Most Epic Fails of the Witness Protection Program


So you decided to make a deal with law enforcement
on the condition that you and your family be moved across the country, be given new
identities, and be safe from the people you are going to testify against. You’ve been informed in no uncertain terms
that you will come to no harm; you can start a new life and can forget all about the somewhat
devilish people you got involved with. Then one day you walk outside your home to
fix the sprinkler. Across from your perfect green lawn and sculptured
hedgerow, just meters from your white picket fence, a car is parked and inside it you see
a shady looking man. He takes one look at you and drives away. You’ve seen that kind of face before. He’s one of the bad guys. You’ve been found. That’s a fictional scene of course, but
we might ask if this kind of thing has actually happened in real life. But before we get to that, let’s just explain
first what the witness protection program is. If you are going to testify against people
who might make you “disappear” or at least threaten you and your family you’ll need
some kind of security. This will be before the trial, during the
trial and after the trial. It’s been used time and again when people
have testified against organized crime and other criminals, with some notable cases being
when folks testified against the Italian-American mafia. In many cases the witness will be given a
new identity and moved across the country. This is not something that changes after the
heat dies down. You will assume this identity for life, because
in the world of organized crime it’s not as if a grudge will dissipate after a year
or so. These programs exist in many countries around
the world, not just the USA. Entering in a such a program is not to be
taken lightly. Just imagine suddenly having to become someone
else. Losing you friends; in some cases being torn
away from relatives, and having to live a big lie in the new place where you have been
secretly sequestered. Then as we described in the opening scene,
you might be living under constant stress for the rest of your life. Things can go horribly wrong before the trial
has even been concluded. You’ve stood up and told the cops you are
willing to testify, and then bam, someone gets you. This happened in 1989 to a person named Diana
Merced. On March 9th of that year she was shot in
the face behind her mother’s third-floor apartment in a housing project in the Bronx area of
New York City. It turned out that she had been cooperating
with the cops to put her former boyfriend behind bars. It was perhaps this boyfriend, the father
of her son, who shot her. He might also have hired some assassins. She’d been told she was safe, which obviously
wasn’t the case. On the very morning the trial was scheduled
to take place she got up in the morning and took the trash outside. She didn’t die, but was badly injured in
the attack. After this she sued the City of New York for
failing to protect her. According to court documents we found, the
city had assured her that she’d be ok, telling her “everything would be taken care of.” The authorities knew all about this violent
boyfriend and knew he had threatened her life before and their son’s life. Those court documents described the scene
of the crime, stating, “Two shots struck the plaintiff: one penetrated her right shoulder
and the other lodged in her cheekbone. The two assailants fled immediately. The perpetrators of the shooting were never
found, but the plaintiff is convinced that they were sent by Navedo to kill her, to prevent
her from testifying against him.” But the protection program fails in ways we
might not have thought about. We might take the case of an Irishman who
was put into that country’s program. His name is David Mooney and in 2016 he sued
the authorities for what he said was a failure on their part. He’d testified in an extortion case and
was told he’d be set up with a big cash handout and a new identity. According to the Irish media, he never received
that cash. His new life was a nightmare and he lived
in poverty, unable to work. He’d actually been fairly wealthy before
the trial, owning a nightclub. At the nightclub he’d been told by local
criminals that he’d have to pay them some cash. This was extortion, and Mooney was told if
he didn’t pay, people were going to get hurt. In the end Mooney testified against the extortionists
and was told he’d receive the following, according to the Irish Times: “A new house,
car, name, date of birth, personal public service number, an income, and a green card
for the USA.” He said he didn’t get that, and sued. He didn’t win his case. The witness protection program also fails
in ways relating to it helping crooked people get out of trouble after they get into the
program. We might take the case of a New Zealand man
named Jonathan Barclay. This guy was a seasoned criminal, but he’d
testified against other criminals and been given a new identity. Then he was relocated, but his criminal ways
remained. He was arrested in his new town, and he used
his real name. He was told that if he committed another crime
he’d be in serious trouble. That didn’t stop him, and just months later
he was arrested again on a drunk-driving charge, but this time he used the name of his new
identity. Because it now looked like his first crime
he got off. This man just weeks later, while drunk and
driving at very high speeds, hit another car with a young woman inside. She died at the scene. The young women’s mother then found out
about what happened; that the man who had killed her daughter really should have been
locked up. She told the press, “The whole system wasn’t
working properly. I have to believe the system has to have a
big change.” After this much was said about how people
cope with the program, and while not making excuses for the man, it was discussed that
when in the program there is a lot of psychological stress. Barclay was imprisoned again after the tragic
accident that took the life of the girl, and authorities said when he gets out he will
not be given another new identity. Now we go back to 1972 and a case that involved
a man named Daniel La Polla. He’d been involved with organized crime
and had taped the conversations of fellow criminals when a weapons deal was going down. He’d been put under the witness protection
program and told to stay away from home and any former mob associates, although he didn’t
follow the rules and ended up going back to his old town to attend a funeral. The mob had known he’d return and so rigged
his house with explosives. When La Polla opened his front door when he
got home the bomb went off and he was blown to pieces. Staying with the mob, we might look at the
case of Louis Bombacino. He’d testified against many of his associates,
including some big mafia names. For that, he was sent to live in Tempe, Arizona,
under the Witness Protection Program. It seems the mob caught up with him even though
he had this new identity. On October 6, 1975, he got up and then went
outside and got into his car. He didn’t get very far, because when he
turned the ignition key the thing exploded. He died at the scene. Now we go to a more recent story which involves
a number of people who all ended up in a bad place. An innocent man named Robert Bishun was strangled
and killed in the Bronx area of New York City in 2016. Bishun had agreed to cooperate with authorities
in a case against drug dealers and a drug dealing former police officer named Merlin
Alston. It’s not clear from the news reports if
the two men that killed Bishun did it because they were involved with Alston, or just because
they knew he was working with the cops. In the end the former cop got 20 years for
his crimes, while the two killers both got life sentences. This one is a tale of a man that wanted to
make a change but it ended in tragedy for him. In 2012, on some of the meanest streets of
Chicago, Lawndale “Lonnie” Nutall, witnessed a gangland murder outside a convenience store. The media writes that after this he was sick
and tired of the violence on the streets and went to the police to testify. His mother told the press, “He wasn’t going
to see someone get killed and not say anything. I don’t think he ever thought that someone
would kill him.” Someone did. Some sources say Nutall was put into the protection
program, but it’s not clear if he ever was. He was certainly going to testify, and it’s
very likely that’s why he was killed. Police said it’s hard to say, because there
were so many murders in that area where he lived. Now we go back to 2005 when a man named John
P. Dowery Jr. was shot six times in a bar. He’d moved out of Baltimore where he was
going to testify against some killers, but had returned home to celebrate Thanksgiving
dinner. As the Baltimore Sun reported, “The killing
of Dowery has raised questions about what protection is given to Baltimore’s witnesses
– and what can be done to keep them from putting themselves in harm’s way.” That report said that the hardest thing when
it comes to protecting witnesses is getting them to stay away from their loved ones. Understandably, they miss them, but the criminals
who are being testified against know this only too well. Returning home is generally a huge mistake. The story of a man named Aladena “Jimmy
the Weasel” Fratianno is one of the more well known regarding the witness protection
program. The LA Times wrote that when he died in 1993
he was still living under an assumed name. This man didn’t get killed while in the
program, but he did exploit it. After being a mobster himself, the weasel
turned government informant and witness in 1977. It’s said after that he lived a quiet life
with his wife, but he became renowned for being the highest-paid participant in the
history of the witness protection program. His lifestyle cost the authorities almost
one million bucks, and the bills he sent them included stuff like plastic surgery for his
beloved. This is what he once said about living a life
always looking your shoulder, “I don’t let stress bother me. I think that’s very important in a man’s
life, in anybody’s life. Stress will age you quicker than anything. And I just try to take it easy.” That he did, with the help of a government
budget. Apparently, after his bills got too big they
kicked him out of the program, but he still got to keep his new name. At the time the authorities reportedly said
that the program was certainly not supposed to be a “pension fund for aging mobsters.” Fratianno wasn’t happy about this split,
telling the media, “They just threw me out on the street. I put 30 guys away, six of them bosses, and
now the whole world’s looking for me.” He believed he was a dead man, but they never
got him. He died of natural causes in the end. After his death his wife told the LA Times,
“I loved my husband very much; he was sweet. He was a success because he went into the
program and he survived. It is a better program now because of him.” The reason this is on the list is because
racking up a bill of almost one million seems like a fail for law enforcement. What do you think about the witness protection
program? Think you could live an entirely new life? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
How Does House Arrest ACTUALLY Work? Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.

100 thoughts on “Most Epic Fails of the Witness Protection Program

  1. The ads on here are actually ridiculous. Not only are they really frequent but now they are playing 2 in a row. It just ruined the whole watching experience for me.

  2. Who else has been a True fan of "the infographics show" before 2019?😘
    👇
    I am gifting my next ~59~ subs🥳😍

  3. A million dollar bill is an epic fail? Yeah you’re right I’d rather have 6 mob bosses running around, stick to the YouTube videos man

  4. My uncle was under witness protection. At school some guys tried to jump me. Junkies. But I am not a typical 15 year old. Me and my friends went at those Junkies.

  5. Don’t need this video to know that the cartels are stronger than any country’s government.
    If someone with power wants you dead, you’re gonna get it

  6. I actually once considered testifying against a small time gang I knew dealing drugs and small attacks and weapons gigs in the end we moved away anyways so there was no point in going into protection

  7. The last one. If he helped put away as many as he said and he was in the program 30 years and if he was wanted by so many. $1,000,000 is not so much. That is 33,000.00 at year. Not a minimum wage job in California

  8. key note of this video keep your mouth shut you never seen nothing
    you don’t know nothing
    you didn’t hear nothing
    and you’ll be safe 😉

  9. When I saw this video I immediately thought of the scene from mafia 2 where vito scaletta kills tommy angelo (the main protagonists in mafia 1).

  10. you forgot about samy the bull gravano, he got arrested with his new identity in arizona and he even started a new drug ring in arizona

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