Francis John Schweihs (February 7, 1932 – July 23, 2008), aka "Frank the German", was an alleged hitman who had been known to work for The Outfit, the organized crime family in Chicago. He was under indictment in the Operation Family Secrets case for the crimes of racketeering and extortion. It is believed he had participated in, or had knowledge of, many murders going back decades, including brothers Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro and Michael Spilotro, Allen Dorfman of the Teamsters Union, a disgraced Chicago cop, Outfit associate and informant Dick Cain, Outfit boss Salvatore "Sam," "Mooney" Giancana, loanshark Sam "Mad Sam" DeStefano, Outfit hitman Charles "Chuckie" Nicoletti and others.
Journalist Thomas Burdick, from his own investigation of the case, concluded that Schweihs, not the man who was actually convicted, was the likely killer of cigarette boat designer Donald Aronow, in 1987.[clarification needed]
Schweihs ran with several crews, one of them the "Chinatown Crew" also known as the "26th Street Crew." Its operations were run out of the Old Neighborhood Italian American Club, originally on west 26th Street, in Chicago. Its founder, Angelo J. "The Hook" LaPietra, and Schweihs' partner skimmed $2 Million from Las Vegas casinos in the 1980s and built a new massive club structure on west 31st Street, in Chicago. In 1991, Schweihs collected $12,000 a month from the On Leong, in Chinatown, to allow them to run their casino there. The money was delivered to the Italian Club.
The last known city of residence of Schweihs was Dania Beach, Florida, before he become a fugitive in April 2005. He was a fugitive along with Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, who each went their separate ways; however, Schweihs was eventually caught in Berea, Kentucky, on December 16, 2005, and less than a month later, Lombardo was caught on January 13, 2006, in the Greater Chicago area. Schweihs' trial was separated from the other defendants' because of his poor health (he had cancer). His co-defendants were convicted in the original trial in 2007. Schweihs remained in jail pending his trial. After his health had been judged to have improved, he was finally scheduled to go on trial in October 2008. Indeed, Schweihs' health had improved so much that he was able to try to stare down and verbally challenge lead federal prosecutor T. Markus Funk and prosecutor Amarjeet S. Bhachu.
Schweihs died on July 23, 2008, from complications related to his cancer.
- UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. NICHOLAS W. CALABRESE, et al., US Department of Justice
- Blue Thunder: How the Mafia Owned and Finally Murdered Cigarette Boat King Donald Aronow. Simon and Schuster. 1990.
- "Feared mobster Frank 'The German' Schweihs dead". Sun Times.
- DOJ Operation Family Secrets press release
- New Criminologist: Alleged Mafia hitman Frank "The German" Schweihs arrested in Kentucky by Nick Morris
- Frank Schweihs: Flood Testimony Recalls Breakup Of Mob Hit Attempt,[dead link] Illinois Police and Sheriff's News
- FBI says hit man, 75, kills for mob by Roberto Santiago