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Mob-Linked Ex-NYPD Officer Arrested for Running Prostitution Ring: Sources

By  Murray Weiss and William Mathis | May 24, 2016 12:23pm | Updated on May 24, 2016 2:31pm

 A former NYPD officer was arrested in connection with a high-priced protitution ring.
A former NYPD officer was arrested in connection with a high-priced protitution ring.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

BROOKLYN — A former NYPD officer who married into the mob was arrested Tuesday by police and federal agents for allegedly running a massive prostitution operation that made millions of dollars and offered high-end hookers for up to $2,000 an hour.

Michael Rizzi, an officer from 1992 to 2000, is suspected of running roughly two dozen prostitution businesses for the last four years, including dozens of round-the-clock online operations that provided a door-to-door delivery service of women to Johns.

Rizzi was released on bond Tuesday from federal custody, but was re-arrested by the NYPD on a weapons charge for a stolen gun that was found in his home. Rizzi was taken to Brooklyn central booking.

Sources say Rizzi is married to Jill Juliano, the daughter of Gambino crime family member Richard Juliano, whose older brother is Joseph (Sonny) Juliano, a powerful Brooklyn-based captain in that Mafia family.

Joseph Juliano was convicted in 2003 by then-state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for running a major gambling ring in New York City and was sent to prison for four years. His brother Richard was sentenced to two years in prison in a related gambling case.

Sources say Rizzi left the NYPD after eight years with a disability pension from a back injury, but they could not immediately provide any more details.

Rizzi accepted applications for his "escort" businesses using his email, prosecutors said, adding that one woman wrote him that "I am a fun loving girl who loves sex... I love sex and if I can get paid for it, why not?"

Authorities said Rizzi's operation replaced the shuttered Pure Platinum Models, a Manhattan-based online prostitution site taken down by law enforcement years ago.

His Staten Island-based business, which went under the name MJM/Manhattan Stakes and Entertainment, or BJM, operated online websites such as "alluringcompanions" and "pureplaymates."

Some of its customers spent as much as $100,000 each, with one spending $25,000 for a single night, authorities revealed.

The two-year investigation included the NYPD, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and was announced Tuesday afternoon by the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers.

Rizzi was charged with money laundering.

"The investigation and prosecution of money laundering offenses is a priority program of this office," Capers said. "With the arrest, we continue to unmask organizations that launder millions of dollars through alleged criminal networks."

Rizzi smirked as he strolled into his arraignment Tuesday afternoon in the Eastern District Federal Court. Bail was set as $500,000 and he was released after his wife posted their Bensonhurst home as bond. 

Judge Viktor Pohorelsky also followed the prosecutor's recommendations that Rizzi cease operations of the companies listed in the indictment and not contact any of the escorts or employees of the companies.

However, Pohorelsky denied the prosecutor's request that Rizzi wear a GPS monitoring device.

Rizzi's lawyer, Javier Solano, insisted that Rizzi's activities were perfectly legal.

"He ran an escort service that is strictly for companionship," Solano told reporters outside the courthouse.

"Whether or not the escort has sex with a client on their own is not my client's issue or my client's problem."

Solano also said the gun was an old relic that was found in the basement of his client's home and likely did not function.

The arrest is the latest in a long list of high-profile takedowns involving prostitution rings that raked in millions of dollars.