Chiro Held on Money Laundering
MIAMI (AP) _ A Massachusetts chiropractor with a rare Ferrari was held without bond Friday on a money laundering charge tied to his planned sale of the motorized gem to an FBI agent posing as the Russian owner of a high-priced call-girl ring.
Coincidentally, Dr. John Bisanti, an Italian-born U.S. citizen, is under investigation for health care fraud at a clinic that he operated with his brother in Springfield, Mass.
Bisanti came to the attention of the FBI in Miami after the money-laundering arrest last month of Irv David of Prestige Imports, where the $700,000 Ferrari race car was on consignment.
David became an informant and told investigators that Bisanti was offering himself as an executive of Portofino International Bank and could help people evade U.S. income taxes by setting up accounts at the bank on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, said defense attorney Dohn Williams.
Enter the FBI agent with the Eastern European accent brandishing photographs of nude women obtained from a previous investigation. He tells Bisanti that one is a 16-year-old who prostitutes herself for $3,000 a night.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Gregorie played a tape of a conversation between the undercover agent and Bisanti, whose discussion of the sale of the Ferrari led to the matter of opening accounts at Portofino for future laundering.
The agent agreed to pay $650,000 for the car and made a partial payment of $400,000 just before Bisanti’s arrest Monday. The agent told Bisanti that he planned to ship the car to Russia and sell it at a loss if necessary but have laundered cash in the end.
Gregorie told U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Simonton that there is only one other 1998 Ferrari like Bisanti’s, and it is in a museum.
Williams offered equity in the clinic, Bisanti’s brother’s house and his mother’s house to cover bond and said Bisanti would agree to house arrest at the clinic, which also has living quarters.
But Simonton noted Bisanti’s finances from the $500,000-a-year clinic practice were structured ``so any assets he has are hidden and protected.″ Based on that, she said she couldn’t figure out any bond conditions that would guarantee Bisanti isn’t a flight risk.
Outside court, Williams told Gregorie that he hopes Bisanti is indicted quickly to give him another shot at bond before the trial judge. Prosecutors must indict him or outline their case in detail by Dec. 1 unless Bisanti agrees to a delay.