FBI gets rash of calls about Bulger, Greig

Tax bills for Greig’s house are sent to her sister Margaret McCusker. Tax bills for Greig’s house are sent to her sister Margaret McCusker. (Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe)
By Ben Wolford
Globe Correspondent / June 22, 2011

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A new ad campaign aimed at finding people who might have spotted the girlfriend of fugitive Boston gangster James “Whitey’’ Bulger has “exceeded our expectations,’’ an FBI spokesman said yesterday, though he did not report any breakthroughs.

The FBI unveiled the new campaign, which includes billboards and 30-second daytime television spots in 14 cities, on Monday, kicking off a new tack in the 16-year hunt for Bulger.

The campaign focuses on Bulger’s girlfriend, Catherine Greig, who went on the lam with him. The spots are targeted at the peers of Greig, 60, who officials say is more social, was known to get monthly teeth cleanings, and frequented beauty salons.

“We’ve been effective and efficient in reaching the geographic areas that we intended to,’’ said FBI Special Agent Gregory Comcowich. “The number of tips has exceeded our expectations.’’

Comcowich said the FBI had received hundreds of tips in past campaigns, but he declined to say how many had been received this time or whether any of them have been useful.

Bulger, 81, is one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted criminals. After he fled in 1995, he was charged with the killing of 19 people. It was also disclosed that he had been an FBI informant who got away with crimes under the protection of corrupt agents.

While Greig, who is wanted for harboring a fugitive, is believed to be on the run with Bulger, she still holds the title to a house at 16 Hillcrest Road in Quincy, and its tax payments are up to date, city records show.

“We’ve always been aware that she still holds the title for the property,’’ Comcowich said, declining to go into further details about the investigation.

Greig bought the house in 1986 for $160,000, according to Norfolk County Land Court records.

“She paid cash for the property,’’ said City Solicitor James Timmins.

Currently, the city bills the property taxes to Catherine Gaeig (misspelled from a typo, Timmins said) at an address in South Boston. Still unclear is who has been paying those bills, which were $4,645 in 2011.

Timmins said the tax collector’s office could not find any record of who was providing the payments, only that payments are being made.

A woman who came to the door at the South Boston address yesterday refused to comment, but the names McCusker and Greig were written on the mailbox. Margaret McCusker, Greig’s twin, has been listed in public records at that address.

McCusker admitted in 1999 that she lied to a federal grand jury about how many times she had spoken to Greig on the phone and was sentenced to serve two years’ probation and pay a $2,000 fine.

The FBI is offering $2 million for information that leads to Bulger’s capture and has increased the reward for Greig from $50,000 to $100,000.

Ben Wolford can be reached at