Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Family Secrets mob trial with Sun-Times reporter Steve Warmbir

July 2008 Archives

Frank Schweihs

Reputed mob killer Frank "The German" Schweihs - who had a fearsome reputation even among the most hard-core mobsters - has died.

Schweihs was recently transferred from the Metropolitan Correction Center to Thorek Hospital and Medical Center, where he died Wednesday evening, according to authorities.

Schweihs had been suffering from cancer and had been unable to stand trial with other top mobsters in the Family Secrets case last year. He was finally scheduled to go on trial in October.

Schweihs died from complications related to his cancer, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcus Funk, a prosecutor in last summer's Family Secrets trial.

Schweihs' standing among mobsters was legendary.

In one conversation secretly recorded by the feds, Schweihs tells a man that he won't be around because he has to go commit a murder - as most people would say they have to take out the trash.

The late mobster Michael Spilotro once warned his teenage daughter that if she ever saw Schweihs around their home, she was to lock the door and call the cops, according to testimony in the Family Secrets trial.

More to details to come.

Federal prosecutors have put a price tag on how much money they'll be seeking from the five men convicted in the Family Secrets mob trial last year.

The grand total: $20,258,566.

That figure represents how much money the Outfit made since the 1960s, that the government was able to trace, based on evidence at trial.

Some readers may initially react to that number and say, "That's all?"

But it's important to understand what that number represents -- and what it doesn't.

Anthony Calabrese
Anthony Calabrese

About six years ago, federal investigators sat reputed mob hitman Anthony Calabrese down and told him he could either cooperate or spend the rest of his life in prison, Calabrese says.
On Friday, the feds held true to that promise.
Calabrese, 47, the main suspect in the last known mob hit in Chicago, was sentenced to 62 years in prison in federal court for other crimes -- namely, his lead role in three armed robberies in the Chicago suburbs. Since all the crimes involved guns, under strict federal sentencing law, Calabrese faced an automatic minimum of 57 years behind bars.

Frank "The German" Schweihs

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to keep jurors' names secret in the upcoming trial of reputed mob hitman Frank "The German" Schweihs.

"Schweihs' calculated, and at times explosive and violent, conduct has indeed for decades been a matter of public record," according to the prosecution's filing by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Markus Funk, Amarjeet S. Bhachu and Marny Zimmer.

"Schweihs' lifelong habit of conducting himself in a fashion calculated to intimidate and control those around him in fact provides what arguably is the most compelling justification for juror anonymity," prosecutors wrote.

Frank Calabrese Sr., in his youth

Federal prosecutors have just filed a document in the Family Secrets trial that details mob hitman Frank Calabrese Sr. allegedly discussing killing his brother, Nick Calabrese, if Nick Calabrese is cooperating with the feds.

The prosecution filing responds to one filed by the attorney of Nick Ferriola, a protege of Calabrese Sr. who pleaded guilty in the case. Ferriola is coming up for sentencing and insists that the Bible talk between him and Calabrese Sr. was just that, Bible talk. The feds secretly recorded conversations between the two men when Ferriola visited Calabrese Sr. in prison where Calabrese Sr. was serving time on a loansharking case.

On Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Markus Funk included some additional excerpts from a conversation between Ferriola and Calabrese Sr. that Ferriola's attorney left out of his court filing.

The additional details of the conversation between the two men are fascinating.

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