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Book review on blog critic. Book Review: ‘Rico: How Politicians, Prosecutors And The Mob Destroyed One Of The FBI’s Finest Special Agents’ by Joe Wolfinger and Chris Kerr with Jerry Seper


5.0 out of 5 stars Failure of our Justice System, February 16, 2013

Anthony T. Riggio - "RICO-How Politicians, Prosecutors and the Mob Destroyed One of the Finest Special Agents", was a labor of love by two retired FBI Agents who I have met during my career with the FBI. I met Chris Kerr briefly at FBIHQ and knew Joe Wolfinger from both FBIHQ and the Inspection staff.

Both men with ghost writer Jerry Seper put together a work that almost defies believability. I only met Paul Rico once after he retired but knew of him and respected his reputation as an FBI Agent and as an agent who was a master at developing criminal informants. Paul Rico becomes the victim of a perfect storm of corruption of local and federal prosecutors and the informants he developed.

This work is so full of intrigue that it reads as good as a novel. The Authors may have known Paul Rico but it was very briefly. They took on an investigative task to examine the career of Paul Rico as an FBI Agent and conducted exhaustive investigation into the allegations against Rico and in my humble oppinion proved his innocence and laid naked the curruption of several prosecutors who through unbridled ambitions put together a case of injustice of the highest order causing a very respected FBI Agent, who was in bad health, to be arrested and who died in jail before his innocence could be proven in a court of law.

The Authors put together what the prosecutors should have put together before any arrests were ever made. That this could happen is absolutely a story that defies honesty and goodness one would expect from its law enforcement officials.

If you like intrigue and conspiriatorial dramas this is a book you should read. Am I biased? You bet your life. I salute both Wolfinger and Kerr for their selflessness in writing this book. While it will not reap them great financial rewards, it certainly sets the record straight and proves the innocence of a man accused for no other reason than he was an FBI Agent and brings closure to his close family and friends who already knew he (RICO) was a victim of a system that should never have been allowed to carry out such an injustice.

BTW, I did read this book on my Kindle.


5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for FBI Agents, February 7, 2013

DIASA - This well researched and documented true account detailing the circumstances surrounding the death of a highly decorated and respected retired Special Agent of the FBI should be required reading for any man or woman drawn to a career with the FBI. The noble ideal to serve ones country and rid our society of its most insidious criminals has many inherent risks but Rico was blindsided by the very system he chose honor. He did not fathom the injustice coming and was left hanging in the wind. Rico's story could easily be the story of any good investigator who does their job well and in the process makes enemies not only only of the criminals put behind bars but also of the high priced lawyers who represent them.


5.0 out of 5 stars The story of SA PAUL RICO, February 6, 2013

By J.Black - I am a retired FBI Special Agent, having served as a federal Special Agent or local police officer for 35 years. I was also for a number of years a criminal defence attorney in Massachusetts. I knew many of the folks refered to in this book. I opine that the book is very accutate.

I understand that the authors conducted in excess of 100 interviews over a period of over two years. I commend them for an outstanding job researching, analizing and reporting this sad story!

I highly recomend this book to everyone.


5.0 out of 5 stars sad story, February 3, 2013

George M. Maloney - A good, but disturbing read, of how a good man's life and reputation were destroyed by police and prosecutors who were either overzealous, naive, or unwilling to step back from a preconceived opinion.


5.0 out of 5 stars Where was the press?, January 27, 2013

milo - After reading this book I have to wonder where the "investigative" journalists were while this was going on. I am sure there were a number of them following this case, but how come they didn't come up with any of this information. Or did they just not care, as there were to many juicy stories to go along with the charges against Rico. I hope this book at least gives some comfort to his family and I hope that because of this book this matter is re-opened in hopes of clearing his name. One of Rico's main mistakes was not listening to any attorney and thinking he could testify to a bunch of politicians who were looking for blood. After a lifetime of serving his country in the military and law enforcement, I guess he thought he could tell the truth and be believed. For him that was a fatal mistake.


5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding expose of governmental and media incompetence and indifference, January 25, 2013

By Lane Bonner - The authors are to be commended for their outstanding and factual expose of governmental and media incompetence, and indifference. Special Agent Rico's detractors may have destroyed him physically, but they never broke his spirit. Copies of this book should go for further investigation and accountability to the Administrative Office of the US Courts, Mass. Bar association, Federal Bar Asso., and the US Department of Justice, along with complaints against Federal Judges Mark Wolf and Nancy Gertner for lack of judicial temperament(Wolf in particular), judgment, sagacity (they should have known better) and rectitude, and Boston Assistant US Attorney Fred Wyshak for abuse of office, and the trashing of SA Rico's civil rights. The authors restored some measure of dignity to the Rico family. The authors accurately describe the beginning of the breaking of the mob, circa 1960's.


5.0 out of 5 stars A complex story that gets to the truth!, January 22, 2013

By Thomas Lyons - This is an investigative report. It documents the extremes of people in power both on the left and right. They projected many of their own prejudices, fired by rumors and innuendo, onto an FBI Agent Paul Rico. They followed their trail of lies and twisted the legal systems both Federal and State to their ends. They whipped Rico with their false allegations which he refuted with fact and took the word of gangsters who were multiple murderers that he had been in league with them.

This book proves it could not be so and this man who was once a highly regarded professional law man at 79 years, and seriously ill met his end shackled to a table in a corrections facility and left there until he died.


5.0 out of 5 stars This book is complex, challenging, and highly rewarding., January 11, 2013

Richard from Damascus - This book is complex, challenging, and highly rewarding. It is also anger-inducing, as you read of the self-promoting politicians, inept journalists, emotional judges, and tunnel-vision prosecutors who piled onto a competent and professional FBI agent, basing their beliefs on the word of criminals. I am not in the field of law enforcement, and was surprised by the occasional arcane rivalries between local police and sheriff's departments and federal agents, often to the detriment of honest individuals and society in general. Paul Rico was caught up in this web and became a victim of a system he had worked all of his life to improve. The book requires close attention to one not familiar with the intricacies of case development by the FBI. But the book, although tragic in its topic, is a vast panorama of the war between organized crime and the law, and of one man's victimization by a system gone wrong. It is an educational experience throughout. I've read it once and have started to read it again.


5.0 out of 5 stars Making A Confusing Subject Understandable, January 2, 2013

Thomas J. Baker - Joe Wolfinger and his co-authors did an outstanding job of making a confusing subject as understandable as possible.

It must not have been easy. They should be honored for their dedication to setting the record straight. The organization, flow, and story line of the book were great. The tone of the writing was pitch-perfect. They resisted going for "over-the-top" denunciations, instead using phases like "lost their way" for those who abetted a miscarriage of justice. They did not get distracted by personalities or side issues, resisting petty second guessing, finger pointing, and criticism of minor players.

An outstanding, fair and balanced, presentation of a very difficult subject spanning decades.


3.0 out of 5 stars Good To Great But More Needed, March 10, 2013

llyonnoc hewttam - This is a great book in certain respects. It tells how two skilled FBI agents went about trying to determining whether Paul Rico is corrupt as the media, prosecutors, judges and some investigators have alleged. I like that they said that had they found he had done wrong, they would have walked away from the project. To me, it showed they came into the case with open minds, something few others have done.

I've read a lot about what has happened but I knew little about Paul Rico, other than he was supposed to be corrupt and worked for a supposedly corrupt group World Jai Alai. Retired agents Wolfinger and Kerr gave some background on the man and provided an expertly prepared investigation of World Jai Alai. Much of the slanderings of Rico rely on what that company was all about. Using their experience they are able to ask the right questions to come to the correct conclusions. Using their courage they showed the malice involved by the prosecutors and investigators and the underlying paucity of facts, or plainly wrong facts, the courts used in making judgments about Paul Rico. They weigh gangsters statements against Rico and point out how absurd some of them are.

I read a blog, thetrialofWhiteyBulger and have read a book on the trial of retired FBI agent John Connolly called "Don't Embarrass The Family". They tell a version of the Boston episode from another point of view in contrast to what the media has told. They don't go easy on the FBI but recognize it is a good outfit that makes mistakes, covers them up and by changing a few things could be much better.

I was happy to see some in the FBI starting to wake up and fight back against the media onslaught against the truth in the Boston area. I read an article about this today on that blog today called "Media Lies:Rico - The FBI Fights Back" which brought me over here. It shows a small portion of the media statements about Paul Rico which these authors suggest are lies. We've only heard one side about this issue and as that blog showed today most of it is untrue.

I would recommend the book just to get a view of how good investigators think and analyze matters. The story is also compelling. The arrest of Paul Rico and what happened afterwards to him should have made the blood of every FBI agent in the country boil but somehow no one seemed to care until Wolfinger and Kerr came forward. I'd have thought there were more of courage in the FBI like them who would use their skills to look at the Boston scene and start analyzing it.

So why the three stars. I suggest the authors didn't look at what happened in Boston around the Connolly case and the Bulger case with the same keen eye they looked at other matters. I recognize they can only do so much but they seemed to make some errors in their statements about what happened with Whitey following along what the media has put out which they suggest we should not do when it comes to Rico. The blog tells another story but like these authors it is fighting an up hill battle because too many people think no more than what the media says they should thing.

But more importantly, the blog and book has taught me that no FBI agent can look at the Bureau with an impartial eye and give us a good accounting of what happened behind its walls. It is too much in their nature to protect their own and blame outsiders for the errors. That is an attitude that to me makes the FBI a lesser investigative outfit when with the talent and skill of its members it should be beyond criticism and reproach. Hoover's first commandment, "Don't Embarrass The Family" is still too much part of the culture. It's best to recognize that people make errors and admit them rather than covering up. A buddy-buddy system is conducive to lowering the standards and tolerates piss poor performance.

I learned a lot from the book for which I'm grateful. Even following the book and the blog I realized there was so much I did not know and failed to understand. Mssrs Wolfinger and Kerr again made me recognize that. I hope with their skills they go on and pry into the Boston mess. They have more access to the inner doings of the FBI that anyone else will ever have and if they commit to the real truth, not the FBI version, they'd do a great service. They owe it to all the good Boston agents to start to disclosing what happened here. Once I realized the Boston media had planted false stories my goal has been to try to get as close to the truth as I can. I welcome these authors with their immense talents to the fight so I can keep learning.


5.0 out of 5 stars A Poweful Vindication, December 30, 2012

By James T. Orr (Manchester, Maryland United States) - This was a very thorough and well written book. Although I found myself angry with regard to all of the unscrupulous police, prosecuters, judges and politicians who persecuted Rico due to career ambitions and tunnel vision brought about by hatred and jealousy of the FBI, it was a story that needed to be told. As a 36 year law enforcement veteran, 27 as an FBI Special Agent that included work in organized crime, I am grateful to the authors for writing this book. Nothing can alleviate the suffering and anguish Mr. Rico and his family went through due to an unjust vendetta, but at least this can convey a message that he was an honorable and outstanding public servant who was mistreated by a system led astray. The authors are justifiable proud of the FBI and their fellow agents, as am I, and it is up to us to defend the FBI and our fellow agents when they are unfairly maligned. I applaud the authors for going above and beyond in that effort. Jim Orr


5.0 out of 5 stars A massive injustice perpetuated by a series of biased & incompetent officials,December 29, 2012

By OKGMAN (OK) - Any reader with a sense of fairness and justice will experience a great amount of sadness and fury while discovering the deliberate actions of a great number of participants over many years. The especially egregious actions and comments of the involved investigators, judges and politicians who are willing to spew forth their venom while totally disregarding or ignoring the relevent facts involved. The history of this case is especially disturbing to persons such as me who have devoted their entire careers and lives to seeking protection and justice for the citizenry while serving as police officers, FBI Agents and other dedicated members of the justice system. My heart goes out to the family and close friends of such an honorable personage as exemplified by the late H. Paul Rico. Having worked in the fight against organized crime during my career in law enforcement, it is indeed difficult to comprehend the naivete and/or biases of the judges and prosecutors involved in sad story. To the authors, I salute you for a difficult job researching this story which had to be distributed in order to recognize the diligent and sometimes thankless efforts and accomplishments during his illustrious career. Well done!


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