Bulger, who was arrested Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif., after eluding capture for 16 years, asked court magistrates in two separate cases Friday to declare him indigent so he could qualify for a public defender, The Boston Globe reported.
When U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler asked Bulger if he could afford to pay for a lawyer, he said, "Well. I could, if you gave me my money back."
When Bulger, 81, and his girlfriend Catherine Greig, 60, were arrested at their Southern California apartment Wednesday, police seized more than $800,000 in cash along with weapons and ammunition.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly said Bulger had not come by the cash honestly.
"He clearly didn't make that on a paper route on Santa Monica Boulevard," Kelly said.
He also said investigators think Bulger has more cash stashed away somewhere.
Further hearings will determine whether Bulger is indigent and should have a government-funded defense.
Bulger, who had been at the top of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, fled Massachusetts just before he was indicted on federal racketeering charges in January 1995. Eventually it was revealed in federal court in Boston he was a longtime FBI informant who was warned by his corrupt handler that he was about to be arrested.