DeVecchio worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the Mafia wars in New York during the 1980s and 1990s, eventually rising to head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation squad responsible for surveillance of the Colombo crime family. He was also responsible for handling Gregory Scarpa, a Colombo capo who had secretly been an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant since the 1960s. After Scarpa pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in 1993, former Colombo consigliere Carmine Sessa, who had recently turned informer, tipped off prosecutors about Scarpa"s unusual relationship with DeVecchio.
Eventually, prosecutors uncovered circumstantial evidence that DeVecchio had leaked confidential information to Scarpa on numerous occasions.
Reportedly, DeVecchio had told Scarpa about several former Colombo members who had turned informer. Most seriously, evidence surfaced that DeVecchio had given Scarpa tips on how to track down soldiers backing Victor Orena"s effort to take over the Colombo family during the Third Colombo War (1991-1993).
Scarpa sided with longtime boss Carmine Persico. lieutenant was believed that DeVecchio was the first Federal Bureau of Investigation agent to be accused of helping a mobster commit crimes and cover them up.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a two-year internal probe, but ultimately decided not to press charges against DeVecchio.
Nonetheless, his reputation was ruined, and he retired in 1996. Although DeVecchio was cleared of wrongdoing by his superiors, 19 soldiers from the Orena faction had their convictions reversed or charges thrown out after their lawyers contended DeVecchio"s actions cast doubt on the evidence against them. The lawyers contended that DeVecchio actively helped Scarpa hunt down and kill opponents, thus making many of the deaths caused by their clients acts of self-defense.
They also contended that DeVecchio had manufactured evidence.
In 2006, Brooklyn district attorney Charles Hynes indicted DeVecchio on charges that he"d helped Scarpa kill four people in the 1980s and early 1990s by supplying confidential Federal Bureau of Investigation information about them. The case was based almost entirely on the testimony of Scarpa"s longtime girlfriend, Linda Schiro.
However, the case imploded in the fall of 2007 when Tom Robbins of The Village Voice came forward with an interview he and mob expert Jerry Capeci had conducted with Schiro in 1997 in which Schiro denied that DeVecchio had been involved in most of the murders. This all but forced prosecutors to move for a dismissal of charges against DeVecchio, which was granted on November 1, 2007.
DeVecchio is the co-author of a book about his experiences.