Whitey Bulger posed as an illegal Irish immigrant to win the confidence of a down-and-out whose identity he stole, according to the Boston Globe which has researched his years on the lam.
The paper also revealed that the woman who turned in Whitey Bulger is former Miss Iceland winner Anna Bjornsdottir, an actress best known for starring in Noxzema’s iconic “Take It Off” TV commercials.
Bjornsdottir, is now a 57-year-old yoga instructor and graphic designer in her native country. She collected $2 million of the $2.1 million reward money for Bulger. She lived in the same apartment complex as Bulger in Santa Monica and recognized him from a television documentary when she returned to Iceland
The Globe also revealed that Bulger’s main alter ego was a real person, an Irish American called James William Lawlor, a down and out alcoholic who gave Bulger his California driver’s license in exchange for money to pay rent at a cheap motel.
Bulger, who told Lawlor he was an illegal Irish immigrant, changed to Lawlor’s identity every time he needed a doctor’s visit, to buy prescription drugs or drive a car or open a bank account.
“He literally saw him on a bench,” said a person close to the case.
Bulger noticed how similar they looked, had white beards and were of Irish descent.
“He saw the guy and realized there was some ability for them to be confused,” one of the two people said. “He took care of him and got him off the booze. They became friends.”
Bulger told Lawlor he had entered the country illegally from Ireland and needed to use his identity from time to time and Lawlor agreed.
In return for letting Bulger take his name, Bulger paid the rent on Lawlor’s home in a flea pit motel in Los Angeles for several yers.
Lawlor was found dead there of heart failure in 2007. Bulger, however, continued to use his ID and had extensive medical treatment under his name.
The Icelandic connection would ultimately doom Bulger when he and his girlfriend Catherine Greig became friendly and bonded with Anna Bjornsdottir over a stray cat they both fed.
It was the one time that Bulger and Greig let their guard down and it cost them dearly.