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Entries in Mobster (2)

Wednesday
Jun132012

"Goodfellas" Mobster Turned FBI Informant Henry Hill Dead at 69

Rebecca Sapp/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Henry Hill, the famed mobster turned FBI informant whose life story was documented in the book Wiseguy -- upon which Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster epic Goodfellas was based -- has died at the age of 69.

Hill died at a Los Angeles hospital of an undisclosed illness on Tuesday, Nate Caserta, the son of Hill’s fiancé Lisa Schinelli Caserta, confirmed.

“[His] heart just stopped.  He had been sick for a long time,” Nate Caserta told ABC News.

“I will never be the same.  I lost someone I cared about a lot.  Someone who loved my family and helped me a lot with life,” Nate Caserta wrote in a post on Facebook.  “You truly lived a life no one could live.  You touched so many peoples lifes.  Your spirit lives forever with me.”

Nate Caserta told ABC News that his family was talking about Hill’s smoking problem while his health deteriorated.

Hill was famously associated with New York’s Lucchese crime family throughout the 1960s and into the 1980s.  He began his life of crime at the age of 11 while growing up on the working class East New York section of Brooklyn by running errands for Paul Vario, a captain in the Lucchese family.

“It’s an intoxicating lifestyle that sucks you in.  Then you get too scared, and too in love with the money, to leave,” Hill told ABC's Good Morning America in 2004.  “All people do is fear you -- and that’s intoxicating.  It’s a strange lifestyle.”

Hill completed his first major robbery when he and Thomas DeSimone -- who was portrayed in an Oscar-winning performance by Joe Pesci in Goodfellas -- famously robbed Air France of a shipment of $420,000 in April of 1967.
 
In the 1970s, Hill spent six years in prison after he was found guilty of extortion.  While in prison, with the help of his wife Karen, Hill still managed to operate outside the law by smuggling drugs and food.  He was eventually released early in 1978 for being a model prisoner.

Hill became an FBI informant following a 1980 arrest on a narcotics-trafficking charge, and the testimony he delivered led to 50 arrests.

Hill, his wife Karen and their two children entered the witness protection program and changed their names.  They were relocated to several locations in Omaha, Neb., Independence, Ky., and Redmond, Wash.

Hill and his wife were expelled from the program in the early 1990s following several arrests on narcotics-related charges. The couple soon divorced.  Later, he relocated to Malibu and began dating Lisa Caserta, began to sell his own artwork on eBay, and made frequent guest appearances on The Howard Stern Show.

In 2010, Hill was inducted in the Museum of the American Gangster in New York City.

Ray Liota portrayed Hill in Goodfellas, which was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  Crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi published the book Wiseguy in 1986.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun232011

'Whitey' Bulger Arrest: Girlfriend Led Feds to Top Fugitive

A screenshot from the FBI website of the ad seeking information on Catherine Grieg. FBI(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- "Have you seen this woman?" asked the public service announcement -- offering a reward of $100,000--that aired in 14 cities on shows like The View and Ellen earlier this week.

The ads focusing on blue-eyed, bleached blonde Catherine Greig, 60, longtime galpal of Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, paid off in a tip Tuesday night that led to the couple's arrest Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif., Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston office, said at a press conference Thursday.

Greig -- who in the past has been known as Helen Marshall and Carol Shapeton, among other aliases -- was using the name Carol Gasko, he said.

She was arrested in the couple's apartment and now faces charges of harboring a fugitive, which carry a maximum sentence of five years, according to Carmen Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. "Whether or not there are any other offenses or charges we can press will be part of the ongoing investigation," she said.

The FBI had honed in on Greig for more than a year in its relentless pursuit of Bulger -- focusing on her fondness for getting work done and having her teeth cleaned.

Last May, the bureau ran ads asking "Have you treated this woman?" with full-page photos of her in Plastic Surgery News -- mentioning Greig's numerous procedures in the hopes of finding someone who remembered her from a medical office. She'd had breast implants, a nose job and a facelift, the ads said.

Ads also ran in the American Dental Association's newsletter -- because Greig, a dental hygienist, is known to have her teeth cleaned at least once a month.

Greig also loves dogs -- she and Bulger were pictured with their black miniature poodles, Niki and Gigi, before they went on the lam in 1995. She and Bulger then lived in a house in Quincy, Mass., and she also co-owned a house in South Boston with her twin sister, Margaret McCusker.

A South Boston native, Greig married a firefighter, Bobby McGonagle, when she was 20. His family was also involved in the "Irish Mafia," and both of his brothers were killed by Bulger, according to Howie Carr, author of Hitman, a book about Bulger."She was living for 16 years with a guy who killed both her brothers-in-law," Carr told ABC-TV.

She had met Bulger in a barroom and was his mistress for years while he lived with his common-law wife, Teresa Stanley. Stanley originally left town with Bulger in 1995 but then decided to come back home -- at which point Bulger switched to Greig to be his companion for life on the run, according to the Boston Herald.

McCusker, who in 1999 admitted lying to a grand jury about contact with her sister and was sentenced to six months' home confinement, expressed joy that she will see her sister at last.

"I am very emotional about all this but I have to say I am happy my sister is going to coming home," she told ABC. "I talked to her the first couple of years but I haven't talked to her since. It's been a very long time. We are twins, we are close. This is extremely emotional, I didn't know if she was alive or dead, and suddenly it is within my grasp."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio