We all know that playing poker can make you do crazy things. You might stay up all night grinding away online or you might take a last minute trip to Vegas and blow too much money at the poker tables, but most gamblers know when to stop. However, there are some who take the game to extremes and will do just about anything to make back the money they lost at the tables. Michael Melillo is one such player who took his losses a bit too far.
Melillo had lost about 100,000 while playing poker over the years and he finally snapped. The Palm Beach Gardens man decided that he needed to make sure his losses did not affect his young son so he needed to make money quickly. Melillo partnered with another man, Pavlos ‘Paul’ Kaimacliotis to create a kidnapping plan.
The two men planned on kidnapping a wealthy man and extorting millions from the man’s family. However, the FBI was able to thwart the plan and both Melillo and Kaimacliotis were arrested before they put their plan in action.
The investigation began when a witness told federal agents what Melillo planned to do. Melillo was planning on kidnapping a multi millionaire and then open offshore bank accounts where he could launder the money that would be given to him by the victim’s family in exchange for his life. Melillo even stated that he would go as far as cutting off the kidnapped man’s fingers or other body parts to get the money if the family did not pay up.
The witness was told that Melillo created the plan to get ‘revenge’. Melillo lost $100,000 over the past few years and the he thought the man he was planning on kidnapping had earned some of his losses. Melillo also stated he wanted to set his toddler up for a good quality life.
Undercover FBI agents worked on the case and they approached Melillo many times at a Starbucks to plan the kidnapping. The investigators were able to find out the spot after the kidnapping took place as well as how he should research the kidnapping.
Melillo also told undercover agents that he would ask for at least $15 million from the victim’s family and he would not accept any less than $7.5 million. Melillo admitted that he had been planning the kidnapping for years and he went so far as to give $5,000 in cash to an undercover agent as well as give information on the man he intended to kidnap.
The undercover agent then ‘kidnapped’ the man and sent Melillo a stage picture of the victim, who seemed to be injured. Melillo then spoke to a woman who he thought was the victim’s wife. The plan was elaborate and once Melillo picked up the ‘ransom’ he was arrested in the parking lot. The victim is fine and both Melillo and Kaimacliotis are now in custody and plan on appearing in court this week.
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