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Whitey Bulger's girlfriend sentenced to 8 years in prison

June 12, 2012|By Laura J. Nelson
  • Catherine Greig, the girlfriend of James "Whitey" Bulger, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison and fined $150,000.
Catherine Greig, the girlfriend of James "Whitey" Bulger,… (U.S. Marshals Service )

A federal judge sentenced the longtime girlfriend of reputed Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to eight years in prison Tuesday and fined her $150,000 for helping “someone accused of the most serious crimes imaginable.”

Catherine Greig, 61, showed no emotion in the courtroom as U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock told her she had plenty of time during her 16 years in hiding to understand the seriousness of her actions, according to the Associated Press.

“We’re all responsible for what we do,” U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock told Greig, before an audience that included the families of some of Bulger’s alleged victims, the Boston Globe reported. “We all make choices.”

PHOTOS: James 'Whitey' Bulger

Greig, 61, pleaded guilty in March to charges of conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud. She faced a maximum of five years in prison for each charge and a $250,000 fine. She declined to speak in her own defense.

Prosecutors had asked for a decade in prison, while the defense sought a more lenient 27-month sentence.

Bulger, 82, is the former head of the Winter Hill Gang, an Irish American crime ring in Boston, prosecutors said. He pleaded not guilty to charges linked to 19 slayings from the 1970s and 1980s and faces trial in the fall.

Bulger and Greig posed as a married retired couple from Chicago, prosecutors said, and kept a stash of more than $800,000 in cash and 30 weapons behind the wall of their Santa Monica apartment where they had been staying since at least 1996. The couple was captured in Santa Monica last June.

Greig’s actions — paying bills, picking up prescription medication, and targeting people whose identities she and Bulger could later steal – made it possible for Bulger to live in hiding for more than a dozen years, Assistant U.S. Atty. Jack Pirozzolo argued.

“Essentially, the defendant was committing a crime, day after day,” Pirozzolo said in U.S. District Court in Boston, the Globe reported. “This is a woman who … chose to help a man who has been accused of vicious crimes.”

After an FBIagent tipped Bulger off that he was about to be indicted, the mob boss fled Massachusetts with one girlfriend in tow, prosecutors say. A few weeks later he returned to Massachusetts, dropped off his first girlfriend, and picked up Greig, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say Bulger and Greig spent the first year on the run traveling to Chicago, New York and Louisiana before settling in a rent-controlled, two-bedroom apartment a few blocks from the beach.

Her boyfriend had seemed more like Robin Hoodwhen Greig ran away with him in early 1995, defense attorney Kevin Reddington wrote in his sentencing memo. He had been “a hero, a champion of the oppressed.” Her only crime, he said, was falling in love.

 “Why people fall in love has been debated since before Shakespeare’s sonnets,” Reddington wrote. “She at no time believed him to be a murderer.”

The defense sought to minimize Greig’s involvement, saying she didn’t know about the weapons or cash. But Woodlock said Greig did know, and had also lied to authorities about her assets, neglecting to mention a home in Massachusetts and a bank account containing $100,000, the Globe reported.

Woodlock allowed Bulger’s alleged victims to address Greig in the courtroom, including Tim Connors, the 37-year-old son of Edward Connors, who was shot to death in 1975.

"You are as much a criminal as Whitey, and you ought to be handled as such,” Connors said, according to the Globe. “You are a cold-hearted criminal."

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laura.nelson@latimes.com

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