A retired FBI agent whose reputation was considered unimpeachable by colleagues was indicted Thursday on murder charges for allegedly providing tips to a mob figure who then ordering the killings.
R. Lindley DeVecchio cooperated with Colombo crime family captain Gregory Scarpa Jr. between 1987 and 1992, said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.
Among the alleged victims was the daughter of a former top-ranking Colombo member, authorities said. Others included a suspected mob informant, a mobster targeted during a battle for control of the family, and a Colombo soldier considered a problem after he became a born-again Christian, Hynes said.
DeVecchio, 65, was expected to be arraigned later Thursday at state Supreme Court on four counts of second-degree murder.
His attorney Mark Bederow has said DeVecchio is innocent and would deny any charges “in the strongest way possible.”
Supporters of the now-retired FBI agent said allegations that he traded deadly secrets with the mob are unimaginable.
“We all know Lin, and we all know he’s not capable of doing these kinds of things,” said James Kossler, a former supervisor with the FBI’s New York office. “It’s so sad it could happen to a guy like this.”
DeVecchio, who had recruited Scarpa as an informant, surrendered Wednesday at the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
Authorities say an investigation revisited their relationship and whether the agent provided information that helped the gangster knock off rivals in the 1980s and ’90s.
Close relationship with informant
DeVecchio headed the FBI’s Colombo squad while the crime family was embroiled in a bloody power struggle. After Scarpa became an informant, the men became so close the mobster referred to the agent as his “girlfriend” when speaking in code.
Kossler, former FBI assistant director James Kallstrom, ex-agent Joe Pistone — known for infiltrating the mob as Donnie Brasco — and other supporters from the federal law enforcement community have begun raising money for DeVecchio’s defense on a Web site.
The Web site notes that the agent was cleared in previous investigations, and it attributes the renewed allegations to convicted mob turncoats eager to lie in exchange for leniency.
Federal prosecutors revealed in 1995 that they suspected DeVecchio gave Scarpa the names of other gangsters cooperating with the FBI. He also was accused of tipping off his gangster friend that the Drug Enforcement Administration was planning to arrest his son and that authorities had bugged his social club.
But the Justice Department declined to prosecute DeVecchio after an internal probe, and the agent retired in 1996.
Scarpa died in prison in 1994 after contracting HIV in a blood transfusion from a crime-family associate.