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

October 2009 Archives

Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose was sentenced to 4 years in prison Tuesday for leaking information about the star witness in the most significant mob prosecution in Chicago history.

Ambrose told a family friend that he was guarding Nick Calabrese, a mob hitman turned government informant. That information eventually made its way to mob leaders.

The leak was considered one of the most significant breaches of security of the federal Witness Protection Program in its history.

More to come.

Fratto pleads guilty

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A reputed high-level Chicago mobster complaining of chronic migraines got another reason for a headache Tuesday as he pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion, which could send him to prison for one year to 18 months.

Rudolph C. "Rudy" Fratto, 65, of Darien, who comes from a family of alleged mobsters, admitted to failing to pay more than $140,000 in federal taxes on more than $800,000 in income from 2001 to 2007, according to his plea agreement in a case investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

Fratto evaded the taxes by having various businesses pay him through a defunct business whose checking account he controlled. One of those businesses included a gaming company in the northwest suburbs that specializes in lotteries and paid him about $58,000 in 2005 for handyman work.

In court Tuesday, Fratto complained to the judge he suffered from migraine headaches, but unlike other mobsters in their golden years reported no other serious ailments. He is to be sentenced Jan. 12.

Fratto's name has come up often in federal mob investigations, but his guilty plea on Tuesday marks his first federal conviction.

Fratto, long associated with the Elmwood Park crew, was considered among the top threats to the safety of key mob witness Nicholas Calabrese, court records show.

Calabrese's testimony helped put away some of Chicago's top mobsters in the Family
Secrets case.

In another instance, Fratto allegedly once met with one of Chicago's most crooked cops, former chief of detectives William Hanhardt, over a proposed hit, according to testimony in Hanhardt's sentencing hearing in 2002 for running a jewel theft ring. The hit, though, never happened.

Fratto also was accused of taking part in a 2001 meeting to approve Chicago mob boss James Marcello's takeover of key video poker territory in the western suburbs.

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