The Chicago Syndicate: Greg Scarpa Sr.
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Showing posts with label Greg Scarpa Sr.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greg Scarpa Sr.. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Accused of Helping the Mob, FBI Agent Gets His Day in Court

The rumor was explosive, hard to believe: Gregory Scarpa Sr., a ruthless Colombo crime family capo known as the Grim Reaper, was receiving tips from a mysterious source inside law enforcement, a man he called “the girlfriend.”

The confirmation was devastating: Prosecutors working to cripple the family in the mid-1990s said that the source was their own Roy Lindley DeVecchio, a Federal Bureau of Investigation supervisor, the man assigned to lead the Colombo investigation.

In May 1995, an assistant United States attorney, Ellen M. Corcella, was prosecuting a murder conspiracy case on the brutal war for control of the family. She practically begged jurors not to be distracted by the role prosecutors said Mr. DeVecchio played.

“He’ll get his day in court,” Ms. Corcella told the jury.

Though Ms. Corcella lost that case, her prediction eventually came true. More than a decade later, Mr. DeVecchio arrived in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn yesterday for a trial on murder charges. By the account of state prosecutors, he traded information with Mr. Scarpa from 1980 through 1993, directly causing four Mafia killings and failing to stop several others.

Mr. DeVecchio tried several legal maneuvers — including claiming immunity from prosecution as a federal agent — but each failed, and he appeared in court yesterday in a drab gray suit, ragged crew cut and crinkled features, watched from the gallery by rows of agents dressed nearly identically.

Prosecutors say Mr. DeVecchio accepted cash, wine, the services of a prostitute and jewelry stolen from bank safe deposit boxes. They say he billed the federal government for more than $66,000 in payments to Mr. Scarpa, then kept the money himself. But his greatest rewards were the least tangible, prosecutors say: Through years of handling his prized mole, Mr. DeVecchio grew his legend in the annals of law enforcement.

After helping supervise the famed Commission Case in the 1980s, when top leaders of the city’s five crime families were jailed, Mr. DeVecchio was honored by the Police Department and called to lecture at training academies.

So to Mr. DeVecchio’s lawyers and supporters, among them five agents who signed for his $1 million bail, the charges unfairly smear an exemplary career. Motivated by political gain, they say, state prosecutors have built a flawed case on the word of Mr. Scarpa’s common-law wife, Linda Schiro, a woman intent on selling her story to publishers.

Yesterday, there was a lot of history in the room, all the way up. The judge overseeing the case, Gustin L. Reichbach, was investigated by the F.B.I. in the 1960s when he was a student at Columbia University.

Despite a warning and a reminder that he could have a jury hear the case, Mr. DeVecchio waived his right to a jury trial and left his fate to a man that his F.B.I. colleagues had once described as a dangerous student protest organizer.

Absent an audience of jurors, an assistant district attorney, Joseph P. Alexis, opened his case with a stark, unemotional recounting of the charges. In a trial expected to last more than a month, he said Ms. Schiro would testify that Mr. DeVecchio had visited her home, taken cash payments and told Mr. Scarpa whom to kill.

The witness list includes several Mafia associates, including Mr. Scarpa’s namesake son, who is in prison for racketeering.

By the prosecutor’s account, Mr. DeVecchio identified informers. “Scarpa used this information,” Mr. Alexis said, “to devastating effect.”

Mr. Scarpa shot Mary Bari, the girlfriend of a Mafia figure who was suspected of crossing Mr. Scarpa, while his son held her down, Mr. Alexis said. Mr. DeVecchio eventually investigated possible informers on request.

“Shockingly, DeVecchio used his F.B.I. resources, looked into the matter and faithfully reported back,” he said.

A lawyer for Mr. DeVecchio, Douglas Grover, said Ms. Schiro’s testimony had been concocted to sell books. Several of the victims, he said, were killed before they ever had a chance to cooperate with the F.B.I.

Mr. Grover said Mr. DeVecchio’s relationship with Mr. Scarpa was proper, required to make big cases against secretive Mafia families. “Gregory Scarpa, as ugly and miserable a human being as he was, a made member of the Colombo crime family, was a top echelon F.B.I. source,” Mr. Grover said.

For Mr. DeVecchio, 67 and retired, the trial will render final judgment on a career marked as maverick from the start.

After joining the F.B.I. in 1965, Mr. DeVecchio worked in New York, a city traditionally unpopular among agents for its weather, cost of living, field office bureaucracy and large, ambitious Police Department. His Italian family background led to assignments investigating the Mafia, supporters say.

Mr. DeVecchio first came to prominence in the early 1980s. Posing undercover as a hit man, he helped convict a former intelligence agent of plotting to kill prosecutors and witnesses.

By then, in the parlance of the F.B.I., he had opened Mr. Scarpa, contracting him as a confidential informer to gather insight on Mafia doings and hierarchy.

Mr. Scarpa was something of a legend himself, a compact, muscular man of 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds. In the 1960s, the F.B.I. engaged him to travel south, meet Ku Klux Klan members and use his powers of persuasion to find the bodies of slain civil rights workers. Back home in Brooklyn he reputedly oversaw Colombo loan-sharking operations, hijackings, weapons sales and killings.

Much of Mr. Scarpa’s reputation derived from an uncanny ability to avoid prison through a series of indictments. In 1993, he finally pleaded guilty to murder and racketeering charges. The next year, at age 66, he died in a prison hospital of complications from AIDS, which he had contracted in a blood transfusion from a member of his crew.

The relationship between Mr. DeVecchio and Mr. Scarpa first drew scrutiny in 1994, when F.B.I. agents voiced their suspicions to supervisors, but an inquiry failed to find enough evidence. Taking the witness stand at a hearing in 1997, he strongly denied giving Mr. Scarpa investigative information.

Still, the accusations persisted, taking the form of defense motions, rumors, Mafia lore and, not least, book proposals. In 2005, state prosecutors got their break from Ms. Schiro, who had lived with Mr. Scarpa for years, bearing sons who followed their father into the Mafia.

By Ms. Schiro’s account, Mr. DeVecchio warned Mr. Scarpa of surveillance, impending arrests and other government informers. Prosecutors accused him of helping Mr. Scarpa kill a teenage murder witness, rivals for power and suspected informers, including a woman who had dated a family consigliere.

In his opening, Mr. Grover said the new charges reprised accusations long laid to rest, tacitly acknowledging the long, strange arc of Mr. DeVecchio’s career at the F.B.I. “Watch this one play out,” Mr. Grover told the judge. “It’s going to be quite interesting.”

Thanks to Michael Brick

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prosecutors Want FBI Agent's Defense Attorney Booted

Rogue FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio could be forced to find another lawyer on the eve of his blockbuster murder trial if Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes gets his way.

Prosecutors yesterday asked a judge to boot defense lawyer Douglas Grover from the case so they could call him as a witness against his own client.

"I want to put Mr. Grover on the stand," lead prosecutor Michael Vecchione told state Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach. Vecchione said he wanted Grover out because of a meeting the defense lawyer had years ago with a star prosecution witness.

DeVecchio, 66, was indicted last year for allegedly helping mobster Gregory Scarpa Sr. carry out four murders in the 1980s and '90s.

Scarpa, who has since died, was an FBI informer. Fall Discounts from The Wine MessengerHis ex-girlfriend Linda Schiro is the star witness who met with Grover 15 years ago during a Justice Department probe that cleared DeVecchio.

"Their point is that Schiro is a blatant liar," said Vecchione, adding that Grover met with Schiro and helped influence her.

Grover scoffed at the allegation. He called it tit-for-tat because he had successfully forced two prosecutors off the case.

"Removal of counsel on the eve of trial ... the prejudice would be extreme," said Reichbach, who reserved decision.

The trial is scheduled to get underway next month.

Thanks to Scott Shifrel

Discount Codes for The Wine Messenger

Monday, April 17, 2006

Boss: Ex-agent no thug - Former FBI chief backs DeVecchio

Friends of ours: Gregory Scarpa Sr., Colombo Crime Family

The former head of the FBI in New York insists that ex-G-man Lindley DeVecchio is innocent of charges that he helped fuel a top mob capo's murderous reign. Speaking out for the first time on the controversial case, James Kallstrom defended DeVecchio's handling of killer mobster Gregory Scarpa Sr. - and called the former agent a "hard worker" who risked his life going undercover to help smash the Mafia.

"Lin DeVecchio is not guilty and did not partake in what he's being charged with. It's as simple as that," Kallstrom, who now serves as senior counterterrorism adviser to Gov. Pataki, told the Daily News. "His work went a long way toward the success of the FBI task force breaking up La Cosa Nostra as we knew it."

Kallstrom, who was the face of the FBI through major cases such as the TWA Flight 800 probe and the first World Trade Center attack, has known the embattled agent more than 30 years.

He dismissed the corruption charges brought by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes as a hodgepodge of old accusations that had been thoroughly investigated by the Justice Department and the FBI.

The probes failed to uncover enough evidence to charge DeVecchio with a crime or even to discipline him. "There was no finding that any of those charges were valid," Kallstrom said. "From my knowledge, the two investigations were voluminous and took literally years to complete."

He added, "I don't proclaim to know everything that the district attorney might know, but from what I do know, I don't believe he's guilty of those charges because they've been thoroughly investigated before."

Prosecutors have painted an entirely different picture, accusing DeVecchio of taking payoffs from Scarpa and supplying him with inside information that led to four underworld slayings. That arrangement, prosecutors say, helped DeVecchio enhance his stature within the FBI while giving the Colombo chieftain license to kill with impunity.

Kallstrom acknowledged handling informers is "a tricky business." But he categorically denied there were payoffs. "Of course not," he said, bristling.

He added that the bureau had no knowledge that Scarpa, allegedly with DeVecchio's tacit blessings, was orchestrating a series of killings that left the streets of Brooklyn awash in blood.

"The notion that the FBI knew [Scarpa] was out killing people is preposterous," said Kallstrom, adding there were many "checks and balances" to ensure DeVecchio and Scarpa's "close working relationship" remained above board.

Hynes' office says it has the evidence to prove otherwise. "We are prepared to go to trial," said a Hynes spokesman.

Kallstrom is backing the Friends of Lin DeVecchio Trust Web site to raise funds for DeVecchio's legal defense, joining scores of active and retired FBI agents including Joe Pistone, who went undercover in the Mafia as Donnie Brasco.

"We put a Web site up to try to help with his legal expenses, and I lent my name to that because I believe he's innocent," Kallstrom said.

Thanks to Angela Mosconi

Sunday, April 16, 2006

For Ex-F.B.I. Agent Accused in Murders, a Case of What Might Have Been

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Gregory Scarpa Sr., Victor J. Orena

R. Lindley DeVecchio once stood atop the New York office of the F.B.I. as a legendary Mafia hunter, a storied agent who helped break the back of the mob in the celebrated Commission Case. Now he stands accused of helping the mob commit murders, charged in a state indictment last month with feeding lethal secrets to a captain of organized crime.

Mr. DeVecchio has been hailed as a hero and tarnished as a scourge, and yet there was a moment in a Pennsylvania parking lot 30 years ago that almost caused him to be neither.

In 1976, as a young F.B.I. agent, Mr. DeVecchio sold old handguns to undercover officers, who later sought to charge him with a felony. Had he been convicted, the case might have led to prison or his dismissal as an agent. But Mr. DeVecchio, who said he acted legally and to benefit a widow, was neither jailed nor fired.

The case against him was ultimately discarded without an indictment by officials at the highest levels of the Justice Department, a decision that the federal prosecutor in the original case says was largely made by the top aide to the deputy United States attorney general, a 32-year-old attorney named Rudolph W. Giuliani.

"Rudy expressed no other reason not to prosecute the guy except the guy was a cop," said the former prosecutor, Daniel M. Clements, who is now in private practice. "And he didn't want to embarrass the bureau."

Mr. Clements said last week that he recalled in detail his meetings 30 years ago with Mr. Giuliani, as well as his frustration that the case was dismissed as unimportant.

Mr. Giuliani, who built a reputation in part by prosecuting corrupt police officers, said through a spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, that he had no recollection of the DeVecchio case.

Whatever the level, if any, of Mr. Giuliani's role, the case stands as a long-buried piece of law enforcement history, a fork in the road that, if traversed differently, may have led to an entirely different set of consequences. Indeed, from the vantage point of 1976, the gun case may have seemed a minor matter. There was no way to know that seven years later, according to the state indictment filed last month in Brooklyn, Mr. DeVecchio would step across the line, helping a Mafia informant kill at least four people. But if Mr. DeVecchio had been pursued in 1976, would he have risen to lead the F.B.I. squad that hunted the Colombo crime family? Would he have had a role in some of the government's watershed cases against the mob? Would he now stand accused of second-degree murder?

His lawyer, Douglas E. Grover, said federal officials were right to never charge his client in the gun case because they were merely antiques that were peddled at a gun show. But he acknowledged that had that case been successfully pursued Mr. DeVecchio would probably have lost his job. "It also means that they may made not have made the Commission Case," he said, referring to a 1986 trial at which top organized crime leaders in New York City were convicted.

The gun case began in early 1976 when Mr. DeVecchio traveled from New York to King of Prussia, Pa., to sell a Nazi-era Luger at the Valley Forge Gun Show, which promotes itself as "a gun show in the truest American tradition."

He was looking, according to his testimony in a later case, to sell the weapons "for the benefit of the widow" to whom they belonged.

Without a license, he moved through the stalls of the firearms bazaar, and was soon approached by Michael Flax, an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Mr. Flax said. Mr. Flax's job was to troll the show in plainclothes looking for such illicit deals. That year alone, he said, several people he caught similarly selling guns without paperwork went to prison. "I was usually like, 'Gee I'd like to get this gun,' " he said in an interview from his retirement home in San Diego. ' "Do we have to go through all the paperwork?' "

Mr. Flax recalled that he bought the Luger in a parking lot outside the show. Over several weeks, he said, he pursued an investigation of Mr. DeVecchio in which a second agent secretly recorded the F.B.I. man selling another gun. He said that Mr. DeVecchio, at one point, gave him a phone number at which he might be reached. It was, he said, an office of the New York F.B.I.

A few weeks later, Mr. Flax brought the case to Mr. Clements, then a young federal prosecutor in Baltimore. Mr. Clements is now in private practice and active in the Democratic Party, having given money to candidates like John Kerry and Al Gore.

"Flax comes to me saying, 'You're not going to believe this,' " Mr. Clements said last week. " 'I have an F.B.I. agent selling guns illegally.' "

A few months later, Mr. Clements said he told the F.B.I. as a courtesy that he was investigating one of its agents. A few weeks passed, he said, with discussions back and forth with F.B.I. officials in Maryland and in Washington. "The next person I heard from," he went on, "was Rudolph Giuliani."

Mr. Giuliani was, at that point, an aide to Harold Tyler, the deputy attorney general, who reviewed such cases. Mr. Giuliani had joined his staff in 1975 after serving in the United States attorney's office in Manhattan where he had helped direct the prosecution in the Prince of the City police corruption case.

Over several weeks, Mr. Clements said, Mr. Giuliani asked him to write a pair of memoranda on the case in which he noted that Mr. DeVecchio had sold the guns without the proper paperwork, a crime, Mr. Clements said, for which he thought there was sufficient evidence to prosecute. Mr. Clements said he attended a pair of meetings about the case with Mr. Giuliani, including one in Mr. Giuliani's office also attended by Mr. Tyler and Jervis Finney, the United States attorney in Maryland who was then Mr. Clements's boss.

Mr. Finney, now the chief lawyer for the governor of Maryland, said last week he has no recollection of the meeting. But Mr. Clements produced a datebook he said he had saved that listed a meeting with Mr. Giuliani in June 1976.

At that meeting and a subsequent meeting in October, Mr. Clements said Mr. Giuliani repeated his desire not to prosecute the case, saying the guns were old and the sale of them without paperwork did not warrant prosecution.

Judge Tyler, who Mr. Clements said was at the second meeting, died last year. The bottom line, after both meetings, Mr. Clements said, was that the case would be dropped.

In the ensuing years, Mr. DeVecchio rose to lead the F.B.I.'s special unit that investigates the Colombo crime family, a position in which he had success in part because of his relationship with a captain in the family, Gregory Scarpa Sr., who became his informant.

The closeness of that relationship ultimately led to a two-year inquiry of Mr. DeVecchio by the F.B.I. that ended in 1996 with the decision to bring no charges against him. But Mr. DeVecchio soon retired.

In 1997, the old gun case briefly resurfaced. At a federal appeals hearing in Brooklyn. Mr. DeVecchio was called as a witness by a gangster, Victor J. Orena, who was trying to win his freedom by suggesting that Mr. DeVecchio was a corrupt agent who had lied about the facts in his case. Under questioning by Gerald Shargel, Mr. Orena's lawyer, Mr. DeVecchio acknowledged selling the guns to the federal agents.

Mr. Shargel then went on to ask him: "Do you remember agents of the A.T.F. reporting to the F.B.I. and Rudolph Giuliani — not yet the mayor — that you had lied to those agents who questioned you, that when confronted with the crimes that you committed, you gave them false exculpatory statements?"

Mr. DeVecchio said that he did not.

In the new indictment, announced last month by Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney, Mr. DeVecchio is accused of helping Mr. Scarpa commit at least four murders in the 1980's and early 1990's in exchange for weekly payments. Most of the victims had been talking to the authorities, prosecutors said, and thus were a threat to Mr. Scarpa.

When Mr. Clements read of the indictment, he said he was surprised. At the same time, he recalled the words that he and Mr. Flax had swapped, years ago, when the gun case, as he put it, "went away."

It was an old-time adage on those who break the law, a general theory of recidivist crime. "If someone's a bad actor, we'll get him again," he remembered telling Mr. Flax.

Thanks to Alan Feuer

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Gangland Killings: FBI Agent Indicted for Role in Mafia War

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Craig Sobel, John Sinagra, Greg "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa, Alphonse Persico, Carmine Persico, Joseph DeDomenico, Lorenzo Lampasi, Nicholas "Nicky Black" Grancio, Larry Mazza
Friends of mine: Lindley DeVecchio

A retired FBI special agent who was being investigated for his role in mob "hits" has been indicted by a Brooklyn, NY grand jury, according to the District Attorney's office. The decorated FBI agent, Lindley DeVecchio, was indicted on charges that he gave information to his Mafia informant that led to a series of gangland murders during the bloody Colombo Family gangland war of the 1990s, according to the indictment.

The arrest and indictment of retired FBI Agent Roy Lindley DeVecchio and two men Craig Sobel and John Sinagra associated with the Colombo crime family, who have all been implicated in Mafia murders from 1987 to 1992, has shocked New York City.

The murders all took place when DeVecchio was assigned to work with FBI “top echelon" informant and Colombo Family kingpin Greg "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa, in Brooklyn. Sobel and Sinagra are charged with being triggermen in two mob hits, and DeVecchio is charged with acting in concert in four mob-related killings.

This is the most stunning example of official corruption that I have ever seen, said Brooklyn District Attorney Richard Hynes. Four people were murdered with the help of a federal law enforcement agent who was charged with keeping them safe. Lindley DeVecchio deserves the maximum sentence of 25 years to life for each of these killings.

In 2005, the House Judiciary Committee was involved in preparing for hearings to look into allegations against FBI agents involved in organized crime investigations. The pre-hearing investigations uncovered discrepancies regarding DeVecchio and his relationship to Scarpa during 1980s and early 1990s. The case to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office with a recommendation for a full investigation.

Pursuant to its oversight responsibilities the Judiciary Committee will closely monitor the proceedings in this case, and review all the evidence presented concerning FBI misconduct, according to a Congressional spokesperson.

The first murder victim, Mary Bari, 31, was the stunning brunette girlfriend of Colombo consigliore Alphonse Persico, brother of then Colombo Family boss, Carmine Persico. The indictment charges DeVecchio told Scarpa that Bari had been speaking to federal authorities and should be taken care of. On September 25, 1984, she was shot and killed in a Brooklyn social club by Scarpa and other members of the Colombo crime family.

Agent DeVecchio is also charged with urging Scarpa to kill Joseph DeDomenico, a Colombo soldier who was considered a threat, because he had been using drugs, committing crimes without involving Scarpa and talking about becoming a Born-again Christian. DeDomenico, 45, was killed September 17, 1987, by Scarpa and other Colombo associates.

Sobel is charged with firing two blasts from a sawed-off shotgun that killed 17-year-old Dominick Masseria on the steps of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Brooklyn, October 31, 1989. Earlier that Halloween night Masseria had been present at an egg-throwing incident which turned violent, and involved several other youths from the neighborhood. While walking home he was the victim of a drive-by shooting. Present in the car were triggerman Sobel, Joseph Scarpa Greg Scarpa’s teenage son and his friend Patrick Porco.

In May of 1990 Porco was questioned by detectives at the 62nd Precinct stationhouse about Masseria’s murder. DeVecchio contacted Greg Scarpa to tell him that Porco, 18, had been speaking to authorities about Joseph Scarpa’s involvement in the Masseria shooting. Sinagra is charged with carrying out a Scarpa-ordered hit on Porco, to prevent him from speaking about Masseria.

The final murder charged is of a criminal rival of Scarpa’s, Lorenzo Lampasi, during the war within the Colombo crime family. Scarpa informed DeVecchio that he wanted to kill Lampasi, 66, and DeVecchio is charged with providing Scarpa critical information -- obtained during law-enforcement surveillance regarding Lampasi’s address and personal habits. On May 22, 1992, Lampasi was murdered in his driveway at 4 a.m., the time that Lampasi left his home every morning.

DeVecchio, 65, who retired from the FBI in 1996, has always maintained he was clean. A source within the New York City Police Department told this writer that the DeVecchio indictment does not mention his alleged role in one of the most notorious mob murder cases in New York history -- the brutal murder of mobster Nicholas "Nicky Black" Grancio in 1992.

Former hitman Larry Mazza, who later became an FBI informant, had claimed Scarpa successfully called on DeVecchio to pull surveillance off Grancio -- a rival mobster -- so Scarpa's crew could shoot him. However, nothing against DeVecchio could be proved by New York detectives.

Thanks to Jim Kouri, CPP

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Retired F.B.I. Agent Turns Himself In to Brooklyn D.A.

Friends of ours: Gregory Scarpa Sr., Colombo Crime Family, Joseph "Joe Brewster" DeDomenico, Bonanno Crime Family
Friends of mine: Larry Lampesi

A retired F.B.I agent who has been plagued by allegations of close ties to organized crime for more than a decade turned himself in at the Brooklyn district attorney's office last night. The former agent, R. Lindley DeVecchio, who is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges that he helped a gangster kill at least three people, arrived at the office with two lawyers, Mark Bederow and Douglas E. Grover.

An indictment to be unsealed today in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn charges Mr. DeVecchio, 65, with providing the gangster, Gregory Scarpa Sr., with information that led to the killings, according to a law enforcement source.

Starting in 1982, Mr. DeVecchio spent years cultivating a relationship with Mr. Scarpa, a capo in the Colombo crime family who eventually became an informant for the bureau. But according to the indictment, Mr. DeVecchio began providing information to Mr. Scarpa, who in 1984 killed Mary Bari, an informant who had dated a mobster.

Mr. DeVecchio is also accused of providing Mr. Scarpa with information that helped him in the 1987 killing of Joseph DeDomenico, a mobster also known as Joe Brewster, and the 1992 killing of Larry Lampesi, a mob associate.

Mr. Grover last night called the charges "a complete fabrication."

In 1996, a two-year inquiry by the Justice Department and the F.B.I. into Mr. DeVecchio's work included allegations that he helped Mr. Scarpa keep track of rivals but found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. While some of his colleagues told superiors they felt his relationship with Mr. Scarpa had become too intimate, Mr. DeVecchio said in an affidavit that the only things he ever received from Mr. Scarpa were a Cabbage Patch doll, a bottle of wine and a pan of lasagna.

Mr. DeVecchio retired in 1996 after 33 years with the bureau and moved to Sarasota, Fla. Mr. Scarpa died of AIDS in prison in 1994.

Several of Mr. DeVecchio's former colleagues — including assistant F.B.I directors and Joseph D. Pistone, who infiltrated the Bonanno crime family under the name Donnie Brasco — have rallied to his cause.

"We're perplexed at this point in time as to why the district attorney is bringing, from what we know, the same matters that were previously investigated and adjudicated," said Christopher Mattiace, a former F.B.I. supervisory special agent who is part of the group.

Thanks to Jennifer 8. Lee

Monday, March 27, 2006

Retired F.B.I. Agent Is Accused of Helping in Mafia Murders

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Bonanno Crime Family, Gregory Scarpa Sr., Joseph "Joe Brewster" DeDomenico, Nicholas Grancio
Friends of mine: R. Lindley DeVecchio, Larry Lampesi

A grand jury in Brooklyn has accused a retired F.B.I. agent of helping a Mafia killer and bureau informant murder or help murder at least three people, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the indictment confirmed yesterday.

The murder indictment in Supreme Court names R. Lindley DeVecchio, a career investigator and onetime head of the bureau's Colombo and Bonanno families squads. He led a government surveillance team during a bloody mob civil war in the 1980's. That war left at least 10 men dead and 14 wounded.

Mr. DeVecchio, 65, reached yesterday by telephone at his home in Sarasota, Fla., denied any wrongdoing and referred all further questions to his lawyer, Douglas Grover, who said the district attorney's case against his client was "complete nonsense."

"I'm going to bang the table" in court on Monday "and get a copy of the indictment," he said. Mr. Grover, a former federal prosecutor with the Organized Crime Task Force, added: "It's common for an indictment to be filed and sealed and kept secret until prosecutors make a decision as to how they want to deal with the arraignment. But it's uncommon to leak it to the press."

Starting in 1982, Mr. DeVecchio began grooming Gregory Scarpa Sr., a captain and an assassin for the Colombo crime family, as a mole for the F.B.I.

According to the still-sealed indictment, the law enforcement official said, Mr. DeVecchio, while an F.B.I. agent, provided information to Mr. Scarpa, who in 1984 killed Mary Bari, who had dated a mobster and become a bureau informant.

The indictment also charges that Mr. DeVecchio provided information that helped Mr. Scarpa assist in the 1987 killing of Joseph DeDomenico, a mobster also known as Joe Brewster, as well as in the 1992 death of Larry Lampesi, a mob associate.

Mr. DeVecchio had also been investigated in the death of a fourth person, Nicholas Grancio, a Colombo family captain. It is not clear if that case is addressed in the indictment.

In 1992, a hit team organized by Mr. Scarpa pulled alongside Mr. Grancio's car and killed him with a shotgun blast. Investigators wondered whether Mr. DeVecchio had withdrawn F.B.I. agents from the scene, making the murder possible.

In 1993, Mr. Scarpa pleaded guilty to murder and racketeering charges. He died of AIDS a year later in a prison hospital at age 66 after contracting the virus that causes it from a blood transfusion.

The indictment of Mr. DeVecchio was reported yesterday in The New York Daily News and The New York Post. Details of his possible indictment were also reported this month by Jerry Capeci, a longtime reporter on organized crime, on his Web site,

Mr. DeVecchio's lawyer, Mr. Grover, said that Mr. Scarpa was interviewed in prison by the F.B.I. and was asked specifically whether Mr. DeVecchio was his source. "Scarpa said no," Mr. Grover said.

Mr. Grover described Mr. DeVecchio as a friend who had become a client and who had testified or worked in many organized-crime cases while Mr. Grover was a federal prosecutor.

Contrary to some press depictions of his client as a hermit, Mr. Grover said, "Lynn is not a recluse. He lives in a house in Florida. He has a significant other. He is retired from the F.B.I. but still works for a living, and he travels to New York on occasion. And I have seen him socially."

Thanks to Anthony Ramirez

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Romance and Rubout of Mafia Kingpin's Moll Doll

Friends of ours: Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, Colombo Crime Family, Greg Scarpa Sr.

Mary Bari loved living in the "Goodfellas" fast lane of New York's 1970s mob underworld. She loved the diamonds and furs. She loved the weekend trips to Vegas. She loved listening to Frank Sinatra. Most of all, though, she loved Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico - a dashing wiseguy nearly 25 years her senior, who fed the bubbly brunette's fantasies of danger and romance with his white Rolls-Royce and his pistol-packing bodyguard.

It was a love that would lead Bari to the heart of gangland high life - and to her murder at the Wimpy Boy Social Club in Brooklyn on the morning of Sept. 24, 1984, when she was held down by a group of her former boyfriend's pals and three bullets were pumped into her head.

Now authorities are looking into the circumstances behind the sexy mob moll's death, trying to find out if the Brooklyn woman was whacked because a renegade FBI agent ignored his pledge to protect and serve and instead outed her as a mob informant.

The only thing that is known for sure about the case now is that Bari's bloody end started with burning love for a married made man. "In the beginning, he was a real gentleman," said a relative of Bari's. "And she had a real crush on him."

The ebullient, popular teenager first met the handsome Persico on a street corner in 1969, while she was a student at New Utrecht HS. She was just about to turn sweet 16, her family said. He was pushing 40. Persico wasn't just any wiseguy wannabe trying to look tough on the Brooklyn street. He was the real deal, one of the Colombo crime family's best and baddest, brother of the gang's boss. He eventually rose to underboss and, some say, acting boss.

Despite their age difference, she was immediately smitten - and he was more than happy to make her his goumada, or paramour. Once she hooked up with Persico, the other young men in the neighborhood stopped asking her for dates. They all knew better. "Once they started dating, he started showering her with gifts. He took her to Vegas, to Hawaii, to Florida," the relative said. "He gave her a fox fur coat. He gave her diamond rings."

She loved the mob life - parties with crowds that looked like the cast of "The Sopranos," and money flowing as freely as a scene from "Casino." Her now-deceased mother, Louise, tried to warn her that being a Mafia gal pal may have seemed glamorous, but it was also dangerous. "[She said] they're bad people," the family member recalled. "But [Mary] wouldn't listen."

Bari knew that Persico would never leave his wife for her, but she still tried to treat him like a normal boyfriend. She had him meet her family, and even took him to her brother's wedding in 1979. She eventually got a peach tattoo on her butt as a gift to him.

By 1980, however, trouble began Persico jumped $250,000 bail while facing 20 years for extortion. While he was on the lam, he dumped Bari. It didn't go easy. "When they broke up, one of his men came over to her house and took back all of the gifts, the diamonds and jewelry," the relative said.

Without Persico in her life, Bari was stuck for money. She didn't work for more than a year afterward. Eventually, some of her old boyfriend's pals made her an offer she couldn't refuse - a job at the Colombo gang hangout in Bay Ridge.

For her interview, she dressed in her mob-moll best - high heels, snakeskin belt and a tank top. But she went to the Wimpy Boy with some trepidation, after a strange supernatural encounter a few days earlier. "She went to a fortune teller in Staten Island and she wouldn't tell her future," the relative said. "She seemed like she was getting really nervous."

According to a published report last week, Bari was killed by Colombo capo Greg Scarpa Sr. and some of his cohorts as soon as she showed up. They allegedly put a gun to her head while she was held to the floor, and blasted her three times.

At the time, Scarpa reportedly told his gang that he wanted Bari dead because she knew where Persico was hiding. But last week, reported a new development. It said grand jurors in Brooklyn are investigating whether former FBI Agent Lindley DeVecchio told Scarpa that Bari was a federal informant, leading to her death.

The Brooklyn probe is also looking into whether the former G-man leaked other information to the mob, endangering lives. The panel has reportedly heard another allegation that DeVecchio once told Scarpa that his son's 17-year-old friend was an informant, leading to the young man's murder.

He also has been accused of pulling police protection off of a mob target, who was then assassinated, according to sources familiar with the probe.

DeVecchio's lawyers have adamantly denied his guilt, and complained the leaks of so-far-unproven allegations made to the jury are hurting their client's reputation. As yet, he has been charged with nothing, including any role in Bari's death.

Bari's body was found a few days after the slaying, rolled in a blanket and dumped on a Brooklyn street. She was identified only because her sister recognized her peach tattoo.

After the murder, her younger brother became obsessed with finding the real killer. He wound up killing himself with a drug overdose in 1987, unable to deal with the loss. Persico was eventually captured in 1987, hiding in a Connecticut apartment. He died in 1989 of cancer.

Bari's parents never got over her death. And her surviving family members still grieve every day. News that a government agent may have played a role is only making their pain worse. "They should hang him if this is his fault," said one family member.

Thanks to Jennifer Fermino and Todd Venezia

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Former G-Man to be Sued in '92 Mob Hit

Friends of ours: Gregory Scarpa Sr., Colombo Crime Family, Nicholas Grancio

A former FBI agent helped set up the 1992 shotgun murder of a Brooklyn mobster, a federal civil suit to be filed today by the gangster's widow charges, the Daily News has learned. The agent, Lindley DeVecchio, pulled a surveillance team shortly before the rubout of Nicholas Grancio as a favor to Mafia capo Gregory Scarpa Sr. - DeVecchio's secret informant, the suit contends.

News of the lawsuit came as The News reported that a Brooklyn grand jury is probing DeVecchio in the mob slaying and other alleged criminal dealings with Scarpa, an infamous Colombo crime family figure who died behind bars in 1994.

DeVecchio, found yesterday at his Florida home in an exclusive gated community, said, "I have nothing to say, I retired 10 years ago and everything that needed to be said is already on the record." "Anything you want to get, get from my lawyer. There's a lot I would love to say, but I just won't," said the former agent, appearing flustered in a T-shirt and jeans in his doorway.

The slaying of Grancio - a rival of Scarpa - took place at the height of a mob war between factions of the Colombo crime family. At Scarpa's request, DeVecchio called off surveillance by two NYPD detectives on Jan. 7, 1992, so Scarpa, with two associates, could move in for the drive-by shooting, the suit contends.

The lawsuit will be filed in Brooklyn Federal Court by attorney David Schoen on behalf of widow Maria Grancio. Schoen also filed notice that the FBI and the Justice Department will be also be sued.

Meanwhile, a grand jury convened by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes is investigating Grancio's killing and DeVecchio's long, complicated relationship with Scarpa.

One of two NYPD detectives involved in the surveillance, Joseph Simone, now retired, was extensively debriefed yesterday by a prosecutor and investigators from the DA's office, sources said. Simone has previously testified that he got called off the surveillance duty, calling it "very unusual." He and other law enforcement agents also reported his suspicions that DeVecchio was working for Scarpa.

Simone testified that he got the "call off" from DeVecchio's subordinate at the time, FBI agent Christopher Favo, who was acting on DeVecchio's orders. Favo was also named as a defendant in the suit, which sites a "corrupt relationship between an informant [Scarpa] and his FBI handler [DeVecchio] as part of a campaign of corruption and concealment." Favo did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

DeVecchio's attorney, Douglas Grover, has dismissed the DA's investigation as "nonsense," noting DeVecchio has not been prosecuted despite a previous two-year FBI probe into the agent's dealings with Scarpa. But the DA's office has developed new information on the matter and decided to begin the grand jury probe, sources said.

"Since the murder, DeVecchio, Favo and others lied about the matter and have misled on this subject and other incidents of gross misconduct repeatedly," the Grancio suit says. "They have taken other steps to conceal the true factors of the Grancio murder and that campaign of lying and coverup continues today."

Thanks to Jose Martinez and William Sherman with Nancie L. Katz

Friday, January 06, 2006

FBI Agent assists Mobster?

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Nicholas Grancio, Gregory Scarpa Sr.,

The Brooklyn district attorney's office is investigating whether a former F.B.I. agent may have helped a Mafia mole murder a rival in a 1992 gangland killing. Investigators are looking into whether the former agent, R. Lindley DeVecchio, may have helped a Colombo family gangster, who was working secretly as his informer, kill a rival in the mob, according to a law enforcement official who has been briefed on the case.

The investigation concerns the killing of Nicholas Grancio on the streets of southern Brooklyn on Jan. 7, 1992, after a joint F.B.I.- New York Police Department surveillance team was called off of a mission to watch him. The official said investigators were trying to determine whether Mr. DeVecchio, a former organized-crime investigator for the F.B.I., was the one who withdrew the surveillance team and, if so, whether that withdrawal was timed to allow his Mafia informant, Gregory Scarpa Sr., to sweep down on Mr. Grancio with a well-armed hit squad and assassinate him.

When Mr. Grancio was killed - in his car, by a shotgun blast to the head - it was at the height of the Colombo family wars, an internecine squabble in which two factions of the family murderously fought each other for control. According to court documents, Mr. Scarpa was seeking revenge that day against Mr. Grancio: He was under the impression that Mr. Grancio had had a role in an attempt on his own life, the documents show. But the investigation by Brooklyn prosecutors is the first real indication that law enforcement officials are at least concerned that Mr. DeVecchio may have had a role in Mr. Grancio's murder. In the mid-1990's, Mr. DeVecchio was investigated for more than two years in an internal F.B.I. inquiry concerning allegations that he had had an improper relationship with Mr. Scarpa. Mr. DeVecchio was exonerated by the F.B.I. in 1996, and he retired shortly after the investigation ended.

Yesterday, his lawyer, Douglas Grover, said the current inquiry was baseless and "laughable." "He was innocent then," Mr. Grover said, "and he's innocent now."

The law enforcement official said prosecutors from the district attorney's office have already gone to Washington to brief the F.B.I. on their investigation, which adds yet another chapter to a tale long told among mob connoisseurs. Indeed, the tangled bond between Mr. DeVecchio, one of the agency's top mob investigators, and Mr. Scarpa, one of the Mafia's most brutal and ingenious killers, is one of the stranger relationships in Mafia lore.

The two started working together in the early 1980's, court documents show, when Mr. DeVecchio found Mr. Scarpa's name in a file of dormant Mafia informers and reactivated him. The two were close, with Mr. Scarpa giving his handler wine and freshly baked lasagna, the documents show. They spoke often, and Mr. DeVecchio often used the code name "the girlfriend" when calling his source, the documents show.

The relationship was close enough that some of Mr. DeVecchio's fellow agents complained to their superiors, which led to the internal F.B.I. investigation. That inquiry, however, never included allegations that Mr. DeVecchio might have played a role in the Grancio assassination. Mr. Scarpa died of AIDS in 1994.

Thanks to Alan Feuer


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