James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger, Jr. (born September 3, 1929) is an Irish-American former organized crime boss of the Boston Irish Mob crew known as the Winter Hill Gang. United States federal prosecutors indicted Bulger for 19 murders based on grand jury testimony from Kevin Weeks' former associates. Bulger is the brother of William "Billy" Bulger, former President of the Massachusetts Senate.
According to the FBI, Bulger served as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) beginning in 1975. Bulger denies this. However, as a result, the Bureau largely ignored his organization in exchange for information about the inner workings of the rival of the Winter Hill Gang and the Flanagan Gang, the Italian American Patriarca crime family. Beginning in 1997, the New England media exposed criminal actions by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials tied to Bulger. For the FBI especially, this caused great embarrassment. Bulger fled Boston and went into hiding on December 23, 1994, after being tipped off by his former FBI handler about a pending indictment under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). For 16 years, he remained at large. For 12 of those years, Bulger was on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
On June 22, 2011, Bulger was arrested outside an apartment in Santa Monica, California. Arrested with him was his long-time girlfriend Catherine Greig. Bulger was 81 years old at the time of his arrest. Soon after, Bulger and Greig were extradited to Massachusetts and taken under heavy guard to the waterfront federal courthouse. This necessitated the closing of part of Boston Harbor. Greig pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harboring a fugitive, identity fraud, and conspiracy to commit identity fraud and was sentenced in June 2012 to eight years in prison. Bulger did not seek bail and remained in custody at the Plymouth County House of Correction in Plymouth, Massachusetts. On November 5, 2012, Bulger was taken to a hospital from his Plymouth prison cell after complaining about chest pains.
On June 12, 2013, Bulger went on trial for 32 counts of racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and weapons charges, including complicity in 19 murders. On August 12, 2013, he was found guilty on 31 counts, including both racketeering charges, and was found to have been involved in 11 murders. On November 14, 2013, Bulger was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years for his crimes by U.S. District Judge Denise Casper. Bulger is now inmate number 02182-748 currently incarcerated for life at the United States Penitentiary Coleman II in Sumterville, Florida.
Bulger was also possibly involved in the murder of an unidentified woman—the "Lady of the Dunes"—in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 1974. After one of many facial reconstructions was released, it was reported that he had been seen in the city with a woman who matched her description.
Bulger's assets were auctioned off on June 25, 2016, raising $109,000 for his victims. Among the items on auction were a rat-shaped pencil holder that went for $3,600, a 1992 excise tax bill from the City of Boston ($160), and his lock-picking kit ($125, as part of a lot including 95 mini flashlights, a pocket knife and a leatherman tool).