The Chicago Syndicate: FBI Boss Rooted for Mafia According to Fellow Agent Testimony
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Saturday, October 20, 2007

FBI Boss Rooted for Mafia According to Fellow Agent Testimony

The anecdote is so ingrained in Mafia lore that it was mimicked in a scene from the television show "The Sopranos": A corrupt FBI agent slapping his desk and celebrating news of another killing in a bloody mob civil war.

A current FBI agent testified Wednesday that it happened in a real-life slip-up by ex-agent R. Lindley DeVecchio, now on trial for murder. "We're going to win this thing," DeVecchio blurted out at headquarters, according to the witness.

Prosecutors said the 1992 outburst was further proof that DeVecchio secretly aligned himself with an informant within one of the warring factions of the Colombo crime family.

The capo-turned-informant, the late Gregory Scarpa Sr., showered DeVecchio with cash, stolen jewelry, liquor -- and even prostitutes -- in exchange for confidential information, according to an indictment. The ruthless mobster used the inside tips about the identities and whereabouts of suspected rats and rivals to rub out at least four victims in the late 1980s and early 1990s, authorities said.

DeVecchio, 66, has pleaded not guilty in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn to four counts of murder in what prosecutors have billed as one of the worst law enforcement corruption cases in U.S. history. At his request, the trial is being heard by a judge and not a jury.

DeVecchio has denied forming an illicit alliance with Scarpa. His supporters include former agents who put up money to pay his legal bills. But agent Christopher M. Favo, whom DeVecchio once supervised on the FBI's Colombo squad, took the witness stand Wednesday to recount his mounting suspicions about his former boss.

Favo, who shared an office with DeVecchio, testified that he overheard DeVecchio use a special phone line to stay in constant touch with "34" -- Scarpa's informant code name. He also described his astonishment at the defendant's obvious joy over the 1992 slaying of a Colombo soldier from the faction opposing Scarpa, and recalled the pointed exchange that followed.

"We're the FBI," Favo snapped. "We're not on either side."

"That's what I meant," DeVecchio responded, according to Favo.

Favo said he eventually stopped sharing information with DeVecchio and alerted FBI higher-ups about possible leaks. But the Department of Justice declined to prosecute DeVecchio following an internal investigation; he retired to Florida in 1996, two years after Scarpa died in prison.

State prosecutors revived the case last year after they said they persuaded Scarpa's longtime girlfriend to come forward and reveal his secrets. The girlfriend, Linda Schiro, was expected to testify as early as next week. Also slated as a government witness is Scarpa's imprisoned son.

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