The Great Boston Bamboozlement


sailing ship“Oh, what a tangle web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Sir Walter Scott

This is the story of the Great Boston Bamboozlement. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines bamboozlement as: “the quality or state of being bamboozled.” Bamboozle is defined as: “to conceal one’s true motives from esp. by elaborately feigning good intentions so as to gain an end or achieve an advantage: MISLEAD, HOODWINK.”

It is a story bereft of heroes. It is a story where the hoodwinking was ubiquitous. None were spared. From judges sitting in august chambers of the federal court down through the taxi drivers all were taken in. Boston, Greater Boston, much of Massachusetts, and others from throughout the United States fell for the scam. It even reached across the sea to Ireland and England.

The main culprits were the media and the Mafia. The Mafia as one may expect was motivated by revenge. Surprisingly that also was the motive of some in the media. Although their targets were different, the end goal was the same.

The greatest dupes were those who controlled the strings of the federal government: the judges and the prosecutors. Many in the media were dupes buying into the line that had been established early by those in the media out for revenge and reaffirmed in their position by the subsequent acts of the prosecutors. Some in the media saw what was happening and spoke out bravely against the group think but they were few: Dave Boeri of WBUR being one of the few.

The FBI cannot be ignored. It is hard to say it was duped. It played along with the bamboozling hoping to minimize the embarrassment it had suffered by when its actions faced public scrutiny. Dodging and weaving it tossed the blame on one or two of its agents and pretended what happened in Boston was unique. We don’t know that however. The only FBI office in the nation that has ever been subject to a close scrutiny is that of Boston. We have no way of knowing what type doings are going on underneath the covers of those other offices. It wasn’t that the Boston office acted in a vacuum; agents from elsewhere came and went with the knowledge of what Boston was doing. It seemed to be that what happened in Boston did not stay in Boston; yet we have no way of knowing how widespread in the Bureau similar things have occurred or are occurring. We do know that the J.Edgar Hoover instituted the program that brought about much of the evils still exists.

One hero would have been Judge Mark Wolf. He’s the one with the intrepidness to lift up the cover that protected the Boston FBI office and released the awful genie that brought with it a horrible picture of the FBI’s Top Echelon Informant program but he also succumbed to the Mafia lies leaving him as an honorable man but one who fell a little short.

Back in the late Fifties a Mafia meeting took place at Appalachin, New York. The FBI was unaware of it. It was broken up by the New York State police and a couple of federal revenue agents. After this all doubt was removed about the existence of the Mafia in the United States. The FBI’s Director,J. Edgar Hoover, had denied there was anything like a Mafia in the country but confronted by this evidence even he could no longer hold out. Facing increasing embarrassment, he did a U-turn and declared it to be the FBI’s goal to eliminate the Mafia. But to save face he called it the La Cosa Nostra or LCN, a name used nowhere else but in law enforcement circles. But a rose is a rose by any other name so the FBI went after the Mafia. It took a time to get the assault underway but 30 years after that meeting the Mafia was a shell of its former self. One Mafia leader out of New York City opined that he’d have been better to have his arms cut off rather than having attended the Appalachin gathering.

Like the rest of the Mafia, the New England Mafia at the time Judge Wolf held his hearings in 1997 and 1998 had been fairly well been decimated by the FBI. The first major attack against it was pursuant to the information developed by FBI Special Agent, Paul Rico, who managed to take down its leader, Raymond Patriaca, a man who not only ran the Mafia but had great power in the State of Rhode Island. The second major attack was based in large part by the information provided by FBI Special Agent John Connolly. His final act as an FBI agent before retiring was to secure enough information to have a bug placed into a home and make a recording for the first and only time of a Mafia membership induction ceremony, evidence that for once an all did away with the suggestion that such a thing was a product of the fertile imagination of law enforcement.

Both Connolly and Rico retired with honors from the FBI. The Mafia waited to get its revenge. Rico would die waiting trial on a murder rap in Tulsa, Oklahoma, based on evidence provided by gangsters connected with the Mafia; John Connolly would be sentenced to 40 years in prison based on similar evidence. “Revenge tastes best when served cold” is an old Mafia saying.

The media’s animus needs longer space to explain. Let it suffice to say it was driven by the desire to destroy a man who had treated some parts of it with scorn and seemed to relish in his impregnability. He’d end up being taken down in part by his own hubris, like Achilles not recognizing the opening through which the poisonous arrow could inflict its fatal blow.

This is the story behind the story that most have come to accept as the truth. It shows how given the right wind the sails of deception can carry along many ships, not only of fools, but those trying to do the right thing.


7 thoughts on “The Great Boston Bamboozlement

  1. Well put Matt.
    He WAS an empty suit… and the guest of honor, at a sham neck-tie party ( as he described it. )
    He absolutely exceeded my lowest expectations. He is NO legend,….not even close. Just another over-glorified old punk.

  2. Hello Matt,
    Hope you enjoyed your holidays. I really needed some time to digest this trial, and it’s enormous let-down of not hearing anything from the old white horse’s mouth. The legend was torn down, and his true colors showed through. He had no deal with O’Sullivan. The trial was not a sham. He was, and is, as guilty as sin. The part that really bothered me was the disrespect that he showed the victim’s families. I would be hard-pressed to find a more self-centered, egotistical little baby anywhere in history, crime-related or not.
    Yes, he kept several generations of Southie/Dot kids mesmerized and bamboozled for years, we fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I admit I was one of them.
    In reality, for me, the many books (of which I have read nearly all) and the trial left me with far more questions than answers. One thing the trial did do for me, was to expose Whitey for what he really was, and that reality could never live up to the myths and false reputation that he so carefully cultivated. He was a good criminal, though. If the name of the game was to scheme, maneuver, double-cross, and play all sides against the middle, then he was a master. Perception is everything, and he has always been perceived as much larger than he really was. But the little man behind the curtain has been exposed, and undoubtedly knocked down several pegs from where he was perceived to be. He was nothing more than a thug and predator, who capitalized on his connections to rise to the top of his profession in a little parochial town like Boston. How far would Whitey have gotten without his brother and John Connolly? Probably not too far. He probably would have been killed back in the 70’s.
    There are some unsolved murders that light has been shed on through books and trial. I would like to see those pursued. There are many people out there (besides the families of the 19) that are still suffering as a direct result of his actions.
    And Matt, could you possibly start a blog that addresses the one last big mystery of that era, and that is the Gardner museum robbery? I am sure you would have a decent following on that subject.
    Thanks for being the lens through which I finally altered my view on this P.O.S, I hope he lives to be 150 years old in prison, and is miserable every single minute. Keep writing your silly letters, Whiney…they are only helping to expose you for what you really are.

    1. Rather:

      Good post. It’s rather sad the old white horse seems to have few oats left to sow. It’s amazing how little anyone really cares about him anymore. He was shown to be little more than an empty suit; an old guy who did little of merit and really was a small timer.

      It was all a big farce from a long time ago. The worst part is the idea that the City of Boston was terrorized by him for decades. He was hardly known outside of Southie other than to other wise guys. It’s difficult terrorizing people when most don’t know you exist. Whitey was basically another one of many tough guys. What separated him from the others was he didn’t get boozed up like most of them so he was able to keep his crime spree going longer than the usual guy plus he found a couple of other like minded fellows who liked to wave guns around. .

      I agree it would be hard to find anyone more self-centered. It was all about him. His whining statement that the trial was a sham showed this. I’m surprised you thought he’d show some respect for the families; I certainly didn’t think he would. He’s justified everything he did in his mind – he believes all those murders were necessary for some deranged reason or another and finds offense that people would talk down to him.

      He was made into a larger by life person by people in a small town who pumped him up to make themselves look larger and life and to try to get revenge on others. It was also in the FBI’s interest to make him into this great villain so that it could suggest that only such a person could bring about the downfall of its reputation not some run of the mill hoodlum.

      If you got the FBI backing your ventures you don’t need someone like a brother Billy; although I admit that Billy unknowingly played a big role in Whitey’s career. The FBI is a very political outfit that likes to be in tight with powerful politicians who can get them jobs or even tickets to sporting events. This made them overlook the obvious that Whitey was not deserving of protection. They feared running up against Billy when Billy had no idea what was going on behind its walls.

      A lot of people have suffered because of him. Others involved in the murders with him are still out on the street. Others have been murdered and their murders remain unsolved. He caused a lot of harm as any murderer will do. One would like to think there would be some type of remedy for them from the FBI. It’s the FBI that created the monster of a program called the Top Echelon Informant program that still exists today that allows informants to commit crimes. Crimes usually have persons as their victims who will also suffer yet nothing will be done for them either.

      As for the Gardner Museum – I’ll cover that in this blog if anything new happens– I’ve done it in the past. The FBI has already told us it knows who committed that act – I’ve expressed my doubt. If anything comes up on it I’ll cover it but it seems to me that whoever did were hired professionals – they were probably murdered by whoever hired them – as was the person who hired them – the paintings are in the hands of the person who wanted them – not some run of the mill fence but a well-off person who arranged for the heist in the first place and wiped out his trail.

      It’s coming up on 24 years since it happened. Had it been a Mafia guy, an East Coast hoodlum or any of the other riff-raff criminals a deal would have been made by him to return some of them in return for leniency or some con doing time would have given the FBI info for a way out. Too much time, too little talk, makes it almost the perfect crime.

  3. Matt,

    I have recently posted a letter addressed to US Attorney General Eric Holder on under Announcements. Attached to that letter is a Timeline that is a perfect description of what your above article calls ‘revenge’ motive. The Timeline begins in 1983. I was an NASD Securities Broker who was hired by a potential investor to due diligence on an investment, which turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. The organizers included, from all reports, members of Boston Organized Crime. It was leaked (some reports by the authorities themselves) that it was I who ‘blew the whistle’.

    The Timeline explains how ‘they’ attempted their ‘revenge’. The first plot failed due to the fact that I discovered (just in time) ‘hidden springs’ on the site. The plots then escalated into ‘extremely hostile taking’ efforts to destroy me and to ‘take’ what is now known as the High Birches Springs. The ‘raid’ could not have succeeded without the assistance of corrupted agents of government – Federal – State- Local.

    Although my family is not holding its breath that Justice will be done in our case, we feel it imperative that we share our situation with the public, so that those of you modern day “ZOLAS” can shed some light as to the effects of Government corruption on average citizens rights under the RULE OF LAW.

    Thanks, Matt, for being our “ZOLA”.

      1. Matt,

        Thank you for your concern. I will keep you posted. So far, the OIG of US Dept. Of State wrote that it will take no further action on 8.21.09 referral from US DOJ OIG. I was never informed what if any action it had taken. I have made an appointment in the New Year to talk to US Embassy Consular here in order to establish its jurisdiction now that it’s OIG has relinquished its jurisdiction.

        Clearly, I have been orphaned as I write. To complicate matters since I posted with you, I have been without reliable Internet, and my computer has been hacked. I am another Internet source to check messages. Sure do hope I get some assistance in the New Year…until such time my the blessings of Christmas be on you and yours..Jean

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