Retired NYPD officer gets 15 months for running 58 escort web sites

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, May 4, 2017

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A retired NYPD officer was sentenced to 15 months in prison Thursday for running 58 escort service websites that led to an income of millions of dollars.

Michael Rizzi, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to launder and is also subject to four months of home confinement and three years of supervision following his release.

Judge Carol Amon also ordered the forfeiture of the 58 websites and $120,247 seized from merchant accounts, as well as the Florida vacation home Rizzi had purchased using proceeds of his prostitution operation.

Rizzi operated a prostitution service under the name BJM/Manhattan Stakes and Entertainment, which advertised its services on dozens of websites and employed "phone bookers" to arrange appointments between prostitutes and customers, as well as drivers who collected cash and receipts from BJM's prostitutes.

The prostitutes charged their customers as much as $2,000 per hour, and the investigation revealed that several clients spent more than $100,000 on the company's services, including more than $25,000 for a single night.

Over the course of its operations, BJM collected millions in payments, including more than $2 million in credit card payments alone between October 2012 and March 2016.

"Michael Rizzi left behind a life of law enforcement for a new career in which he flagrantly disregarded the law and exploited others for his own enrichment," acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said. "This office is committed to dismantling money laundering organizations, including those which promote and capitalize on illegal prostitution."

Rizzi retired on medical disability and was receiving a city pension while he ran the business out of his home.