Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Whitey Bulger laughs in courtroom during testimony of bookmakers

When it came to business, James “Whitey” Bulger had one basic rule, say two bookmakers who testified at his racketeering trial yesterday: You paid him or you risked getting hurt, or worse.
The bookies described being forced to pay Bulger and his gang monthly “rent” or “tribute” fees if they wanted to stay in business. When they or other bookies attempted to go out on their own, they were threatened, both men testified.
Richard O’Brien recalled being called to a meeting at a Braintree hotel in the 1970s after one of his agents indicated he wanted to go into business for himself.
O’Brien said Bulger told the man he also had another business. When the man asked, “What’s that?” Bulger replied, “Killing [expletive] like you,” O’Brien said.
Bulger chuckled in court after O’Brien told the story.
Bulger, 83, is charged in a 32-count racketeering indictment that accuses him of participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and ’80s. He is also charged with money-laundering and extorting bookmakers, drug dealers and loan sharks.
O’Brien, 84, testified about meeting with gangsters in the 1960s and ’70s, including one meeting with New England Mafia boss Raymond Patriarca.
“It was kind of a short meeting, because it was the day [Teamsters President] Jimmy Hoffa was arrested, and they were all up in arms about that,” O’Brien said.
Another bookie, James Katz, testified that if anyone tried to get out of paying Bulger’s gang, they could “wind up in the hospital.”
Katz said he paid $500 to $1,000 a month to the gang.
He said he initially refused to testify to a grand jury about the gang after he was indicted in the 1990s because he feared for his safety. But he testified after prosecutors offered him a reduced sentence and witness protection.
In cross-examination by Bulger’s lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., Katz acknowledged he made most of his payments to Bulger’s partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. He said he met Bulger only once.
Katz was sentenced to four years in prison for money-laundering, wire fraud and other charges. After agreeing to cooperate, his sentence was reduced to five years’ probation. Prosecutors also vacated a $1 million judgment against Katz.
Bulger was one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994. He was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.



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