A former officer of the New York City Police Department was sentenced Thursday after being found guilty of laundering the proceeds of a multi-million dollar prostitution service between June 2012 and May 2016.
Following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations, Michael Rizzi, 45, of Staten Island, NY, was convicted, sentenced to 15 month in prison, and ordered to forfeit 58 websites and $120,247 seized from merchant accounts.
Rizzi was also required to surrender the Florida vacation home he purchased using profits from his prostitution business.
“Leaving behind a life of public service as a member of the NYPD, Michael Rizzi retired into the life of a pimp, running a high end prostitution ring and laundering the proceeds of those crimes,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “The forfeiture of Rizzi’s vacation home, on top of his jail sentence, shows that HSI will continue to aggressively target those who run illegal prostitution rings, as well as proceeds that are generated by this illegal activity.”
According to court documents, Rizzi operated a prostitution service under the name BJM/Manhattan Stakes and Entertainment which advertised its services on numerous websites, including nycescortsnyc.com, and eliteescortsnyc.com and others. The company employed phone reservationists who scheduled appointments between prostitutes and BJM’s clients, and drivers who collected cash and receipts from the company’s prostitutes.
An investigation into BJM’s records revealed that prostitutes working for the company charged their clients up to $2,000 per hour. Several clients spent in excess of $100,000 on the company’s services, and some paid over $25,000 for a single night. During the course of its operations, the company collected millions in payments, including more than $2 million in credit card transactions between October 2012 and March 2016.
ICE reported that “BJM is a successor to Pure Platinum Models, another company that offered prostitution services. Following an investigation by HSI, Pure Platinum Models was closed in 2014 and its owner, Marc Schulman, was convicted in the Eastern District of New York of laundering more than $1 million dollars through the company.”
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