Former Fave FBI Stool Pigeon Indicted

ByABC News
March 30, 2006, 11:58 AM

March 30, 2006 — -- A former FBI agent whose reputation was considered unimpeachable by colleagues was indicted Thursday on four murder charges for allegedly providing inside information to a mob figure, who then ordered the killings.

Lindley DeVecchio had a "corrupt" relationship with Colombo crime family boss Gregory Scarpa Sr. that led him to provide specific, detailed information that led to the murders, according to the indictment unsealed today by New York City's Brooklyn prosecutor, Charles "Joe " Hynes.

DeVecchio at least once suggested Scarpa commit a murder, Hynes said.

"Over the last four months, a special rackets grand jury has heard from over 30 witnesses ... as a result, the grand jury has voted an indictment," he said.

Those witnesses included agents from the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Hynes said the investigation into DeVecchio began as Rep. William Delahunt, R-Mass., was preparing for hearings into allegations against FBI agents involved in organized crime investigations.

"After each of the murders, DeVecchio met with Scarpa," Hynes said.

Hynes said DeVecchio took weekly payments from Scarpa from 1980 to 1982. He said DeVecchio met with Scarpa to discuss information and receive money. Hynes said that the FBI approved a DeVecchio request for payments to Scarpa. But more than $66,000 earmarked for Scarpa never arrived in Scarpa's hands.

For 30 years, DeVecchio was one of the FBI 's most important mob busters.

DeVecchio was Scarpa's handler, and Scarpa was more than an ordinary stool pigeon -- he had also allegedly served as muscle for the FBI when the bureau needed some extra legal assistance in making difficult cases. As a result, he was allegedly accorded special, sometimes questionable, favors, including tips on coming indictments that allowed Scarpa's associates to skip town in advance. But, in aiding his informant to commit murder, prosecutors now allege that DeVecchio went too far in protecting his valuable mob asset. Law enforcement sources say DeVecchio may have also enriched himself in the process.

DeVecchio voluntarily surrendered to authorities yesterday on four counts of second-degree murder contained in the still-sealed indictment that was handed down last week by a Brooklyn grand jury, law enforcement sources and DeVecchio's attorney confirm.

"We've been advised that there is an indictment filed. We have been asked to surrender today," said DeVecchio's attorney, Douglas Grover, a former senior special attorney for the Justice Department's Brooklyn-based Organized Crime Strike Force.

DeVecchio's indictment is the latest chapter in a long, controversial relationship between the FBI and Scarpa that law enforcement sources say dates back to the 1960s and includes the FBI's use of Scarpa to punch, kidnap and pistol-whip suspects. In this relationship, law enforcement sources say, Scarpa served as a well-placed mob stool pigeon who, for decades, provided the FBI with information against his underworld rivals. In turn, the FBI provided Scarpa with information that allowed his mob associates to skip town before they were indicted, according to law enforcement sources and multiple published reports.