Mob Informant Trades Witness Protection for $100M

A man called The General earned a wealthy widow's trust
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2016 7:03 PM CDT
The Mysterious Mob Informant Who Inherited Widow's Fortune

A man called The General—though he's gone by other names—carries at least five cellphones at all times and always has an eye out for hidden enemies. And in 2010 at a McDonald's in New York, he became $100 million richer. DNAinfo has the improbable story of a mob informant who befriended a toothless widow and inherited her fortune. The General fled the army in his European home in 1992 and was given asylum in New York with his wife and four children. He would later do what DNAinfo calls "valorous work for the US government" testifying against organized criminals. But after one federal case in 2006, it became too dangerous, and The General entered witness protection, becoming Alben Sagan and relocating to Wisconsin.

Sagan left the program in 2008, calling witness protection "worse than any prison," and rejoined his family and friends in New York. He met Lee Power while inquiring about an open apartment in one of the buildings she owned. Despite looking like a homeless woman, the elderly Power owns real estate worth up to $120 million. Sagan quickly became Power's driver, then head of maintenance. In 2010, she signed a will giving him 90% of her fortune and power of attorney. This came as a shock to her family when she died in 2014. They claim Sagan took advantage of Power. Tenants in Power's buildings claim Sagan kept her alive. Now the ensuing legal struggle is bringing The General's new identity crumbling down and maybe endangering his life. Read the full story here. (Read more witness protection stories.)

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