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Whitey Bulger tipster wants share of ‘secret’ $2-million reward

September 16, 2011 |  8:24 am

Whitey Bulger
A Las Vegas man who tried to claim the reward in the arrest of fugitive crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger says the FBI has secretly handed out $2 million to another tipster.

Bulger, 82, and his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 60, were arrested at a Santa Monica apartment in June after authorities followed up on a tip.

Keith Messina, 45, says he tried to collect the reward money because he called the television show "America's Most Wanted" in 2008 and reported seeing Bulger in Santa Monica.

But, he says, the FBI denied his claim and told his lawyer that the money was given to a tipster in Iceland, according to WCVB-TV.

Messina says he was vacationing with family in 2008, just after watching a special "America's Most Wanted" episode on Bulger, when he spotted a shirtless elderly man reading a book at the Santa Monica Pier.

"I noticed him because he looked like the sketch I saw on the show," Messina told WCVB, adding that he heard Bulger yell at a guy in a Boston Celtics shirt, "Where are you from?"

Messina says he never heard anything from the FBI after phoning in the tip.

The FBI has said it would protect the identity of the other tipster.

Messina reportedly plans to file a lawsuit, seeking a share of the reward money.

Authorities found a stash of about 30 firearms and $822,000 in cash hidden in the wall of Bulger's and Greig's apartment during their June 22 arrest.

Bulger was on the FBI's 10-most-wanted list in connection with 19 homicides and other crimes in Boston. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Greig has also pleaded not guilty in the case.


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Photo: A 1953 Boston police booking photo of James "Whitey" Bulger, who was arrested in Santa Monica this summer after being a fugitive for 16 years. Credit: Boston Police Department