NEW YORK CITY – A retired NYPD officer was charged with running 58 escort websites.
Michael Rizzi was arrested at his home Tuesday morning by Homeland Security Investigations agents and New York City Police Department officers.
He was charged with prostitution and money laundering, and will appear in federal court later Tuesday.
Rizzi retired on medical disability and receives a city pension.
In the criminal complaint, Rizzi is quoted discussing his service.
He told one prospective female employee to google “escorts in nyc” and “I’m number one for a reason… I get the most business, my girls make the most money, my clients are the wealthiest people in the world.”
According to the criminal complaint, two female employees “knew they were interviewing to be prostitutes and believed that was clear. At the interviews, Rizzi commented that they could decide what sexual acts to engage in with the clients. Neither believed she was a non-sexual ‘time companion’ when working for Rizzi.”
One client requested an eight hour appointment at the Park Central Hotel. The client was provided with prices — $600 per hour, $7,200 for a 12-hour appointment (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and $8,400 for a 14-hour appointment (6 p.m. to 8 a.m.).
The escorts he is accused of providing charged anywhere from $400 to $2,000 an hour.
One client allegedly requested a five-day appointment that included an escort trip to a private resort in Jamaica.
BJM is believed to have made millions of dollars, including more than $2 million in credit card payments from October 2012 to March 2016.
Its services were advertised on more than 50 websites, and Rizzi allegedly used personal and business bank accounts to promote it by laundering more than $112,000 to Electronic Merchant Services for processing some $2 million in customer credit card transactions, nearly $200,000 was disbursed through Paychex for employee salaries, $25,000 to tollforwarding.com for forwarding phone numbers listed on his various websites to phone bookers, and $10,000 went through godaddy.com, where he registered more than 80 websites relating to BJM, the Justice Department stated.
On at least 58 websites Rizzi is accused of running, there were allegedly photographs of about 25 to 30 women appearing in lingerie, bikinis or topless, all listed alongside a “donation.”
“Rizzi, a former police officer, once entrusted to enforce the law now finds himself accused of breaking it by allegedly laundering money from the proceeds of an online prostitution ring,” said Homeland Security Investigations New York Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez.
He is expected to be charged with money laundering, according to a police source.
If convicted, Rizzi faces a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.
BJM is a successor to Pure Platinum Models, which closed in 2014 and ended with its owner being convicted of laundering more than $1 million, according to the Justice Department.