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EX-NYPD Officer Who Married Into Mob to Plead Guilty to Money Laundering

By Murray Weiss | October 5, 2016 10:56am
 Police arrested Christian Pena on July 4.
Police arrested Christian Pena on July 4.
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DNAinfo

BROOKLYN — A former NYPD officer who married into the mob is expected to plead guilty Wednesday to money laundering charges in connection with a million dollar prostitution operation he allegedly ran, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Sources say Michael Rizzi, an officer from 1992 to 2000, is slated to appear in Brooklyn Federal Court Wednesday afternoon to admit to profiting from roughly two dozen prostitution businesses for the last four years, including dozens of round-the-clock online operations that provided door-to-door service of women to johns.

If convicted, he could face between 2 and 4 years behind bars, sources say.

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

Rizzi's lawyer, Javier Solano, did not immediately return a call for comment. And a spokesman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers declined comment.

Authorities had alleged that 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 went under the name MJM/Manhattan Stakes and Entertainment, or BJM.

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

When he was arrested last May, Rizzi smirked as he strolled into his arraignment in Federal Court and was released on $500,000 bail after his wife posted their Bensonhurst home as bond.

At the time, his lawyer maintained that Rizzi’s operation was merely a legal dating service.

The indictment also claimed Rizzi, who receives a disability pension from the NYPD for an undisclosed injury, 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?"

As for his in-laws, 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.