In Deal with the Devil, five-time Emmy
Award–winning investigative reporter Peter Lance draws on three decades of
once-secret FBI files and exclusive new interviews to disclose the epic saga of
Colombo family capo Gregory Scarpa Sr., who spent more than thirty years as a
paid Top Echelon FBI informant while wreaking havoc as a drug dealer, loan
shark, bank robber, hijacker, high-end securities thief, and killer.
A Mafia capo who “stopped counting” after
fifty murders, earning nicknames including “the Grim Reaper” and “the Killing
Machine,” Greg Scarpa was enlisted by the FBI as early as 1960. His detailed
debriefings on Mafia practices and activities went straight to J. Edgar Hoover
and revealed the structure of Cosa Nostra long before the celebrated Valachi
hearings. In forty-two years of murder and racketeering, Scarpa served only
thirty days in jail, thanks to his secret relationship with the Feds. But
Scarpa’s most deadly reign of terror came in the period from 1980 to 1992, when
more than half his homicides occurred, even as Scarpa was serving as a paid
informant under Supervisory Special Agent R. Lindley DeVecchio, who ran two
organized crime squads in the FBI’s New York Office.
The celebrated case agent on the 1985–1986
Mafia Commission prosecution, DeVecchio had persuaded Scarpa to return to the
fold as an informant, under laws that explicitly forbid organized crime
insiders from committing murder or other crimes while receiving compensation
from the Bureau. And yet, drawing on secret memos that went to every FBI
director from Hoover to Louis Freeh, Lance documents that Scarpa not only
continued his violent rampage during these years, but actually launched a new
war for control of the Colombo crime family, a conflict that left fourteen dead
and dozens injured.
Before he died of AIDS, contracted through a
tainted blood transfusion, Scarpa committed or ordered twenty-six murders, including
the violent rubout of his own brother Sal in 1987 and the drive-by slaying of
his nephew Gus Farace, which triggered a five-hundred-agent manhunt, all while
serving as an informant for Lin DeVecchio. When DeVecchio himself was indicted
on four counts of murder in 2007, Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes called the case “the
most stunning example of official corruption … I have ever seen.” Yet the
murder charges against DeVecchio were dismissed a short time later, even as a
New York State Supreme Court judge described the FBI’s association with Scarpa
as a “deal with the devil.”
After the case’s abrupt dismissal, Lance
started peeling back the layers on what defense attorneys called Scarpa’s “unholy
alliance” with the FBI. Through exclusive interviews with Scarpa’s son Greg Jr.
and former Lucchese boss Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso, among others, as well as more
than a thousand pages of confidential briefing memos, many revealed here for
the first time, Lance traces links between the Scarpa case, the infamous Mafia
Cops case, and more.
Written with the same astounding capacity for
penetrating criminal networks that marked Lance’s previous books, Deal with
the Devil is a page-turning work of investigative journalism that reads
like a Scorsese film. Download and start listening now!