Bookie describes being forced to pay Bulger gang

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — A bookmaker is testifying that he and other bookies were forced to pay James "Whitey" Bulger and his gang to stay in business and if they didn't, they were told they could "wind up in the hospital."

James Katz told jurors Friday at Bulger's trial that he took illegal bets on sporting events from 1971 to 1993. The 83-year-old Bulger is charged in a broad racketeering indictment with participating in 19 murders and committing other crimes.

Katz says he had to turn over customer fees on bets and an additional monthly fee to Bulger's gang.

Katz himself was indicted in the 1990s and says he initially refused to testify to a grand jury about the gang because he feared for his safety. He eventually testified after prosecutors offered him a reduced sentence and protection.

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