The Scarpa Mob Family, the FBI, and a Story of Betrayal
By Sandra Harmon
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312370244, 288pp.)
Publication Date: April 28, 2009
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Bestselling author Sandra Harmon uses her inside access to the Mob, law enforcement, and jailed Mafioso Gregory Scarpa Jr. to tell an epic true story of crime and betrayal.
The Scarpas were a Mafia dynasty led by Greg Scarpa Sr., so notorious for his addiction to violence and murder that he was nicknamed “The Grim Reaper.” His son, Gregory Jr., a promising young athlete, worshipped his ruthless and manipulative father, and slowly he was drawn into his father’s dark world. What no one but father and son knew was that for thirty years, starting in the 1960s, Scarpa Sr. was an informant, working intimately with FBI handlers. For decades, his connection to the FBI—including the much-publicized agent Lin DeVecchio—protected him, granting him a virtual license to kill. However, when faced with arrest in the late 1980s, Scarpa asked his son to leave his wife and children, and take the fall for his father.
In 1995, after years in prison, Gregory Jr. was transferred to Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and re-indicted on superseding charges. There he was imprisoned alongside Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and made a deal with the government to get information from Yousef in exchange for leniency. A year later, he furnished the feds with detailed intelligence on what would eventually result in the September 11 attacks. But, incredibly, Gregory’s desperate warnings were unheeded, and he was sentenced to forty-years-to-life in isolation at the notorious ADMAX, the most secure federal prison in the country, in Florence, Colorado. There, he would supply the FBI with intelligence on Oklahoma City bomber and fellow prisoner Terry Nichols. Again, his contribution was ignored, and Gregory remains at ADMAX, where he believes he will one day be murdered.
A story that gained national notoriety in 2007 as a result of former FBI agent Lin DeVecchio’s sensational murder trial, at which Sandra Harmon testified, this is an unforgettable tale of violence, wealth, and sex, set in a world where a man’s word is both everything and nothing.
SANDRA HARMON is the author of several bestselling books, including Elvis and Me, coauthored with Priscilla Presley. She lives in New York City.
"A disturbing, jagged true-crime thriller worthy of prime Hammett, Chandler or Puzo." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“It’s hard enough to write without risking your life. Sandra Harmon did both in her tense, penetrating psychological portrait of the wiseguy who went right and paid the price. A true thriller in the tradition of Donnie Brasco and Goodfellas.” —Robert Graysmith, author of Zodiac and Auto Focus
“An absorbing and intriguing look at a Mafia family whose violence and treachery knew no limits.” —Vincent Bugliosi, author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
“Harmon writes well and swiftly about one of this century’s most feared, duplicitous Mafiosos—Greg Scarpa, a war captain in the Colombo crime family, a man who had his eye shot out in a gun battle, a man who was so fond of shooting people that he regularly said, ‘I love the smell of gunpowder,’ a man who played both sides of the fence—dedicated Mafioso, and informer for the FBI. Hell of a read.” —Phil Carlo, author of The Ice Man
“A vivid and accurate account of one of the most notorious and ruthless families in the history of organized crime. Sandra Harmon has captured…the very essence of the Scarpa family in all its savage, corrupt, and murderous glory. A great read!” —Michael Vecchione, chief of the Rackets Division, Kings County District Attorney’s Office
“The implications drawn in this book about the FBI's fitness as a law enforcement agency—as well as its capabilities in protecting our nation from terrorism—are staggering.… A can’t-put-it-down read.” —Michael Levine, former DEA agent, trial consultant, and author of Deep Cover