U.S. authorities seek 10-year sentence for mob suspect's girlfriend

BOSTON Fri Jun 8, 2012 5:17pm EDT

Catherine Greig, longtime girlfriend of former mob boss and fugitive James ''Whitey'' Bulger, is seen in a booking mug photo released to Reuters August 1, 2011. Greig was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday for conspiracy to harbor and conceal her fugitive boyfriend and former crime boss Bulger, federal prosecutors said. REUTERS/U.S. Marshals Service/U.S. Department of Justice/Handout

Catherine Greig, longtime girlfriend of former mob boss and fugitive James ''Whitey'' Bulger, is seen in a booking mug photo released to Reuters August 1, 2011. Greig was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday for conspiracy to harbor and conceal her fugitive boyfriend and former crime boss Bulger, federal prosecutors said.

Credit: Reuters/U.S. Marshals Service/U.S. Department of Justice/Handout

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Prosecutors are seeking a 10-year federal prison term for the girlfriend who helped reputed Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger evade capture for 16 years.

The request was made in a 36-page court document filed on Friday ahead of Catherine Greig's scheduled sentencing hearing on Tuesday in a Boston federal court.

"This is no garden-variety harboring case," First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Pirozzolo said in the filing.

"It is the most extreme case of harboring this district has seen. For over 16 years, Greig conspired to, and did, protect Bulger - alleged to be one of the most dangerous and violent criminals in the history of this district - from being discovered by law enforcement."

Bulger, 82, has pleaded not guilty to charges linked to 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s, when federal prosecutors say he ran the Winter Hill Gang, a mostly Irish-American criminal organization in Boston. His trial is scheduled to begin November 5.

Greig, 61, pleaded guilty in March to charges that she conspired to harbor Bulger after they slipped out of Massachusetts, as well as to identify fraud and the conspiracy to commit identify fraud.

In addition to spending 10 years in prison, prosecutors asked that Greig pay a $150,000 fine and serve three years of supervised release after her sentence concludes.

"A defendant's offense conduct goes beyond 'mere harboring' when it includes the commission of other crimes," prosecutors said. "Greig committed multiple felonies in addition to the conspiracy to harbor."

Bulger spent years on the FBI's "ten most wanted fugitives" list. He fled Boston in late 1994 after receiving a tip from a corrupt FBI agent that federal charges were pending. Greig joined him a short time later.

Bulger and Greig were arrested in June 2011 in Santa Monica, California after a costly international manhunt. Their apartment hideout a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean had a huge cache of firearms and more than $820,000 hidden in the walls.

Friday's filing showed that when they were captured, the pair had on their bookshelves several books about Bulger's alleged activities, including "Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob," by Kevin Weeks, a close associate.

By harboring Bulger, Greig "denied victims and family members for many years, the opportunity to see Bulger answer for his alleged crime," Pirozzolo wrote. "The sentence ought to take into account the broader effect of Greig's conduct."

Bulger's case was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese's 2006 Academy Award-winning film "The Departed."

(Reporting By Ros Krasny; Editing by Bill Trott)

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