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

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wanna Be Tony Soprano Stole $7 Million to Finance Mob Fantasies: Feds

A slippery used-car dealer embezzled $7 million to finance his mob fantasies, living large in Southampton and South Beach - surrounded by muscle-bound flunkies and drug dealers, authorities said.
High-flying Chris Orsaris, 37, funneled a fortune in inflated sale commissions from a Queens dealership into "the sordid lifestyle of a 'wanna-be' criminal," federal officials said Thursday.
The car-peddling prodigy, whose sales career started as a teen, used the stolen cash to cover his exorbitant spending: a $5.5 million Trump World Tower apartment, a $2.9 million Hamptons home and a $2 million Florida condo, officials said.
Orsaris, who also owned a $5 million Queens waterfront home, even bought an $860,000 yacht christened B LOW ME - and then filed a bogus claim that it was stolen, officials said.
The Greek-American loved his "Sopranos"-styled life so much that he threatened a suspected informant by delivering a black candy rat to the would-be witness, officials said.
Orsaris, who appeared in Long Island Federal Court on Thursday, was denied bail in the massive fraud and embezzlement scheme at Major Automotive Cos., a $300-million-a-year business with 14 city dealerships.
Orsaris first embraced the mob lifestyle after a 2002 divorce, federal prosecutors said in court papers.
He got engaged to the daughter of reputed Genovese crime family capo Anthony (Tough Tony) Federici - but his attempt to marry into the mob didn't work out as well, federal sources told the Daily News.
Orsaris' romance ended after he was caught canoodling with a stripper, the sources said.
Amid rumors that Orsaris' wandering eye was replaced by two black eyes, the engagement was called off, the sources related.
Federici could not be reached for comment.
The feds, in their letter arguing against bail, described Orsaris as a voracious thief who hired thugs and drug dealers to work as his flunkies between 2004 and 2009.
Once they were on the payroll at Major Automotive Cos., the "employees" served as Orsaris' bodyguards, chauffeurs and personal assistants, the letter said.
In between, the workers distributed steroids, shipped a cocaine-laden car to Greece - and in one case, watched the divorced Orsaris' kids on their weekend visitation with dad.
Other known criminals were hired and given no-show jobs, the letter said, while Orsaris greedily lined his pockets.
"Orsaris has intentionally associated with violent and non-violent criminals [and] drug dealers," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Burton Ryan.
Orsaris began his career peddling used cars for Major Automotive in 1992, moving up through the ranks.
At the time of his Tuesday arrest, Orsaris was general manager of Major Chevrolet Long Island City - one of the nation's largest used-car dealerships.
He was immediately fired.
"He was a very trusted employee," said Steven Harfenist, lawyer for Major Automotive. "We've cooperated fully with the government, and the matter will be resolved in court."
164-count indictment
Orsaris was busted on a 164-count indictment accusing him of funneling the stolen funds through three sham corporations - and forging his boss' signature as part of the scam.
It was his second bust in a month: Police nabbed the suspect for assaulting his girlfriend on March 1. There also were two outstanding orders of protection against Orsaris.
Defense lawyer Joseph Conway did not return a call for comment.
The yacht scam illustrated Orsaris' brazen approach. The car salesman stored his craft at the College Point Yacht Club, reported it stolen and collected $112,000 in insurance, authorities said.
In a 2000 interview, Orsaris explained his business philosophy: "I look to go an inch ahead, not an inch back."
If convicted, Orsaris won't be going anywhere soon: He faces more than 1,000 years in prison - although a likely term is 10 years.


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