 38, a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marshals Service, is free on bail.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ex-Cop Denies He Passed Info to the Mob

Friends of ours: James Marcello, Michael Marcello, Nick Calabrese, John "No-Nose" DiFronzo
Friends of mine: William Guide, John Ambrose

Speaking publicly for the first time, a former cop accused of receiving sensitive information about the mob from a deputy U.S. marshal denied he did anything wrong.

William Guide became agitated Tuesday when asked if he passed on to a reputed mobster sensitive information he got from deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose. "I didn't do anything," an emphatic Guide told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday. "I didn't do anything wrong. You don't know the whole story. You're making me out to be the bad guy in this whole thing."

Guide was responding to a story in Tuesday's Sun-Times in which Ambrose's lawyer, Frank Lipuma, said if the government's allegations were true, Guide "may or may not have taken advantage of Mr. Ambrose."

Ambrose, 38, was charged last week with theft of information after the government said he leaked confidential material about protected mob witness Nick Calabrese to "Individual A." Sources say that is Guide. Guide has not been charged in the case.

His lawyer, Rick Beuke, said Guide looks at Ambrose as a son. Beuke said he doesn't believe there was anything sinister going on between Ambrose and Guide, two longtime friends. If Ambrose talked about anything sensitive, he may have just been bragging, Beuke said. "He wanted to impress Guide like he'd want to impress a father," Beuke said. "It's like a kid coming home and saying: 'Dad, I hit a home run.' "

Ambrose twice briefly guarded Calabrese, who is set to testify in a mob trial this spring, when he was in Chicago. Shortly after, the feds say Ambrose revealed to Guide confidential facts he obtained from a file on Calabrese.

That information made its way to mobsters, the government alleges. The feds released transcripts of prison surveillance tapes in which reputed mobsters -- Jimmy and Michael Marcello -- can be heard discussing specifics about Calabrese's movements in Chicago and his cooperation. In coded language, they refer to both Guide and Ambrose, the FBI said. Information about Calabrese came from a file Ambrose had accessed, the feds allege.

The Marcellos refer to getting information from the "baby-sitter," whose father was a cop convicted in the Marquette 10. Federal authorities say that's specific information identifying Ambrose.

They allege that a third party passed the information to mobsters and do not allege that Ambrose disclosed sensitive information intending it to go to the mob. Ambrose denies wrongdoing.

Guide briefly served prison time with reputed mobster John "No Nose" DiFronzo.

Guide was a Chicago Police officer when he was convicted in the Marquette 10 scandal in the 1980s along with Ambrose's father, Thomas. Thomas Ambrose died in prison at age 37. Since then, Guide and John Ambrose have been close friends, talk often and share a love for wrestling, both of their attorneys said. "John was seeking out Bill's approval. He wanted Bill to be proud of him as a marshal," Beuke said.

Beuke said Guide and DiFronzo know each other. But he doesn't believe there's an ongoing friendship. Beuke said Guide, a South Sider, runs a pizza business and is too busy working to be a mob associate. "I don't think there's any evidence of Bill passing along any information to the mob," Beuke said.

Thanks to Natasha Korecki

Was Arrest of a US Marshall a Terrific Mistake?

Friends of ours: Nick Calabrese, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, John "No Nose" DiFronzo, Aldo Cardellicchio
Friends of mine: John Ambrose, William Guide

Like his late father, John Ambrose was a distinguished, decorated law enforcement officer, respected by his peers. And also like his dad, Ambrose doesn't believe he should be facing criminal charges.

The elder Ambrose, Thomas, was a decorated Chicago cop before he was prosecuted as one of the Marquette 10, a police corruption case in the 1980s. At age 37, Thomas Ambrose died of a heart attack in prison -- just seven days after John's 18th birthday.

John Ambrose, 38, grew up to become a deputy U.S. marshal known for hunting down violent fugitives, including gang-bangers, and hauling them in to face a judge. But last week, it was Ambrose who had to face a judge's questions after he was accused of leaking sensitive government information. With short-cropped hair, Ambrose, well-built and intense, answered in an almost military style -- "Yes, your honor" -- to each of the questions.

His intensity, tenacity and strong work ethic made him such a successful law enforcement officer, colleagues say.

Despite what the FBI and federal prosecutors allege, Ambrose doesn't believe he should face prison time and plans vigorously to fight the charges, said his lawyer, Frank Lipuma. "I think they've made a terrific mistake," Lipuma said. "I think it's going to come out that other people's names have been identified, other people could have been the source of the material . . . not John."

Ambrose is accused of leaking information about what mob witness Nick Calabrese was telling the feds. After guarding Calabrese during short stints with the federal witness security program in 2002 and 2003, Ambrose allegedly leaked information from a sensitive file to a longtime family friend, William Guide. His fingerprints were found on the file, but his lawyer said the file was not secured and Ambrose was allowed to review it.

Guide, also one of the Marquette 10, allegedly passed on the information -- including details about Calabrese's movements and his cooperation -- to the mob. It caught authorities' attention when two reputed mobsters under surveillance were heard discussing the information and referred to Ambrose as "the babysitter," according to charges.

If the allegations are true, what was Ambrose's motivation? The feds do not allege Ambrose was paid. In fact, transcripts of conversations between the reputed mobsters indicate Ambrose refused money.

"Perhaps Mr. Ambrose had a father figure in this person [Guide] who may or may not have taken advantage of Mr. Ambrose," Lipuma suggested. "John did not knowingly disclose any confidential information to Guide. Whether Guide conveyed that information to someone else, we don't know."

Lipuma said Ambrose was open with his superiors about his longtime friendship with Guide, who shares Ambrose's interest in wrestling.

Ambrose, married and a father of four, grew up on the South Side and was an avid wrestler while attending St. Laurence High School. He went to Lewis University in Romeoville. Ambrose is a wrestling coach today.

Ambrose allegedly told investigators he was just bragging to Guide, described only as "Individual A" by the feds. He said he hoped his goodwill with Guide would ingratiate Ambrose with reputed mobster John "No Nose" DiFronzo.

DiFronzo and Guide are reportedly friends. That relationship could help Ambrose track down Joey "the Clown" Lombardo if he were to become a fugitive, Ambrose allegedly told investigators last September. The alleged leaks to Guide happened in 2002 and 2003. Lombardo was charged in April 2005 and then became a fugitive.

Ambrose was in his mid-teens when he saw his father go to prison. "It was very painful and hurt him a great deal when his father was convicted," Lipuma said. "He missed having his father in his life since then."

The Marquette 10 prosecution was considered ground-breaking because it was among the first to put drug dealers on the stand to testify against police officers. Some saw it as a slap in the face to local law enforcement. "I think there was a certain element of the community that resented it," said former prosecutor Dean Polales.

Lipuma dismissed any notion that Ambrose harbored resentment against the FBI or prosecutors for charging his father.

He pointed to dangerous fugitives Ambrose has hunted down, including gang-bangers on the most wanted list and mobster Aldo Cardellicchio, wanted by Italian authorities. "His job meant everything to him, to the point where he sacrificed his time with his family to do his job," Lipuma said.

Ambrose, a supervisory inspector with the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, was involved in the hunt for six Cook County jail escapees last year. He also helped capture a man whose disappearance in the federal courthouse caused it to be shut down for hours last year. "John was so highly regarded," said attorney Thomas C. Royce, who represented Ambrose's father. "I would see him in the courthouse and he would say, 'I haven't slept in two days because I've been chasing a fugitive to Milwaukee.' "

There's a reason federal authorities are taking the Calabrese matter so seriously. Calabrese is among one of the most significant witnesses developed in Chicago's history, Chicago FBI chief Robert Grant said at a news conference.

Calabrese is poised to testify this May in the Operation Family Secrets trial as a witness to 16 mob killings that he allegedly carried out with others. But his cooperation is delicate; Calabrese has allegedly admitted to taking part in slayings, has promised to testify against family members but has no deal with prosecutors to do so.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Lawyer Says US Marshall is no Hoodlum

A deputy US marshal is charged with revealing information about a mob informant in the witness protection program. The ABC7 I-Team has learned there are serious questions about the deputy's background. He has family ties to the Marquette 10 Chicago police scandal back in the 1980s.

The deputy charged is John Thomas Ambrose. His father Tom Ambrose served prison time in the Marquette 10 police scandal.

There is a hit movie out right now called "The Departed" starring Jack Nicholson as a mob boss. It centers on a cop who is actually working for the mob. It is fictional story. But in Chicago that same scenario is playing out in real life, with a 9-year veteran lawman accused of helping the outfit by secretly leaking information that might have compromised the biggest outfit case in Chicago in 20 years. "No system is perfect. Much of what we do depends on trust and confidence and honor," said Gary Shapiro, US. state's attorney.

According to federal prosecutors, 38-year-old John Thomas Ambrose broke the trust, compromised that confidence and dishonored his oath to uphold the law. Ambrose appeared Thursday afternoon before US Magistrate Michael Mason on federal theft charges.

According to the FBI, Ambrose fed Chicago organized crime bosses, including Jimmy "the Man" Marcello, a steady diet of "highly sensitive, confidential information" about a key witness in the federal investigation of more than a dozen unsolved Chicago mob killings. "The breach could have put at risk the life of one of the most important witnesses ever developed in Chicago against the Chicago Outfit. It could have put at risk US Marshal's, and family members of that witness," said Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge.

Conversations between Marcello and his brother at the federal prison in Milan, Michigan, had been secretly recorded by the FBI. The conversations included coded references to "the status, substance of cooperation and travel" of Nicholas Calabrese, a defendant and key witness in the FBI's Operation Family Secrets.

Federal agents say they had to break the mob code, deciphering that Ambrose was "the babysitter." The FBI was "polizia." Mob leader Joey "the Clown" Lombardo was Pai-Achi, the name of a clown in a famous Italian opera. The Spilotro brothers who had been tortured and buried alive in a cornfield were "shivago," and the code for wife, "moolieri."

Ambrose's lawyer contends, he's no hoodlum. "He is not connected to the mob at all. It rests on impressions and opinions of an FBI agent who wrote that affidavit. She said so herself and she is interpreting what they are saying," said Frank Lipuma, Ambrose's attorney.

Ambrose's father Thomas was a disgraced Chicago cop, a key figure convicted in the Marquette 10 police corruption case 20 years ago.

Authorities believe that while the father was serving time at the downstate Marion penitentiary, he renewed a boyhood friendship with Chicago mob king John "No Nose" DiFronzo , and that after Thomas Ambrose died, his son john, the deputy US marshal, struck up a relationship with DiFronzo , all leading to questions about why Ambrose was hired in the first place.

When interviewed by the FBI, Ambrose said he understood he made a mistake but that his intention was to ingratiate himself to DiFronzo and others to help his career. He thought they might help him locate fugitives including the recently captured Joey "the Clown" Lombardo.

Ambrose has been on leave from the US Marshal's Office since September and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. He is out on $50,000 bond.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

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