Those who have come recently to this blog may have heard the name John Naimovich. Who is that you may wonder and how does he fit here? I didn’t intend to talk about him but having Lt. Bobby Long, Col. Tom Foley and Bookie Jimmy Katz as the first three witnesses in the government’s case made me want to tell a quick outline of his story. Some of it plays into the things we are learning at this trial.
It’s really all because of Naimovich this blog exists. Naimovich was a Massachusetts state trooper who was indicted by the federals for a RICO offense in 1988. It was alleged that this trooper of 23 years service almost all of it dealing with investigating organized crime had suddenly late in his career gone over to the dark side. He allegedly took money, two or three hundred dollars, near Christmas on one or two occasions which was passed to him under a table at a restaurant from a bookie Francis McIntyre, a knave – may he be forever dishonored – in exchange for giving him inside information on state police and federal operations.
The transaction was witnessed by no other person. The absurdity of the allegation that Naimovich who could have made tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousand, if he were so inclined to become corrupt would be taking chicken feed money from a low-level bookie apparently didn’t bother the federals. They wanted him no matter how absurd the charge. And remember, at this time no one thought the federals were other than next to the angels.
McIntye’s story is typical of what we saw when Jimmy Katz testified. Jimmy whose profession was a bookie and whose only hobby was gambling was indicted at least a couple of times by me for bookmaking when I caught him on my wiretaps. He ended up paying a fine or doing a short bit of time. Booking was a crime but one which all the parties consented to being involved in. One of the major abettors of the bookmakers were the local media who had pages after pages filled with the line on every game and the over/under and columnists talking about “best bets” and otherwise helping the general public place winning bets. It was never considered a major crime but we went after the bookies because gaming was illegal and we hoped to get information against others who were involved in the violence end of the business.
When the federals got Jimmy, they piled on him money laundering and other charges that sent him to prison for 4 years and they had a forfeiture placed on him of a million dollars. He was then brought back to a grand jury where he refused to rat out anyone and given another 18 months for contempt. As Jimmy said, the 18 months was dead time, he’d have to serve that before he went back to serving his 4 year sentence.
Under the federals Jimmy was facing 5 and a half years and his house in Randolph was going to be seized and his wife and children put out on the street. Jimmy was looking at 5 1/2 years of what he called boredom and seeing his family without a house getting by on welfare and food stamps. This was because he took bets over the telephone from people who wanted to place them with him. He never engaged in any violence, but had, as we learned from his testimony, been told by violent men he could only engage in his business if he paid them tribute.
But there was a way out of this big pickle – all Jimmy had to do was tell Freddy Wyshak what the wanted to hear and if Wyshak thought it amounted to “substantial assistance,” Jimmy could walk out the door, save his family, get a new identity and a little help starting his new life. Wyshak wanted to know the names of those violent men who Jimmy had to pay to engage in his occupation.
Wyhsak under the federal criminal laws had the power to take a bookie and make him into a major felon who would end up facing a heavy bit without parole; he also has the power to take a guy like Kevin Weeks who murdered five people, was a multi-year leg breaker and shylock, and a life-long violent criminal and have him serve less time than Jimmy would have served had he done the full bit.
Anyway it’s a strange system we live under that can do that but that’s the system that McIntyre another bookie found himself caught up in when the federals did a wiretap on him (since when did the federals get interested in wiretapping local bookies) and found him engaged in what a bookie would do which is taking bets. But the federals weren’t after McIntryre, they were after John Naimovich.
But why are they after this trooper with an unblemished record? How it came about will really surprised you.