Sunday, May 10, 2015

60 Minutes Glimpses Part of Scores Story

Michael Blutrich grew up in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Georgetown in 1974, he opened his own firm on Park Avenue, Blutrich, Falcone & Miller. The current Governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, was a partner in the firm (1985-1988).

Michael Blutrich owned Scores
Michael Blutrich was featured on 60 Minutes
The news show will revisit the Scores case.
In the 1990s, using stolen money, Blutrich started investing in restaurants and nightclubs including the strip club Scores. At some point, he started working in cahoots with Steve Sergio, described by 60 Minutes as a Gambino associate. (See script of the episode, An Unlikely Informant here.)





Sergio revealed the extent of the scams he generated, which included taking payment from employees within the club, as well as club suppliers. Sergio even appointed a busboy as Score's accountant. "He was incompetent," Sergio told Anderson Cooper.

After being indicted for embezzlement, Blutrich agreed to work undercover for the FBI who really, really wanted to nail some Gambinos, John "Junior" Gotti specifically.

Blutrich recorded about 1,000 hours of conversations with mobsters.

Anderson Cooper recently sat down with Blutrich for a 60 Minutes segment that aired on Sunday, May 10, at 8 pm on CBS.

Blutrich and Lyle K. Pfeffer were indicted for both Heritage Foundation scam and Scores before becoming informants in the Scores case. In the end they helped put away 60 people, according to reports.
Federal agents credited the two with risking their lives to infiltrate the Gambino crime family, which supposedly put a $1 million bounty on each head. We wonder if the FBI asks their snitches to say this stuff about bounties on heads.

"From the standpoint of law enforcement, we simply could not have prosecuted these insidious criminal cases without the help of these defendants," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Art Leach. "These men cooperated against the most powerful crime boss -- that is John A. Gotti Jr. -- and he [was] in jail.''

Michael Blutrich and Lyle Pfeffer hoped their actions in New York would lead to a reduction in their sentences.

But a federal judge in Orlando was unmoved. She refused a request by the government and defense to cut the men's sentences dramatically as a reward for their efforts against organized crime.

"Their cooperation was extraordinary, but the crimes, in this case, were extraordinary," said U.S. District Judge Anne Conway. "The two have to be considered together."

The men originally were sentenced to 25 years for their crimes against the National Heritage Life Insurance Co. They had hoped for new sentences of six years. But what they received equaled a typical reduction for defendants who cooperate with the government: Each got 16 years and eight months. They served about 13, got out two years ago, and apparently are in danger of Mafia retaliation though we believe the current Sicilian-led Gambino family couldn't care less about murdering Blutrich and throwing unnecessary heat on a well-hidden operation.
At the sentencing in Flordida, the Orlando Sentinel reported: 
After a moment of shocked silence, the top-floor courtroom erupted when Conway announced her decision. 
Defense attorneys cried out in disbelief. 
Debbie Pfeffer, Lyle's wife, left the room wailing, cursing and pounding on the walls. 
"This judge has taken my family from me," she cried. "And John Gotti Jr. will come for me when he's released from prison and put a bullet in my head."
Blutrich and Pfeffer served more time than John "Junior" Gotti Jr., whom the two men helped send to prison.
Blutrich, 51, a New York attorney, and Pfeffer, 41, a Manhattan businessman, pleaded guilty to racketeering, fraud and money-laundering charges in the National Heritage Life case. Nearly half of the 25,000 policyholder victims live in Florida. 
Blutrich and Pfeffer were responsible for $237 million of a $400 million theft, the largest insurance loss in U.S. history. Only about half of the $400 million has been recovered. 
They lived the high life for years with stolen insurance money. After their arrests, they agreed to cooperate. 
In addition, the men used $300,000 of money from the Orlando insurance company to buy Scores, a Manhattan strip club that became a hangout for movie stars and athletes. 
Court records show that "Junior" Gotti became interested and tried to take the business from Blutrich and Pfeffer. The men agreed to pay Gotti $100,000 to keep the club.


Gotti, then the 37-year old son of infamous underworld boss John Gotti Sr., pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges. In exchange, the Scores' extortion charges were dropped. He served six years.

In federal court in Atlanta, Steve Kaplan, owner of the Gold Club topless club, Michael DiLeonardo, and others were on trial in connection with the shakedowns at Scores. Mikie Scars was acquitted.

Leach was one of many prosecutors, federal agents and defense attorneys from New York, Georgia, and Florida who made impassioned speeches seeking to reduce Blutrich's and Pfeffer's sentences. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Judy Hunt, the lead prosecutor in the insurance case, agreed with the large reduction.

Both men were in protective custody in prison and were not sent into the Witness Protection Program upon release, according to 60 Minutes.

"We've done everything we can do as human beings and everything we have been asked to make up for it,'' Blutrich said. "It has been staggering.''

The NY Times reported that Michael Blutrich became entangled in the insurance fraud in 1990 when he was hired by three Florida businessmen seeking control of the National Heritage Insurance Company in Orlando, whose main business was selling annuities. Blutrich would later admit that he helped the businessmen take over National Heritage by setting up a phony bank account and providing them with a fake check for $4 million when their assets barely totaled $1 million.

Prosecutors said the three Florida men gained control of the company's assets as soon as they turned over the check, then dipped into the company's own funds to cover the check before it bounced.

Blutrich soon began reaping dividends from National Heritage. His clients, now the company's top officials, lent him $300,000 as seed money to open Scores. One of them, David L. Davies, became chief executive of National Heritage and invested $700,000 of his own money as the secret principal partner of Scores, Blutrich said.

He was told that John J. Gotti was demanding payoffs from anyone opening a nightclub at the site Blutrich had picked. 

He was told ''certain accommodations would have to be made; otherwise they were ready to go with a bomb.''

Asked why he did not abandon Scores at that point, Mr. Blutrich said: ''I wanted to open and run a sophisticated, upscale club. If I did not accede to their demands, there would not have been a Scores.''

Scores, which featured topless dancers and big-screen television sets tuned to sports, opened on Oct. 31, 1991, at 333 East 60th Street. About this time, Mr. Blutrich and Mr. Pfeffer met and their business worlds began to merge.

Pfeffer opened a string of carwashes while in college. Later, he advanced into pooling investments for real estate deals and supervising mortgage portfolios for investment companies.

In 1992, through Blutrich's introductions, National Heritage gave hefty commissions to Pfeffer for managing the company's real estate investments and for finding buyers for its holdings.

For the first year, Blutrich said, Scores was hemorrhaging red ink, and by late 1992 Mr. Davies of National Heritage wanted out. Blutrich's solution was to bring in Pfeffer as the chief investor and to manage the club's finances.

Pfeffer relished the idea of overseeing a popular nightclub that attracted show business and sports figures. He took over as executive manager, with Mr. Blutrich remaining as his main partner and the club's lawyer.

According to the Scores case indictment, from 1991 to 1997, Gambino family members extorted more than $1 million from the owners and employees. (Note all those "Mafia goons" shown on stark surveillance videotape were caught in the operation's final year.)

''Some of them were scary,'' Pfeffer said of the Gambino family members who frequently went to the club. ''They talked about blowing away people with shotguns and told us, with smiles on their faces, how easy it would be for them to kill us.''

The mobsters rarely paid for meals and drinks. They would also pick up cash left on tables by customers and tell waiters, '' 'It's on the house; they're friends of ours,' '' Pfeffer recalled. When he objected to the mobsters' actions he was threatened. After one such incident, he walked into his apartment and found a bullet on his coffee table.

The first sign of legal trouble for Mr. Blutrich and Mr. Pfeffer came in 1994, when insurance regulators closed National Heritage after uncovering a maze of embezzlements, worthless investments, assets inflated to conceal losses and suspected kickbacks to company officials for authorizing secret loans.

In 1996 and 1997, a Federal grand jury in Florida indicted Mr. Blutrich, Mr. Pfeffer, Mr. Davies and 13 others on fraud and conspiracy charges that led to a loss of about $400 million for the company, which went out of business in 1996.

Mr. Davies was never been implicated in the Scores case.

In November 1996, four months after Mr. Blutrich and Mr. Pfeffer were indicted in Florida, Federal and state investigators raided Scores as part of a separate investigation of Gambino family rackets in the New York area. They also raided the Scores offices that Mr. Blutrich and Mr. Pfeffer had shared at 3 Park Avenue.

Both men soon agreed to work undercover for the authorities. They did so after learning that they had been ensnared in a broad investigation of the Gambino family. Moreover, substantial evidence had been obtained against both men through court-authorized video cameras and microphones that the FBI had planted in their offices.

A Year of Pretense And Ominous Threats

Oddly, the Florida indictments helped the two men in their undercover roles. ''It gave us more credibility,'' Mr. Pfeffer explained. ''The mob guys thought that nobody who gets indicted is cooperating, and they offered to help us raise bail and find lawyers.''

But there were tense moments. At meetings concerning Scores payoffs and the investigation, Mr. Blutrich and Mr. Pfeffer said, the mobsters often put guns on the table or ostentatiously displayed their weapons.

''They told us not to worry about the guns,'' Mr. Pfeffer recalled. ''They said, 'It's only for rats.' ''

As part of the cooperation agreement, the FBI installed concealed video cameras and microphones in Mr. Pfeffer's Park Avenue office. Outside the office, both men had recording devices under their clothes, in their cars and in cellular telephones.

Some mobsters, Mr. Blutrich and Mr. Pfeffer said, would playfully pat them or unbutton their shirts before beginning conversations.

''It was a year of unbearable tension,'' said Mr. Blutrich. ''They came pretty close a couple of times to finding the wires on me.''

Mr. Blutrich, who is divorced, and Mr. Pfeffer, who is married and has daughter from a previous marriage, said they expected to receive lighter sentences in return for cooperating, but were given no assurances by prosecutors.

In prison, like other witnesses in Mafia cases, they were confined in segregated cellblocks out of concern for their safety.

''We didn't start out as criminals, but we were fast-track guys who were out to make lots of money,'' Mr. Pfeffer said. ''By working undercover we tried to make up for the wrong things we had done, but as a consequence, we'll be looking over our shoulders for the rest of our lives.

''I don't think,'' he added, ''there will be happy endings for us.''






24 comments :

  1. I love this blog. Thank you for it, Ed.

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  2. Bit of an odd scenario there isn't it, they get more jail time than the person at the centre of the investigation. Mind you they are still criminal's.

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  3. Ed,
    To top it all off, he didn't even pay the landlord the rent for his pizzeria. They didn't own the building. All these guys are the same.

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  4. anderson cooper looked very happy speaking to mike b,thought he could have asked better questions, interesting, a guy they were involved with gets 800 years for a money crime.

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  5. John Jr trained at body design gym 101st ave. With steven kaplan, Danny amadeo, John alite, Charlie fish, Frank radace mike finnery all bullies and major juice heads scary guys to be around back in the day!!!!!

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  6. Shalom Weiss. Went on the lam for a year.

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  7. So it seems that I had to sign on to this forum because Carla I mean Donna, you seem to be an authority on my personal life. First off let's start off with whore no.1 my ex husband Michael was sleeping with Carla when he was married to me and yes the faux new that. That's a fact. Second the other whore who he had a bastard child with while he was married to me never left me for her, I threw him out. I think when you open your trap have the facts and maybe someone will take you seriously. But the fact that you have no life and want to comment on other people's heartaches shows me that your a miserable person and have no bearing on my life. Speak of women who make a difference in this world, maybe you will get somewhere in life!

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  8. Is steven sergio a cooperating inform it

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  9. that's it we need this guy to write a book!!, the mob , violence, girls , intrigue , money ..the american dream.. ed write his story..

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  10. No. He was indicted and plead out with everyone else. If he had been we'd know the Scores story.

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  11. hey ed , is tough tony involved with these guys?????..its his neighborhood...he is calabrese and he was born in calabria speaks it fluently.... also there was some talk that the calabrians report to him when they come here and need help with meeting and speaking to the other familes ,,all under the genovese flag.....whats the story ed?

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  12. Jesus Christ another Internet Tough Guy. If you are in South FL and know where Merlono's is located . Please tell me when we can meet a block north on Federal HYW . Then we can discuss it like men you fucking mutt. It's been too long since I have thrown someone a good old fashion Brooklyn beat down. Sorry Ed

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  13. Internet tough guy? Mo I ain't no tough guy, I never claimed to be one, or did I talk like one, read my posting again, I am from Brooklyn, I WAS a street guy, I am now a cooperator, so you can call me a rodent, a pigeon, a punk, and even a Rat, I know what I did, but I can also tell you that I was a criminal my whole life, and I do know that posting on this forum, is dry snitching, so about the Brooklyn beat down, it's not my game anymore, so no I don't want to get a beat down from you, but I am so scared that I lived 30 miles from Manhattan, and I did not tell on Mikey mouse and the gang either.
    So DC4 you won I punked out from meeting up with you, but get this straight if you run into me and you know me, I bet you would say hello, and swear you won't tell no one you seen me, just like the other 100 guys I ran into, through the years.
    I Am Not a tough guy, I am a Law abiding person who lives a humble life.
    All the best to you DC4

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  14. http://aboutthemafia.com/mafia-family-leadership-charts

    FBI membership chart from 2013 all familys are here gambinos top one 180- 220 made guys on the streets today

    the gambinos Jack falcone who inflitrated the gambinos under greg depalma said in 2008 in said in 2005 had 24 capatains and the FBi had listed 21 captains (he says the feds left out s few capos)

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  15. ed only bit i disgagree with is that jo jo was always a HUGE eaner in the early 90s he and the remains of the New Orleans mafia nearly took over the casinos out there he was racking in huge money

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  16. your right ed loads of guys hate junior sonny franchseze was caught plotting to whack him. Scoops in philly north jeresy faction was heard saying that he always knew junior was a rat

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  17. When I wrote this I found no American connection in reports but I'll keep an eye on this.

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  18. Wow. One of the best I've read in a while. It makes it very refreshing to log on and see you no wither on about Alite. While I'm on that topic I've found myself often wondering why in God's name would continuously "bash" Jr. If you would like to interview him? As far as their (Jr. and Alite ) kids and other family members "duking" it our online, what is it that is expected? You want these two guys to publicly disgrace one another and expect either of their families to sit back and keep their mouth shut? (I really do wish that Angel Gotti would just shut up though. She is just ridiculous with a lot of her comments. She almost sounds like she's 13).

    Michael you should definitely consider foing an interview with 60 seconds or even a live in depth interview with Ed here. You're a believable guy and there's lot of people that would love to listen to your stories.

    As always thanks for sharing Ed.

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  19. how do you know they didn't pay the landlord? was there litigation? Maybe it was all in cash. Did they rent the upper stories as well?

    Does it make any sense that they would rent from an outsider if they had all those yucca deliveries and people going in and out doing illegal business? How could they be sure that the landlrod wouldnt install security cameras on his property?

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  20. I had a coworker whose parents were both half Italian who said say what you will about the ..., they never go after women and children but I didn't believe her when she said it even though she was speaking from her experience at the Manhattan DA's office doing mafia cases because as a family victimized by triad murderers, there is no way that organized crime is smart enough to leave innocent civilians alone ever so why would there be some special code by organized crime who are of Italian descent? I could tell how badly she felt about the reputation of Italian Americans because she was mostly tied to her Italian side and she had been working on mafia cases and wanted to believe that there was still something higher and more American about Italian organized crime.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_victims_of_the_%27Ndrangheta

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  21. I've just installed iStripper, and now I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.

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  22. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.

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