NEW YORK — A former officer of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was sentenced Thursday after being found guilty of conspiring to launder the proceeds of a prostitution enterprise. The arrest and subsequent conviction followed an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York.
Michael Rizzi, 45, of Staten Island, NY, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, ordered to forfeit 58 websites and $120,247 seized from merchant accounts, as well as the Florida vacation home that the he had purchased using proceeds of his prostitution operation. The sentencing followed his guilty plea to one count of conspiring to launder the proceeds of a prostitution enterprise between June 2012 and May 2016.
As detailed in prior court filings, Rizzi operated a prostitution service under the name BJM/Manhattan Stakes and Entertainment (BJM). BJM advertised its services on dozens of websites, including nycescortsnyc.com, and eliteescortsnyc.com, among others. BJM employed phone bookers to arrange appointments between prostitutes and BJM’s customers, as well as drivers who collected cash and receipts from BJM’s prostitutes.
The prostitutes working for BJM charged their customers as much as $2,000 per hour. The investigation into the company’s financial records has revealed that several of BJM’s clients spent more than $100,000 on the company’s services, and that some clients paid more than $25,000 for a single night. Over the course of its operations, BJM collected millions of dollars in payments, including more than $2 million in credit card payments between October 2012 and March 2016.
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.