A retired Brooklyn cop collecting a disability pension was busted by the feds Tuesday for allegedly operating a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring in which his hookers billed well-heeled clients up to $2,000 per hour.
Michael Rizzi, who is related by marriage to two members of the Gambino crime family, was collared at his Bensonhurst home, where Department of Homeland Security agents and detectives seized computers, business records, and a stolen handgun found in the basement.
Rizzi, 44, was the alleged pimp behind a lucrative online escort service that spawned out of a Staten Island prostitution operation called Pure Platinum Models taken down by the feds in 2012.
He was charged with promoting prostitution and money laundering.
“With this arrest, we continue to unmask organizations that launder millions of dollars through alleged criminal networks,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers.
A complaint unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court alleges that Rizzi is the registrant of 58 active websites, including janeblow.com, lusciouscompanions.com and flygirls.com, which features photos of women in lingerie and bikinis, or topless with a “donation” price listed next to their name.
NYPD and Homeland Security investigators raid the home of retired police officer Michael Rizzi on Tuesday.
Defense lawyer Javier Solano insisted Rizzi is a legitimate businessman.
“He ran an escort service that was strictly for companionship,” Solano said.
Court papers allege Rizzi accepted applications emailed from escorts who described their looks, ethnic origin, measurements and sexual attributes.
“I love sex and if I can get paid for it why not?” a woman stated in her application, according to the complaint.
“I have...perky t---ies and a nice ferm (sic) butt...interests = Roleplay, Foreplay, S&M, and oral sex,” another jobseeker wrote.
Rizzi allegedly ran 58 websites that "processed millions of dollars in transactions," a source said.
Rizzi allegedly interviewed the women in person at hotels, boasting that his clients were among the wealthiest people in the world. Investigators interviewed hookers and clients of Rizzi’s alleged service, according to court papers.
Rizzi was a nine-year veteran of the force when he retired in 2000 due to a line of duty injury. His lawyer said he was not aware of the details of the disability.
In 2009, Rizzi was arrested in a sports gambling takedown by the Queens district attorney’s office. The gambling ring had ties to the Gambino crime family.
Rizzi’s wife, Jill, is the niece of Gambino capo Sonny Juliano and her father is Gambino soldier Richard Juliano Jr., authorities said.
Immediately after he was released from federal custody on a $500,000 bond co-signed by his wife Tuesday afternoon, Rizzi was arrested by detectives on a stolen gun charge.
Authorities seized computers, business records, and a stolen handgun found in the basement.
His lawyer claimed the handgun was an antique firearm. He has yet to be arraigned on that charge.
Investigators placed a GPS tracking device on Rizzi’s Infiniti SUV and followed him on his rounds, including stops at the Love Jones adult entertainment store in Staten Island, where he met with owner Edward Shamah, suspected of collecting money from the escorts for Rizzi, according to a search warrant affidavit.
Contacted by phone at his sex emporium, Shamah shouted: “No comment!” and hung up.
One of Rizzi’s neighbors was shocked by the allegations. “I don’t believe it,” the neighbor said. “He’s a family guy.”