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Reputed mobster's condo is seized

Published Aug. 15, 1998|Updated Sep. 13, 2005

The FBI may not know where reputed New England mobster James "Whitey" Bulger is keeping himself, but agents know he won't be hiding in his Sand Key condominium.

The government owns it now.

Unit 216 in Bayside Gardens II has become the official property of the federal government. Prosecutors took legal steps to seize it, saying Bulger bought the $160,000 condo as part of a money-laundering scheme.

Bulger is something of a mysterious figure in Bayside Gardens. Few of his former neighbors have ever seen him. He hasn't been around for years.

The forfeiture of the condo became final when Bulger didn't respond to legal ads placed in newspapers in Clearwater and Boston or to notices sent to his last known address in South Boston.

A federal judge approved the forfeiture late last month. Sealed court affidavits in the case were opened Thursday.

Sand Key is a pleasant strip of island between Belleair and Clearwater beaches. No one there knew Bulger was a reputed South Boston crime boss and longtime FBI informant.

When Bulger bought the condo in April 1993, neighbors were pleased because its previous owner was years behind on fees.

In January 1995, Bulger fled before he and various Mafia associates were indicted on federal extortion and racketeering charges.

In the civil suit seeking forfeiture of the property, federal prosecutors said the money for the condo came from a joint checking account held by Bulger and his brother, John. But all the money in the account had been deposited by Bulger or by others on his behalf, prosecutors said.

_ Staff writer Mike Brassfield contributed to this report.

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