Showing posts with label Nicholas Grancio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nicholas Grancio. Show all posts

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Collapse of a Mob Murder Case Against a Retired FBI Agent

In a conference room on the 17th floor of the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, in the winter of 2005, a prosecutor and a detective investigator sat down with a woman they did not trust.

The woman’s name was Linda Schiro, she had been a gangster’s mistress, and she told them a story worthy of the big screen: Right at her kitchen table in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, an F.B.I. supervisor and a notorious Mafia assassin had conspired to commit four long-unsolved murders.

The case was a tempting career-maker, but one with warning signs. Ms. Schiro had already told federal investigators and others of her Mafia life, playing down the role of the F.B.I. supervisor, Roy Lindley DeVecchio.

“We knew what her problems were, and it was important for us to corroborate everything she gave us,” said Michael F. Vecchione, the prosecutor, who is chief of the district attorney’s Rackets Division and keeps an office six steps from the conference room. “And we believed we had.”

But after all the efforts to verify her story, Ms. Schiro’s own words, preserved on 10-year-old cassette recordings, came back to confirm that she could not be trusted.

As the sensational quadruple-murder case based on her testimony was formally dismissed yesterday, the judge denounced the tactics used by the F.B.I. to fight organized crime, Mr. DeVecchio said he would never forgive the Brooklyn prosecutors, and Mr. Vecchione defended his case.

The woman at the center of it all, Ms. Schiro, prepared for possible perjury charges, hiding from the press behind closed doors. “She’s standing by what she said in court 100 percent,” said her appointed lawyer, Gary Farrell. “I understand the inconsistencies, they’re there, and she’s got a plausible explanation.”

Ms. Schiro’s explanation may emerge if prosecutors carry out their pledge to request a special prosecutor for a perjury inquiry. But as the murder case against Mr. DeVecchio dissolved yesterday, the decision to use her testimony came under intense scrutiny.

“The D.A. here did not take the simplest steps to verify what this mercenary and absolutely amoral human being was telling them,” said Douglas E. Grover, a lawyer for Mr. DeVecchio. He called the case “a model of what a responsible prosecutor should not do.”

The charges against Mr. DeVecchio dated to the 1980s and early 1990s, when he oversaw an F.B.I. unit assigned to the Colombo crime family. His primary informer was Gregory Scarpa, a capo. During a war for control of the family, agents working for Mr. DeVecchio voiced suspicions of his relationship with Mr. Scarpa. In trials that followed, prosecutors acknowledged that Mr. DeVecchio had disclosed confidential information to Mr. Scarpa.

In 1994, federal investigators pursuing an internal investigation interviewed Ms. Schiro, who had lived for years with Mr. Scarpa, who died in prison in 1994. Mr. DeVecchio was cleared of wrongdoing and allowed to retire.

Later, Ms. Schiro spoke to authors ranging from a hard-boiled crime writer to a purveyor of romantic advice, generally characterizing Mr. DeVecchio as a friendly, tangential figure in her Mafia tableau.

Dormant for years, the case was passed on to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office by Representative William Delahunt, Democrat of Massachusetts, after a Congressional investigation stalled.

Investigators first focused on the killing of Nicholas Grancio, a capo in the Colombo family. “We were able to dispel the notion that DeVecchio played a role in that homicide,” said Mr. Vecchione, who oversaw the investigation and tried the case. “There were other nuggets out there that needed pursuing.”

Prosecutors visited Ms. Schiro at her home in Staten Island. “The moment that the case first broke open was when Linda gave us these four homicides in toto,” Mr. Vecchione said.

Seeking confirmation, investigators spoke to imprisoned members of the crime family. One, Carmine Sessa, a onetime consigliere, told them Mr. Scarpa had spoken freely about his crimes in front of his mistress.

The prosecutors also spoke to the agents who had raised suspicions about their boss. Special Agent Chris Favo confirmed details of surveillance conducted on one of the slain men, information the prosecutors would accuse Mr. DeVecchio of giving Mr. Scarpa.

When they brought Ms. Schiro to that conference room in the winter of 2005, prosecutors began preparing her for a grand jury, Mr. Vecchione said. They moved her family for protection and began paying her $2,200 a month for living expenses. But in relying on their corroborating witnesses, the prosecutors did little to scrutinize Ms. Schiro’s prior statements.

“The fact is they never told the grand jury that Linda Schiro had made numerous statements for years inconsistent with her recent claims about Mr. DeVecchio’s guilt,” said Mr. Grover, the defense lawyer.

As opening statements were delivered on Oct. 15, the gears that would doom the case locked into place. Because Mr. DeVecchio had waived his right to a jury trial, the legal concept of jeopardy attached, meaning he could not be retried for the four killings in which he was indicted, a court official said. And in the gallery that day sat Tom Robbins, a reporter who would return to court with tape-recorded interviews of Ms. Schiro.

The prosecutor’s emphasis on Ms. Schiro’s testimony, Mr. Robbins has said, led him to revisit the tapes, confirming that she had denied any involvement by Mr. DeVecchio in the killings.

In State Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Gustin L. Reichbach dismissed the charges and ordered the return of Mr. DeVecchio’s $1 million bail, which had been raised in part by his former colleagues in the F.B.I.

A round of applause rose from the gallery. Outside the courtroom, Mr. DeVecchio’s supporters criticized the prosecution. “These people are incompetent,” said Jim Kossler, a retired F.B.I. agent.

Recounting the bureau’s accomplishments against organized crime and the quandaries of handling informants, he added, “They could have indicted me just as easily.”

Mr. DeVecchio, 67, spoke of returning home to Florida to ride his Harley and enjoy retirement. “I will never forgive the Brooklyn D.A. for irresponsibly pursuing this case after being warned by others that this one witness was untrustworthy,” he said.

In his written final word on the case, Justice Reichbach criticized the tactics of the F.B.I. Quoting from Nietzsche, he reminded those involved in the case that “he who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.”

Thanks to Michael Brick

1-800-PetMeds

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

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, GangLandNews.com.

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

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

Cops and Mobsters

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Nicholas Grancio, Bonanno Crime Family, Lawrence Mazza, Carmine Persico

There were two surveillance teams on the streets of southern Brooklyn that day in January, 1992. One was the law: a task force of federal agents and police detectives. The other was the mob: a crew of gangsters who had disguised their sedan with a fake police light and a cardboard cup of coffee on the dashboard.

Although they came from opposing sides, their target was the same: a Colombo family captain by the name of Nicholas Grancio. The agents and detectives wanted to tail their mark at the height of a bloody Mafia civil war. The gangsters, with revenge in mind, had a darker purpose: They wanted him dead. Soon after the detectives left that day, the gangsters arrived, and got their wish.

What eventually happened that day, near Avenue U and McDonald Avenue, is now the subject of a new investigation by the Brooklyn district attorney's office, according to law enforcement officials who have been briefed on the case. Fourteen years after Mr. Grancio was murdered, investigators are trying to determine if a former F.B.I. agent, who supervised the government surveillance team, may have had a hand in his death.

The investigation has focused on that agent, R. Lindley DeVecchio, a career investigator and onetime head of the F.B.I.'s Colombo and Bonanno families squads. Mr. DeVecchio, who is now retired, had developed a remarkable mole within the Mafia, a grim Colombo family killer named Gregory Scarpa Sr. They became close, so close that Mr. DeVecchio would chat with Mr. Scarpa at his kitchen table while two of his F.B.I. colleagues waited in the living room. And close enough for other agents to whisper to their bosses that Mr. DeVecchio had crossed a line.

It was Mr. Scarpa's hit team that pulled alongside Mr. Grancio's car on Jan. 7, 1992, and dispatched him with a shotgun blast to the head. What investigators now want to know is if Mr. DeVecchio had ordered a withdrawal of his own surveillance team and, in so doing, cleared the way for Mr. Scarpa and his crew to swoop down on Mr. Grancio .

Word of the investigation has reached F.B.I. headquarters in Washington, where top-ranking federal officials have been briefed about the case. An F.B.I. spokesman, John Miller, said yesterday that he could not comment. Mr. DeVecchio's lawyer, Douglas Grover, has dismissed the current inquiry as baseless, insisting his client has done nothing wrong.

What breathed new life into a 14-year-old murder case remains unclear, though one law enforcement official said the district attorney's office recently received a tip from an informant. Among the people expected to be interviewed are two former police detectives who were on the surveillance team and who recall being pulled back by the F.B.I. to the agency's New York headquarters from the streets of Gravesend, Brooklyn, only hours before Mr. Grancio was killed.
Already, investigators have made arrangements to speak to a former mobster who was part of the hit team and now lives in Florida. The man, Lawrence Mazza, said in an interview that he remembers being surprised a decade ago when federal agents who arrested him kept asking him if he knew that the surveillance team had, in fact, been sent away before the hit team struck.

On the other hand, an F.B.I. agent who worked for Mr. DeVecchio and directed the surveillance team has filed an affidavit suggesting that Mr. Grancio was killed at a time when the authorities typically did not have him under surveillance. Remarkably, this agent was one of the first to raise his voice against Mr. DeVecchio, sparking an internal Justice Department investigation that examined charges against Mr. DeVecchio that his relationship with Mr. Scarpa had been untoward.

The Justice Department's two-year inquiry heard a host of complaints by colleagues - including charges that Mr. DeVecchio had leaked information to Mr. Scarpa and had helped him track rivals, which Mr. DeVecchio denied. And in September 1996, the government declined to bring charges. The tangled tale of Lin DeVecchio, the diamond-cuff-linked agent, and Gregory Scarpa, the gangster who died of AIDS in 1994, has long stood as one of the odder stories from the underworld. The current chapter homes in on a few short months in 1991 and 1992, after the boss of the Colombo family, Carmine Persico, was sent to prison and its opposing factions went to war.

Mr. Scarpa was a leader of the loyalist brigade and feared for his life. He suspected Mr. Grancio of having tried to kill him and, according to court documents, set about to seek revenge. The task force run by Mr. DeVecchio was charged with ending the gruesome violence that the war had wrought. To that end, two detectives, Joe Simone and Patrick Maggiore, were sent to watch Mr. Grancio on Jan. 7, 1992, from a post called Plant 26, near Avenue U and McDonald Avenue.

"It was a routine day," said Mr. Simone, who is retired and lives with his family on Staten Island. Then, he said, a call came in with orders to return to 26 Federal Plaza, the local F.B.I. headquarters, for a meeting. "It was kind of unusual," he said, to be pulled off in the middle of a tail. "Very unusual." According to Mr. Simone's duty log, he was at Plant 26 from 12:40 to 1:30 p.m. The next entry reads: "1330-1440 ERT 26 Fed Pl w/Maggiore," which meant that, with his partner, Mr. Simone was en route to the F.B.I. office from 1:30 to 2:40 p.m.

Around 4 p.m. that day, shocking news buzzed through the office: Nicky Grancio had just been killed. "We were called and we went back," Mr. Maggiore, also retired, said in a separate interview. "Then he gets whacked when we're supposed to be on him. We looked at each other and couldn't believe it."

The man who pulled the trigger that day was a fit young up-and-comer in the Colombo family named Larry Mazza. Over surf-and-turf at a Florida steakhouse, Mr. Mazza, having served his term in prison, recalled how he, Mr. Scarpa and a third man spotted Mr. Grancio, followed him through Lady Moody Square - close to where the detectives had been parked - and pulled up beside his car. Mr. Mazza leaned his torso out the back window, put a shotgun near his victim's head and fired, he said.

Mr. Scarpa admitted his role in the killing. And when Mr. Mazza was later arrested, he agreed to cooperate with the F.B.I. He said he remembered thinking it was odd that the agents who debriefed him kept asking him if the gunmen knew that the government surveillance team had been pulled back. A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, declined to comment.

Mr. Grover said that his client, Mr. DeVecchio, has been through this before - the long grind of an investigation. Indeed, during the F.B.I.'s internal inquiry, Mr. DeVecchio submitted an affidavit in which he presented his relationship with Mr. Scarpa as an appropriate law enforcement tool. The only thing he ever received from Mr. Scarpa, he said, was a Cabbage Patch doll, a bottle of wine and a pan of lasagna.

Mr. DeVecchio later told investigators he gave the doll away to a friend's niece. "I gave the bottle of wine to someone whom I don't recall," he said, "and I consumed the tray of lasagna."

Thanks to Alan Feuer

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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