Business on the street keeps moving no matter how many people go down. There are always others waiting in the wings to step up and replace them. I wrote before that crime does not pay. A large number of people disagreed with me and argued that it does indeed pay. One person posted an article claiming that a crime group made more than McDonald’s. They missed my point. It is the toll it takes on the person, I am talking about - the consequences for their family and friends. It was not the balance sheet I was referring to, it was the fact that there are no real happy endings to the stories involving the Mafia.
Michael Rizzi an ex-NYPD officer who branched out into the lucrative business of escort services. Rizzi went before a judge this week for sentencing. He told the judge that he initially started off with a completely legal escort service, and it grew out of hand. The judge laughed at him. Rizzi has plead guilty to laundering money from the illicit sex workers and is awaiting his sentencing. He had over two million dollars in credit card charges from October 2012 until May of 2016.
The escort girls went on dates for up to two thousand dollars an hour. The judge did not believe that anyone would pay that amount of money for dinner. Rizzi is on a disability pension from the NYPD and he also owns an adult store. Rizzi controlled over eighty adult websites and the parent company BJM-Manhattan Stakes and Entertainment.
There were some customers of the escort service that had spent over one hundred thousand dollars with the service. A few that paid in excess of twenty five thousand for one night. In 2009, Rizzi was taken down in Queens because of his involvement with a mafia backed sportsbook.
Rizzi had married into the Gambino crime family. His wife Jill is the daughter of Gambino soldier Richard Juliano Jr., and the niece of Gambino capo Joseph "Sonny" Juliano.
Sonny has a long history with gambling, loan sharking and adult businesses. When I first began spending time in NYC, he was said to control some Manahatten stripbars. He also had some large loans out, including some documented in a book that were photographed for the FBI.
Sonny was arrested in a 2003 gambling case was based in Albany, New York. The business had over ninety runners who picked up bets and paid out. They also had a huge numbers business that was based on race track handles and state lotto numbers. The business netted over three million dollars a year, yet Sonny claimed only one hundred and six dollars of income on his 2000 income taxes.
It is laughable that the Attorney General at the time was Eliot Spitzer, who served two terms in that office before being elected governor. He had to step down as governor when he was caught paying for high end escorts.
It was alleged that he spent over eighty thousand dollars on the escort, including some campaign funds.
Sonny took a plea deal in his case and was given 1-1/2 to 4-½ years in state prison. He forfeited $550,000 in gambling cash and paid $37,000 in taxes.
Richard plead guilty and face two to four years in prison.
Michael Rizzi will face up to four years next week.
So how does crime pay?