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Deal with the Devil

The FBI's Secret Thirty-Year Relationship with a Mafia Killer

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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.

"The perfect mix of thorough research and gripping storytelling."—NPRGregory Scarpa Sr. 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 whose nicknames were "Grim Reaper" and "Killing Machine," Scarpa was enlisted by the FBI in the 1960s. His debriefings on Mafia activities went straight to J. Edgar Hoover, revealing 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. But Scarpa's most deadly reign of terror came from 1980 to 1992—while he was a paid informant under Supervisory Special Agent R. Lindley DeVecchio, who ran two organized crime squads in the FBI's New York Office.

In Deal with the Devil, Peter Lance peels back the layers of Scarpa's unholy alliance with the FBI. Through exclusive interviews with Scarpa's son and other wiseguys and more than 1,150 pages of confidential briefing memos, Lance traces links between the Scarpa case, the infamous Mafia Cops case, and more in this page-turning work of investigative journalism that reads like a Scorsese film.

Publishers Weekly Review

May 06, 2013 – When do the crimes of a Mafia informant outweigh the benefits of his cooperation with law enforcement? Lance’s thrilling account of the murderous career of Greg Scarpa Sr. engages with that complex question and makes a convincing case that the cost of utilizing the “Grim Reaper” was far too high. Among the numerous revelations that Lance’s dogged research turns up is that Scarpa actually provided the FBI with its first insider look at the Cosa Nostra, years before Joe Valachi did the same. The mobster’s relationship with the Bureau began in 1960, during the reign of J. Edgar Hoover, and his contributions ranged from outing notorious wiseguys to strategically providing misinformation and helping solve a civil rights murder case that required dubious investigative tactics. But his handlers had to intervene time and again to spare Scarpa from the consequences of his crimes—despite evidence of his role in at least 25 murders, he spent only 30 days in prison. Lance, a five-time Emmy Award–winning ABC News correspondent, also examines the equally dramatic case of one of Scarpa’s FBI handlers, Lin DeVecchio, who was accused of aiding his informant in multiple murders. This scrupulously investigated tale (Lance pored over more than 1,150 pages of previously secret FBI files) will have true crime fans on the edge of their seats. Photos & appendices.
Deal with the Devil
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: True Crime
  • Published: Jul 02, 2013
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 672 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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