BOSTON - The FBI doubled the bounty on Wednesday for information leading to the arrest of fugitive Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, an inspiration for the Oscar-winning film "The Departed."
The FBI is now offering $2 million in its 13-year hunt for the 78-year-old convicted bank robber and government informant, who was indicted for 19 murders and is known as America's most-wanted fugitive after Osama bin Laden.
"I am confident that he will be captured," Warren Bamford, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston office, told a news conference.
Bulger has eluded authorities since January 1995, when he vanished with his girlfriend and sparked a manhunt with unconfirmed sightings spanning nearly every continent — from Canada to Europe, South America and the beaches of Thailand.The balding Boston Irishman, with ties to corrupt federal agents and a brother who led the Massachusetts Senate for nearly 20 years, was the inspiration for the character Frank Costello played by Jack Nicholson in the film "The Departed."
The FBI says he likely fled the United States before 2001, surviving on millions of dollars stashed away in bank safety deposit boxes with a false passport and an alias.
His last confirmed sighting was in London's Piccadilly Circus in September 2002. The FBI sent agents to Italy last year after a man and woman resembling Bulger and his girlfriend were caught on videotape. They turned out to be Germans.
Bamford said the FBI would also issue a new "Top Ten" wanted poster with new Bulger head shots to its 56 field offices in the United States and 60 offices around the world.
"The Departed," with a plot based on the Hong Kong gangster film "Infernal Affairs," was set in the insular Irish-American South Boston enclave where Bulger lived.