The Mafia’s Revenge: The Gullible Good Guys

smoking-gunAnyone who has read any of the authors professing to know something about the Whitey case have noticed they write about H. Paul Rico who they call a corrupt former FBI agent who was indicted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the murder of the owner of World Jai Alai, Roger Wheeler.  Rico’s is implicated in his 1981 murder by John Martorano who admitted he went there to murder him at the request of his friend John Callahan.

Paul Rico was a long time FBI agent who spent most of his career in the Boston office, moved to the Miami office in 1970, and retired in 1975. He married a woman he met while young, remained married to her all his life and brought up five children who went on to successful careers.

In the 1960s he brought about the indictment of Raymond L.S. Patriaca, the leader of the New England Mafia and his under boss Genaro Angiulo. He did this by convincing Joseph Barbosa (Joe the Animal) the Mafia’s top hitman to testify against them. Patriarca was convicted, Angiulo acquitted. Some suggest Angiulo was able to reach the jurors.

Rico was one of the first FBI agents to recruit top echelon informants. One of his early recruits was Steven Flemmi who would remain an informant from the mid-1960s until 1991. The gangsters tell many stories about him which to believe you have to be convinced that the FBI agents are no different than the Mafia, just another bunch of gangsters.

Now I happen to believe just about all the FBI agents are on the level trying to do their jobs the best they can. They might resort to an illegal break in or illegal electronic surveillance in an attempt to get evidence against people they believe are committing crimes but they aren’t involved in any criminal activity beyond that.

Yet the stories about Rico by the gangsters tell us otherwise. I can’t escape the feelings that these preposterous stories are the Mafia’s way to get revenge on an FBI agent responsible for putting their top guys in prison.

Here’s my favorite tall tale told by Stevie Flemmi. Rico didn’t like George McLaughlin who was part of the McLaughlin gang that was in a war with the Somerville gang of Buddy McLean and Howie Winter. Rico didn’t like him because on some wire he heard Mclaughlin call J. Edgar Hoover gay and suggested Rico might also be gay. That made Rico want to murder him. He asked Stevie to get him a throw-away gun that couldn’t be traced so that when he and other agents went in to arrest him they would kill him instead and say that George pulled the gun on them. When George was arrested by the FBI no such thing happened.

Stevie asked Rico why he didn’t murder him.  “Rico shook his head sadly and explained that of the five agents, four had been on board with the plan, but they hadn’t been sure about the fifth fed, so they decided not to take the chance.” (HM -95)  To believe Stevie you must believe that four FBI agents agreed to murder George McLaughlin and to cover it up because he called someone gay. I find it preposterous. I have no idea why anyone would believe it.

Here’s another told by John Martorano.  He murdered Roger Wheeler the owner of World Jai Alai (WJA). He said his friend John Callahan was trying to buy it and Wheeler wouldn’t sell. Callahan figures if Wheeler is dead he can buy it from his widow. Paul Rico works for WJA as head of security at the Miami fronton. He has hired a half dozen or more retired agents to work there with him.

After Wheeler’s murder, the investigators start chasing down leads trying to solve the case. The FBI starts to focus on Callahan who had been implicated by another hoodlum, Brian Halloran. Learning that Callahan had told Halloran about his involvement and fearful that Callahan would implicate him Martorano murders Callahan.

Martorano says that sometime after Callahan’s murder, the guy who helped him murder both Wheeler and Callahan, Joe McDonald, asked him what was going on with the sale of the business. Why would that even be a concern when the guy who was going to buy it was dead? Makes no sense but lets go on.

Martorano said he wanted to find out so he called Flemmi and asked him to set up a meeting with Rico. He said he wanted to learn it from the horse’s mouth. He then said Flemmi and he went to the Miami fronton up to the executive dining room and met with Rico.

Imagine that. The fronton is loaded with security cameras and the FBI agents working there are supposed to be on the lookout for wise guys and Martorano, a fugitive from justice, and Flemmi, a top organized crime figure walk into it without a concern. What’s more, the head of security Rico who allegedly knew they had done these murders agrees to meet with them in the dining room. You know, rather than meeting in some dark parking lot or out of the way restaurant, Rico a skilled retired FBI agent apparently has no concern being spotted openly at his place of business, whose owner has been murdered, meeting with two top criminals who committed the murder and could destroy him by offering him up if they got jammed in.

Martorano would say:  “I know he’s got all the FBI agents there, but no one’s making a move to collar me. And then I knew, I mean I really understood for the first time, that all the rumors about Rico were true.” In other words, all those retired agents just like the ones who were planning to kill McLaughin are also corrupt.

How is it we are asked to believe life-long criminals with blood dripping from their hands from their many murders looking for deals telling stories that by all measures are totally false over FBI agents who have led crime-free lives? Yet prosecutors, judges and authors accept their lies as factual truths without a scintilla of corroboration. I remain in awe thinking anyone believed such falsehoods.




  1. Matt, on 9-11 BC has scheduled a Conference in Robsham theater on the Whitey Bulger trial. They show a movie at 4:30 or 6:00 about Whitey, then they have Carney, Kelly etc on a panel. Think you’ll attend?

  2. Matt,
    According to House Report “Everything Secret Degenerates” there was a lot of illegal wiretapping going on in Boston and Providence in the 1960’s. I’m pretty sure this was just evidence gathering, “tickling the wire” so to speak, never intended to be admissible in court, because there is no way it ever could be. This was done at the direct request of Edgar, and I’m sure Rico was right in the middle of it. I believe Rico was corrupt, maybe not guilty of murder, but surely corrupt. Perhaps he deserved Connolly’s fate instead of Connolly. I also believe that Providence and the North End had much further reaching influence in those days, throughout the state political, judicial, and legal system, and didn’t hesitate to bribe, threaten, coerce, or just plain impose their will on almost whoever they wanted.

    • Rather:

      The FBI had a wire in the office of Raymond Patriarca during the times you speak about. Rico had nothing to do with it. It was a wire approved by headquarters as were hundreds of others in the U.S. that were of questionable legality. The FBI knew that the information could not be used in court but it was valuable as intelligence.

      There seems little evidence that Rico was corrupt other than the continuing pounding he has taken from gangsters and the media. Where is it. I’m highly skeptical of the way they bring him into the World Jai Alai murder. What was he to gain from it? What was he risking? He had a pension and a good paying gig with the company. He had a wife of over 50 years and five kids. He’s going to get involved in a murder at that time of his life?

      Leave that out, what says he was corrupt. There’s a story he set a guy up to be murdered by Buddy McLean and afterward let Buddy live in the cellar of his house hiding out. How’s that make sense when he’s got five kids at home? Why’s Buddy hiding out? Who knew he killed the guy?

      Rico was, as I wrote, one of the first agents to recruit top echelon informants – that put him at risk for them turning on him as they did when they got into a jam. That is one of the problems with such a program that the gangster has an ace in the hole if he wants to use it by accusing the FBI handler of wrongdoing.

      As for the Mafia’s reach, it was a lot more back then. Some said that Patriarca had the chief justice of Rhode Island in his back pocket. Boston was another story. A couple of judges were suspected of playing easy on Mafia guys but for the most part the judiciary was clean; as for others in the courthouses I’d say the DAs were clean. There is a story Angiulo used some courthouse people to get to the jurors but who knows if that is true. With the legislature it didn’t add up to much, it was during the height of their power that the legislation passed authorizing wiretaps on them. But overall you are right they had more power but it didn’t do them much good over the long haul.

      • I don’t know about that trial (“Patriarca was convicted, Angiulo acquitted. Some suggest Angiulo was able to reach the jurors.”) but I do know that Jimmy Bulger had access to everything in the courthouse while he worked there. Everything. And I do know Gerry Angiulo’s son Jason often visited Jimmy at work, late at night, as friend’s do..

        • Henry:

          Patriarca was convicted in federal court; Angiulo was acquitted in a different case in state court. Joe the Animal testified in both. Whitey did work as a custodian in the court house for a year or so after he got out of prison. I know someone who worked with him and his access was very limited. Whitey may have been working at the time Gerry went to trial but he was pretty much a nothing in the lte 1960s so I doubt he had anything to do with the acquittal. There were rumors the jury was reached but the foreman said all the jurors did not believe Barboza. I’m not sure how Jason would have become friends with Whitey – I tried to find out how old Jason was but couldn’t. Whitey didn’t hang around with the North End people during the 1960s as far as I know.

          In checking for Jason I came across a case he was involved in the First Circuit. I skimmed it but found the following that I thought was right on point when it comes to the John O’Brien probation officer case:

          “Recognizing that the Due Process Clause supports the “basic principle that a criminal statute must give fair warning of the conduct that it makes a crime,” id. at 350, 84 S.Ct. at 1701, the United States Supreme Court reasoned “[t]here can be no doubt that a deprivation of the right of fair warning can result … from an unforeseeable and retroactive judicial expansion of narrow and precise statutory language.” Id. at 352, 84 S.Ct. at 1702. Moreover, the Court said, “an unforeseeable judicial enlargement of a criminal statute, applied retroactively, operates precisely like an ex post facto law, such as Art. I, Sec. 10, of the Constitution forbids.” Id. at 353, 84 S.Ct. at 1702.”

          • My contact who worked with Whitey in the Old Court House in the 80s says that the clerk’s office safe was often left unlocked. I have no thoughts about that other than from my own experience I know people get careless. Whitey worked nights and his access was not limited. He used to bunk down in a judge’s office (Ruth A.) That was 1986-1987 or so. Ruth was probably too busy defending her rent-controlled Cambridge apartment to notice.

            • Henry:

              My contact says he worked with Whitey for about a year. They cleaned up the 6th floor. They had complete access to the DA’s office. I suppose he could have wandered other places like the clerk’s office but I’m not sure what the Clerk had in his safe – probably some funds he collected but there was never a report of them being missing. Ruth A did not become an SJC judge until 1977 and Whitey had been long gone by that time. She was a superior court judge in 1972, he would also have been gone by that time and those judges didn’t have offices in the Suffolk Court house. But I don’t doubt for one second he didn’t make himself comfortable in some judge’s office after doing some of his assigned work – why work when you can sleep – and you are right that he would have had access to all of the courthouse at night.
              Here’s an article about Ruth A: “A justice on the state’s highest court was booked on a shoplifting charge, but the store decided not to pursue the charge after learning she was a judge, according to police and news reports.
              Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Ruth I. Abrams was accused by Filene’s Basement of taking a wallet Sunday worth $11.” Ruth’s big problem is she looked like a bag lady.

    • Rather Not: 1. We all have beliefs; 2. Please read the book RICO. 3. Based on reading many books and based on a lifetime of relevant experiences, including working with FEDs, I conclude that the FEDs framed both Paul Rico and John Connolly; and they did so to get Billy Bulger; and they framed them based on the lying, perjurious words of the serial killers and serial predators and serial drug pushers John Martorano and Steve Flemmi who together killed about fifty people, some experts estimate, and who had motives to lie, motives provided to them by the FEDs. Please read my books Character Assassin and Character Assassin II, the latter of which should be out soon from XLIBRIS. Thanks!

      • Also remember that it has been proven by noted reporter David Boeri and others that Flemmi’s and Martorano’s stories changed dramatically over the years; it seems they were telling the FEDs whatever the FEDs wanted to hear, howsoever ridiculous and absurd.

  3. Great post . 100% true. Connolly faced the same tactic. Years after he retires serial killers, OC hitmen and career criminals claim he is corrupt. He is never convicted of taking any money or rings, He is found not guilty of murder nine times. None of the claims against him could be corroborated. Evidence is supposed to be reliable. All the evidence against Connolly was stale ( years old) and from incredible sources. Tawana Brawley and Chrystal Magnum were more reliable than the witnesses against Connolly. If he had an honest judge it never would have been admitted. The media relentlessly trafficked in these falsehoods. One of the grossest lies was four innocents were frame by the FBI for the Deegan murder. Tammeleo, Limone and Grieco were made men in the mafia which sanctioned the hit. They didn’t kill because they saw a You Tube video. If you have liars and criminals at the highest levels in government what do you anticipate at the lower ones e.g. Whyshak et al.

    • NC:

      Thanks.What the big crime is that people were faced with things that were inconsistent on their face yet they still bought into both of these versions not appreciating their inconsistency. The award of the huge amount to the Deegan people was a joke. Barboza never put two of them at the scene of the crime but said they gave it the OK. The FBI had intercepts that showed Barboza sought the approval of Patriarca for the hits.

      • This article is wishful thinking there’s so many currupt filthy lawmen it’s not even funny how about carricoppa and the other guy doing hits for Cosa nostra in New York a lot of them wanna be gangsters

      • Is the guy who wrote this article on this planet he needs to go back and do his homework

        • How about the 2 detectives in New York who murdered for the mob like 8 times or how about the agents on the Silk Road case and countless others plenty in Boston to some of these cops want to be gangsters them selves and used mob guys to solve cases like Greg scarpa or lucky Luciano And they also broke all the rules to lock up John gotti

    • NC, as I’ve read you before, I know you know the incredible fairy tales of Steve Flemmi included one where he told the FEDs that John Connolly while working at Boston Edison got Edison to supply Electricity to the Boston Globe at a reduced price and he did this so the Globe would write good things about him. SECOND on the all-time list of lying fantasizes whom the MEDIA and ACADEMIA especially BU loved, was Kevin Weeks who reported to all of us that Whitey had 6 FBI agents with machine guns on his payroll who were ready and willing at anytime to machine gun anyone Whitey wanted them too. Is there a stronger word that UNBELIEVABLE! And the local media, press Gobbled it Up!!! Didn’t someone write that Connolly got C-4 Explosives for the IRA? Wasn’t it a Globe Reporter?

      • How did federal prosecutors and federal judges believe these chronic liars?

        • Didn’t a Boston University woman professor co-write Kevin Weeks book and then invite him to speak to a local congregation and didn’t a big crowd turn out to welcome both and applaud both? Didn’t Howie Carr invite his friend John Martorano on his radio show, repeatedly, and invite him to appear before television cameras with Carr himself. They co-wrote a book which contradicted stories Carr told on his Website. The Media fell all over themselves to publish, broadcast and perpetuate the perjurers’ persistent lies.

  4. Thank you for another fine post, Mr. C.

    Such posts constitute the primary reason I await your next book…patiently, VERY patiently!