Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Broward man who fled is relieved that the feds, not the mob, were chasing him

When the early morning knocking started on his front door, Robert Lis fled in his pajamas, scaled two fences and was eyeing a third when he realized the people chasing him were the feds — not the mob.
"I was very distraught and relieved when I realized it was law enforcement," Lis testified in federal court in Fort Lauderdale on Monday.
Lis, 34, of Pembroke Pines, is facing federal charges in the Long Island area of New York. But that pales in comparison to what he fears from the Gambino organized crime family that has been contracted to collect an alleged $2.5 million debt from him, his lawyer said.
"He owes money ... these people are trying to kill him," his attorney Sam Fields said in court.
Lis frequents the high-stakes blackjack tables at several casinos in South Florida, Atlantic City, N.J., and Las Vegas, investigators said.
So far, he's charged with making about $2.4 million worth of suspicious financial transactions over three years at New York banks — deliberately breaking down deposits into amounts of $10,000 or less to avoid currency reporting rules, according to an indictment issued in New York.
But prosecutors said they plan on filing more criminal charges as a result of an investigation of Lis involving the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the IRS and local police.
Prosecutors said Lis often brought "well in excess of $100,000" to casinos in denominations of $5, $10 and $20, then gambled for a short period of time and cashed out, asking for $100 bills or cashier's checks.
Authorities also accused Lis of defrauding investors through his East Coast Venture Group, promising monthly returns of five percent or more "but instead just stealing their monies." He was also involved in large-scale marijuana dealing, identity theft, bank and mortgage fraud, they said.
Lis, a Canadian citizen who legally resides in the U.S., also failed to file income tax returns since at least 2006.
Fields said in court that a man by the name of Daniel Hesse won a $2.5 million court judgment against Lis and organized crime figures were hired to collect the money that he said was lost in the men's joint venture.
"I consider it a cockamamie [effort] where they were going to beat the casinos and guess what? It didn't work," Fields said.
Though Lis asked the court to release him on a GPS monitor in South Florida until the charges are dealt with, prosecutors said he is a serious flight risk and a danger.
Despite all the money that passed through his accounts and his leasing of multimillion dollar homes, prosecutor Brent Tantillo said Lis has no known assets and claimed he earns $150,000 a year.
Lis testified that he previously fled the U.S. to avoid prosecution in 1999 and spent four years in Canada and Israel. He said he fled after being involved in a car accident in Indiana while driving a vehicle he didn't own but eventually returned voluntarily and faced the charge.
Eric Boyle, an IRS agent, testified that Lis darted from the Pembroke Falls home he leases when more than 11 agents in marked police cruisers went to arrest him about 6:35 a.m. on Tuesday.
Boyle said a female agent yelled at Lis that he was under arrest: "She told me he said 'For what?' and kept running right by her."
Lis said he ran out the rear of the house and climbed the fence to "draw the attention to myself so nothing would happen to" his girlfriend and their dog.
"I did not realize it was a law enforcement officer ... I was just running as quickly as possible," Lis told the judge.
Boyle agreed that organized crime figures have "a bone to pick" with Lis. Fields said those individuals went to the Delray Beach home of Lis' father, Simon Lis and left threatening notes for Lis' girlfriend's mother on Long Island.
The prosecutor said that organized crime figures could probably find Lis in South Florida and he'd be safer in custody.
The judge agreed and ordered Lis to remain locked up and be transferred to New York.
"The problem is that organized crime families don't show up in Pembroke Pines police cruisers and IRS jackets," Seltzer said. "The other thing is they probably don't ring the doorbell."



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