BOSTON — The longtime girlfriend of mobster James "Whitey" Bulger should spend 10 years in prison because she knowingly protected one of the region's most violent criminals for more than 16 years, federal prosecutors said Friday.
In a sentencing memo filed in U.S. District Court, prosecutors say Catherine Greig hid Bulger's identity and handled the daily tasks necessary for them to keep a low-profile in Santa Monica, Calif., where the couple was captured last June while living in a rent-controlled apartment.
Bulger, now 82, is the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang and was also an FBI informant who provided information on the rival New England Mafia. He is charged with participating in 19 murders and is awaiting trial.
Greig, 61, pleaded guilty in March to three charges: conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud. She admitted she used aliases, unlawfully obtained identification documents and repeatedly helped Bulger get prescription medication from a pharmacy by claiming to be his wife.
Although the charges carry a maximum of 15 years in prison, federal prosecutors had warned family members of the people Bulger is accused of murdering that she could get as little as 32 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
In their memo, prosecutors said Greig deserves a much longer prison term and recommended that she be fined $150,000.
"Greig's conduct also did far more than protect Bulger from law enforcement. It also denied victims and family members of victims for many years the opportunity to see Bulger answer for his alleged crimes," prosecutors wrote.
The brother of Debra Davis, a 26-year-old woman who prosecutors say was killed by Bulger in 1981, said he thinks a 10-year sentence for Greig is fair.
"She knew everything that had happened when she got in the car with him. She chose to get in that passenger seat and go. There shouldn't be any leniency," Steve Davis said.
Greig's lawyer, Kevin Reddington, declined to comment on the recommendation from prosecutors and wouldn't reveal what sentence he will recommend.
"I'm going to leave it up to the judge," Reddington said.
In their memo, prosecutors say Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after being warned that he was about to be indicted. They say he left Boston with another girlfriend but returned a couple of months later, dropped that girlfriend off and picked up Greig.
Greig and Bulger traveled to Chicago, New York City and Grand Isle, La., during the first year they were on the run, posing as a married couple and using aliases. They arrived in Santa Monica in 1996, rented a two-bedroom apartment and pretended to be a married couple from Chicago, according to prosecutors.
While in Santa Monica, Greig paid the bills and the rent, usually in postal money orders or cash, and did all of the couple's shopping while Bulger remained indoors most of the time, prosecutors said. She also helped him get medical and dental care and stayed by his side during several procedures.
Greig "was the key actor in the conspiracy to protect Bulger from being discovered," prosecutors say in their sentencing memo.
The couple was caught just days after the FBI began running a new public service announcement focusing on Greig, a carefully groomed woman who was known to frequent beauty salons and dental offices.
Bulger had seen the announcement and told Greig, "`This is it,'" prosecutors said.
Two days later, the couple was caught after a tipster reported meeting them in Santa Monica.