Mass. mobster Bulger’s longtime lover gets 8 years
BOSTON (AP) — The longtime girlfriend of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison for helping one of the FBI’s most-wanted men stay on the run for 16 years.
Catherine Greig showed no emotion when U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock handed down the sentence. The 61-year-old Greig had pleaded guilty in March to charges of conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud.
The judge admonished Greig for her unfailing loyalty to Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang who is awaiting trial on charges he participated in 19 murders.
“We are all responsible for what we do. We all make choices,” Woodlock said. “There is a price to be paid.”
Greig, who was also fined $150,000, nodded to her twin sister in the front row as she was led from the courtroom.
Prosecutors say Greig and Bulger posed as married retirees from Chicago and had a stash of more than $800,000 in cash and 30 weapons in their apartment when they were captured last June in Santa Monica, Calif.
Her lawyer, Kevin Reddington, had appealed for leniency for his client, asking the judge to give her 27 months in prison. He said she fell in love with a “Robin Hood” like figure, never believing in the years she helped hide one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted fugitives that her outlaw boyfriend was a murderer.
“Why people fall in love has been debated since before Shakespeare’s sonnets,” attorney Kevin Reddington wrote to the judge on Monday. “Many times people fall in love and their family or loved ones do not approve or condone the relationship. The truth of the matter is that she was and remained in love with Mr. Bulger.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Pirozzolo referenced the sonnets on Tuesday as he told the judge Greig deserved a decade in prison because of the many years she helped Bulger evade capture and for the number of things she did for him, including taking him to medical appointments, posing as his wife to get his prescriptions and using false identities.
“This isn’t poetry. This is a woman who by choice — whether love or not — who chose to help a man who has been accused of vicious crimes,” Pirozzolo said.
Greig, a former dental hygienist and dog groomer, faced a maximum of 15 years — five years on each of the three charges.
She had been with Bulger for more than three decades, first as a secret girlfriend he kept on the side while he lived with another woman, then as the faithful woman who left behind her life in Massachusetts so she could go on the run with him.
Greig’s plea deal with prosecutors doesn’t require her to cooperate in the case against Bulger. But prosecutors said it doesn’t preclude them from trying to compel her to testify against him.
In her plea agreement, Greig admitted that she used aliases, unlawfully obtained identification documents and repeatedly helped Bulger get prescription medication from a pharmacy by pretending to be his wife.
Authorities have said that Bulger initially fled Boston with girlfriend Teresa Stanley in 1994 after being tipped that he was about to be indicted. The tip came from former FBI agent John Connolly Jr., who was Bulger’s FBI handler when Bulger was an informant who gave the FBI information about the rival New England Mafia. Connolly was later convicted of racketeering for his role in Bulger’s disappearance.
After a few months on the run, Bulger returned to Boston, dropped off Stanley and picked up Greig, who had been his side girlfriend for 18 years while he lived with Stanley.
Greig and Bulger traveled extensively during their first year on the run — to Chicago, New York City, Grand Isle, La., and other places — but then settled in a two-bedroom rented apartment in Santa Monica.
Last June, Bulger and Greig were apprehended just days after the FBI began a new publicity campaign focusing on Greig.
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