Federal prosecutors have told the relatives of murder and extortion victims of convicted mobster James "Whitey" Bulger their pursuit of the serial slayer's suspected hidden wealth will not end with his sentencing tomorrow, a lawyer representing several of the families told the Herald.
So far, attorney Michael J. Heineman said, "All they've admitted finding is what was in the apartment" -- $822,000 cash, furniture, art and clothing seized in 2011 from the Santa Monica, Calif., hideout Bulger shared with Catherine Greig. The stash will be put toward satisfying a financial judgment that could reach as high as $25 million based on what the feds estimated the 84-year-old gangster made in his decades of lawbreaking.
Federal spokeswoman Christina Sterling said in a statement: "The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to pursue any avenue to identify and recover other assets of Bulger. Multiple agencies would likely be involved in the search."
The government's word has persuaded many families to drop their requests that U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper appoint a special investigator to delve into Bulger's potential worth.
"The carrot was, 'Oh by the way, there may be more coming. We're going to keep looking, " Heineman said. "The stick was, 'If you're not with us, you're out.' "
Retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Special Agent Pamela Hay, who worked on Bulger's case, would not discuss what steps have been taken to find his assets but told the Herald yesterday, "I wouldn't say things have been completely exhausted because, in a fugitive case, you're working backwards" utilizing whatever information was found in Santa Monica, she said.
Boston forfeiture attorney Geoffrey G. Nathan said prosecutors could even try to persuade Bulger to lead them to the money by offering to reduce Greig's eight-year sentence as "an olive branch." He echoed Hay's point that the starting point had to be the couple's capture.
"It takes a lot of smarts to pull off what he's done," Nathan said. "Undoubtedly, he utilized the resources of the global money-laundering trade. It's a Wall Street unto itself."
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Original headline: Feds to victims' kin: Hunt for mobster's stashed cash not over
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