It was the first security violation by a U.S. Marshall in the history of the government's witness protection program, and the judge made an example out of Ambrose by sentencing him beyond the guidelines for his crime.
Senior U.S. District Judge John Grady has handled just about every kind of federal case possible during his 35 years on the bench in Chicago, but today when Grady sentenced Ambrose, it was for a crime never before committed in the history of the country: a deputy U.S. Marshal who leaked top secret information to the Chicago Mob, information about an outfit hit man who was in the witness protection program.
Ambrose was convicted of the crime in April.
Ambrose had walked into the Dirksen Federal Building countless times in his career as a deputy marshal, but Tuesday was the first time Ambrose walked in to be sentenced for leaking information to the Mob.
Government prosecutors wanted a sentence of more than six years.
"It's important here, which is a colossal breach of trust, and it emphasizes the need for deterrence," said T. Markus Funk, Asst. U.S. Attorney.
The disgraced U.S. Marshal Service deputy had asked for a lenient sentence of probation.
An undercover FBI tape of a prison conversation between two Chicago hoodlums was how the feds learned Ambrose had leaked sensitive security information.
Ambrose, referred to as 'the babysitter," had been guarding the highest ranking Chicago Mobster ever to turn government witness: Nick Calabrese.
Ambrose provided an outfit associate with information about Calabrese' cooperation. He was charged in the case in 2007.
Tuesday, attorneys representing the deputy marshal said he was just boasting and argued for probation.
"Mr. Ambrose is not sorry for what he did because what it is claimed he did has been from day one overstated," said Francis Lipuma, Ambrose's attorney, when asked if Ambrose was sorry.
In court, the judge split the difference, handing a four year sentence to Ambrose, whose stoic expression never changed.
Ambrose family members were heard to whimper from the audience.
For Ambrose, it was a hard fall from the top: from once leading a federal fugitive task force to now landing an all-expense paid trip to the iron side inn.
Judge Grady lashed out at Ambrose, saying the deputy's motive was to help family friend and crooked Chicago cop William Guide move in the Mob.
The judge said the only thing Ambrose regrets is getting caught.
Grady said a longer-than-required prison sentence should send a message to other deputy marshals if they ever think about breaching the witness protection program.
When asked if his deputies need a deterrent to not act like Ambrose, Kim Widup, U.S. Marshal-Chicago, said "The short answer is no."
Mr. Ambrose was asked if he wanted to say anything in court and declined.
He will be allowed to surrender to whichever federal prison he is assigned in late January, after spending the holidays with his wife and four children.
He promises an appeal, and there will also be a fight over whether he is allowed to remain free on bond during the appeal.