This historical article by John Good about “ABSCAM” was recently published in the January/February 2015 issue of “The Grapevine,” a publication of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI.
…One of the FBI’s most famous political corruption cases did have was some of the finest undercover and investigative agents I have ever been privileged to serve with. . . .
. . . Like many FBI cases, this one began with an informant.His name was Mel Weinberg. I didn’t know him, but I had heard about him over the years. Mel had a history. First,he was a thief. Second, years earlier, he cooperated and furnished good information to NYO agents after his arrest. Now he was facing an indictment in Pittsburgh. The book on him included cockiness, unreliability and bossiness — but he was good. Best of all — he lived on Long Island in Suffolk County. Perfect!
There was no surprise that when Jack McCarthy contacted Mel, he quickly agreed to work with us. Mel soon passed Jack’s tests leading NYO and Pittsburgh agents to a number of arrests and major recoveries.
With our informant in place, we submitted our brainchild to Foley: Abdul Enterprises – a fuzzy company fronting for a mysterious Arab sheik who was eager to invest some of his oil fortune in new American business ventures. The plan eventually landed on the desk of Dick Schwine, an interstate theft supervisor at FBI headquarters and an old friend who had previously supervised the Truck Squad in Philadelphia. Wasting no time, Dick quickly moved the paper through the bureaucracy assuring that all the necessary signatures were in place.
Soon Abdul Enterprises, our new start-up, was open for business with office space in Islip, just a short distance from both the RA and the Long Island’s MacArthur Airport — a wise decision that soon produced important results. Further realism was added to the office with the ominous presence of our “enforcer,” Ernie Haradoupolis; the shady accountant, Bruce Brady and last, but not least, Steve Bursey, the sheik’s faithful chauffeur. Our initial budget was $30,000 — in the end it exceeded 2.2 million dollars.
Mel quickly hit the streets hawking the sparkling possibilities of Abdul Enterprises to anyone who would listen. It didn’t take long for Mel to score a major hit with an introduction to Angelo Errichetti, the Mayor of Camden, NJ. . . . (read the rest)