Deal with the Devil: The FBI's Secret Thirty-Year Relationship with a Mafia Killer

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Overview

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 ...

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Deal with the Devil: The FBI's Secret Thirty-Year Relationship with a Mafia Killer

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"FORMER FAVE FBI STOOL PIGEON INDICTED. March 30, 2006. A former FBI agent whose reputation was considered unimpeachable by colleagues was indicted Thursday on four murder charges for allegedly providing inside information, who then ordered the kidnappings." The TV news story only reveals the tip of this scandal iceberg. For three decades, FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio had been gaining secret fame within the agency for his seemingly impeccable work as an undercover informant. His adroit use of his high-level contacts had led to more than 70 successful Mafia prosecutions and helped propel a young U.S. attorney named Rudolph Giuliani into the spotlight. After "Mr. Organized Crime" was exposed as an apparent accomplice to homicide, he was indicted. And then the cover-up began….
Nicholas Gage
Deal with the Devil is a blistering account of a cunning and brutal Mafia capo. . . Packed with revelations, it offers the most penetrating look into the inner workings of the Mafia since The Valachi Papers.”
Booklist
“A meticulously researched and frightening account of the long term relationship between the FBI and vicious Mafia thug Gregory Scarpa Sr. . . Stunning revelations.””
NPR
“The perfect mix of thorough research and gripping storytelling.”
Crimespree Magazine
“An impressive piece of work. . . This is a book that has true potential to change history.”
Publishers Weekly
“[A] thrilling account. . . This scrupulously investigated tale. . . will have true crime fans on the edge of their seats
Publishers Weekly
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. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
ABC news correspondent Lance (Triple Cross: How bin Laden's Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets, and the FBI, 2009) delivers an exhaustive examination into the life and crimes of Mafia capo Gregory Scarpa Sr. and his questionable decadeslong relationship with the FBI. The author reveals that Scarpa, a notoriously violent killer, received tens of thousands of dollars from the FBI for feeding them information that would help indict several of his rival gangsters. Yet despite his claims that he had killed more than 50 people, Scarpa never spent more than 30 days in jail. In addition, writes Lance, Scarpa was known to J. Edgar Hoover and was recruited to assist the Feds when their methods failed--most notably, in the "interrogation" of a Mississippi Ku Klux Klan member who was involved in the murder of three civil rights workers in 1964. But Lance is most interested in the relationship that developed between Scarpa and his handler, Agent Lindley DeVecchio. He asserts that over many years, DeVecchio supplied classified information to Scarpa, which in turn led to the deaths of several of Scarpa's adversaries. DeVecchio was eventually indicted on multiple counts of murder, although the case was dropped before the trial concluded. Lance delves into the details of the trial through newly released court records to prove DeVecchio's involvement in Scarpa's nefarious activities. The book is extensively researched, using personal interviews, letters, court documents and declassified FBI files. At more than 600 pages, it could use some editing, however, especially toward the end, when Lance attempts to connect the story of Scarpa and DeVecchio to larger issues of international terrorism. It's often difficult--if not downright overwhelming--to keep track of the many players in this story, but aficionados of Mafia history and those concerned with FBI corruption will find this thorough investigation satisfying.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061455360
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2014
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 237,032
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Lance is the author of three previous works of investigative journalism, 1000 Years for Revenge, Cover Up, and Triple Cross. A former correspondent for ABC News, he covered hundreds of stories worldwide for 20/20, Nightline, and World News Tonight. Among his awards are the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Prize and the Sevellon Brown Award from the Associated Press. He lives in California.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    In Deal with the Devil, Peter Lance reveals the secret thirty-ye

    In Deal with the Devil, Peter Lance reveals the secret thirty-year relationship between the FBI, and Gregory Scarpa, Sr., a Mafia capo, nicknamed “the Killing Machine” who stopped counting after fifty murders. The FBI enlisted Scarpa Sr. as early as 1960 to provide detailed debriefings on Mafia practices, and activities sent straight to J. Edgar Hoover. Thoroughly documented, Peter Lance proves that the FBI’s playbook against “La Cosa Nostra” was designed, and shaped by what Scarpa Sr. fed them. This was long before the celebrated Valachi hearings. Scarpa Sr. was the first Mafioso to reveal ‘the face of the enemy’ and the true source for Mario Puzo’s Godfather trilogy.

    Shocking details demonstrate:
    • Time and time again, the FBI protected Scarpa Sr.
    • The FBI has blood on their hands as Scarpa Sr. carried out more than twenty-six ‘hits’ while acting as a paid informant.
    • The Mafia capo was a bigamist, and adulterer who would watch his mistress have sex with the younger man he ‘adopted’ as his own son, and protégé.
    • Scarpa Sr. punched 666 into his phone to communicate each significant kill.

    Deal with the Devil is deliciously written for a true Mafioso lover. But more importantly, it is a must read for every American citizen who deserves to know the truth.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a remarkable book about an FBI informant. Not your typic

    This is a remarkable book about an FBI informant. Not your typical low life informant, Greg Scarpa is a notable in the Colombo crime family. While an informant, Scarpa was also a drug dealer, bank robber, loan shark, and murderer. It is a fascinating book and highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2013

    There¿s an old adage that all an investigative reporter needs is

    There’s an old adage that all an investigative reporter needs is a good sense of smell.  “Deal with the Devil,” the latest true-crime installment by celebrated author Peter Lance is a good case in point.  The central figure in this book is Greg Scarpa, Sr., a Mafia hitman who stopped counting his murder victims after reaching 50 such homicides in a career of Evil that spanned the 1950s through the 1990s.  Scarpa was devoid of any redeeming quality, engaging in every illegal activity of the American Mafia, including dealing drugs to kids.  Scarpa ordered his son Greg Jr. to hold down a young woman, Mary Bari, whom Scarpa brutally murdered in the belief that she MIGHT “rat” on a fellow member of New York’s Colombo Mafia Family.  He would later order his young son Joey to murder his best friend, in the mistaken belief that that young man had turned “rat” on Joey.  

    Scarpa surpassed Al Capone, Albert Anastasia, “Crazy Joe” Gallo, John Gotti, Sammy Gravano, and even Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso in the quantity and variety of his crimes.  And yet, Scarpa managed most of his adult life to stay out jail. This fact simply does not pass the “smell test," and Lance details the reason behind Scarpa’s success; since the early 1960s, Scarpa secretly - and hypocritically - worked as a “rat,” providing information, much of it false, dubious, or self-serving, to the FBI.  In exchange, Scarpa received protection from prosecution, “blood money,” courtesy of the unsuspecting American taxpayer, and more.  

    On first reading, this reviewer thought the book too long, but on a second reading - which I recommend, it became obvious that this story was too important, to American History as well as the lessons relevant to today, for the investigator to leave any stone upturned in exposing this horrific and shocking scandal.  Nor was the case of Greg Scarpa unique, an abberation.  Lance uses the similar, parallel case of Whitey Bulger in Boston to show that criminals such as these were aided, abetted, and empowered by numerous FBI Agents and Federal Prosecutors, spanning the course of 5 decades, all on the watch of J. Edgar Hoover and those who came after him.  Both the Boston and New York scandals also have in common an honest cop falsely accused of wrongdoing.  In New York, that victim was Detective Joe Simone, whom Lance devotes considerable attention to in regards to how this decorated cop was framed as mole for the Mob.  It was the inter-section between investigations of domestic crime gangs and international terrorism that Lance first explored in his book “1,000 Years for Revenge,” which captured Lance’s attention on criminals such as Yousef.  From there, Lance simply followed the dots in the intelligence failures that led up to 9/11, detailed in his companion best-sellers “Triple-Cross” and “Cover-up: What the Government is Still Hiding About the War on Terror.”  In “Deal with the Devil,” Lance gives credit where it is due to those others who have exposed these related scandals, notably Fredric Dannen of the New Yorker Magazine, Selwyn Raab of the New York Times, Greg B. Smith of the New York Daily News, and Forensic Intelligence Analyst Angela Clemente. Lance also references a quote from an average citizen, a woman who served on a Jury in one of the Colombo Family War trials in Brooklyn Federal Court, prosecutions which were derailed because of the FBI’s improper relationship with a Mafia hitman; “If the FBI’s like this, Society really is in trouble!”

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

    Peter lance has done it again !!!!

    Peter lance has done it again !!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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