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FBI paid $2.1m reward to Bulger informants

By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / September 24, 2011

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The FBI confirmed last night that it has paid out the $2.1 million reward for information that led to the arrest of fugitive gangster James “Whitey’’ Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig.

“As of Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, the FBI has paid this reward money to more than one individual,’’ the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. “To protect the anonymity and privacy of those responsible for providing information which directly led to the arrests of Mr. Bulger and Ms. Greig, the FBI will not comment further regarding this matter.’’

The FBI said it paid $2 million in the arrest of Bulger and $100,000 for Greig.

Law enforcement officials have previously identified one tipster as a woman in Iceland and have not commented on additional informants.

Last week, Keith Messina, 45, of Las Vegas, who was seeking the reward, told the Globe that the FBI notified him that his claim had been denied and that the money had already been paid to someone else. Messina said that he called “America’s Most Wanted’’ in June 2008 to report that he had spotted Bulger, then one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, on the Santa Monica Pier in California.

The FBI statement said final authorization was given Monday to the Boston division of the FBI by the US Department of Justice to pay the reward “to those responsible for providing information which directly led to the arrest of former Top Ten fugitive James ‘Whitey’ Bulger and his companion Catherine Greig.’’

The tip was the result of the FBI’s public service announcement campaign, which was initiated June 20, the bureau said.

Bulger and Greig were arrested June 22 in a Santa Monica apartment.

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at jguilfoil@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globe_guilfoil.