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Mobster's 5 Condos in Boston on the Block

October 14, 2002|From Associated Press

BOSTON — The government held open houses Sunday at five properties confiscated from a convicted mobster that are going on the auction block.

The condominiums were seized last year after Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi began serving a 10-year sentence for extortion and money laundering. He still faces charges for his alleged role in 12 killings.

The government's auction is scheduled for Friday. Properties seized from Flemmi, which he rented out but did not inhabit, are worth about $2 million, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Real estate agent Kevin Breland toured an apartment in Boston's posh Back Bay neighborhood, eyeing the walls and ceiling, gauging what he might tear down if he snaps up the prime real estate.

But his renovations, he said, would have an unusual purpose -- to convince himself there aren't any hidden bodies.

"The day he walks out of jail, I am out of here. I'll sell it," Breland said.

"I don't want to wake up one day with a horse's head in my bed," he added, referring to a famous scene in "The Godfather."

Flemmi, the notorious henchman of fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger, has pleaded not guilty to charges of involvement in 10 murders in Massachusetts. He also faces capital murder charges in Florida and Oklahoma.

Flemmi and Bulger were FBI informants who helped run South Boston's Winter Hill gang from the 1970s through the mid-1990s.

Their FBI handlers were accused of looking the other way while the two had free rein over Boston's crime underworld. A former FBI agent was sentenced last month to more than 10 years in prison for protecting Bulger and Flemmi.

Most of the visitors at Sunday's open houses, however, were just looking for a good deal, not knowing or giving much thought to the properties' history.

"It doesn't freak me out," said Nicole Procida, a lawyer. "Just as long as no one was murdered here, I'm fine."

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