Anthony Pellicano (born March 22, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois) is a former high-profile Los Angeles private investigator. He served a term of thirty months in a federal prison for illegal possession of explosives, firearms and homemade grenades, and in 2008 began serving an additional sentence for subsequent convictions for other crimes including racketeering and wiretapping. Several other people were also convicted of crimes associated with their involvement with his illegal activities, including his actress girlfriend Sandra Will Carradine (ex-wife of Keith Carradine), film director John McTiernan, Beverly Hills police officer Craig Stevens, Los Angeles police sergeant Mark Arneson, and attorney Terry Christensen. As of August 2018, Pellicano is incarcerated in California and scheduled for release from prison in 2019.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Related investigations
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Prior to his first conviction, Pellicano was employed as a private investigator by Hollywood celebrities for a large retainer because of his reputation for solving their problems, particularly those problems with the tabloid press. An investigation into Pellicano began after journalist Anita Busch found her car had been vandalized in 2002. The windshield was broken and a dead fish and rose were left on the car along with a sign that said "Stop".
On November 21, 2002, FBI agents raided the offices of Pellicano. A threat had been made against film producer Julius R. Nasso, who was suing Steven Seagal. The FBI was looking for evidence that Pellicano was involved in making the threat against Nasso. The FBI agents found two practice grenades which were modified to function as homemade bombs and military-grade C-4 plastic explosive. Pellicano pleaded guilty to the illegal possession of dangerous materials. His sentence was thirty months in federal prison. His date of release was to be February 4, 2006. On February 3, Pellicano was transferred to the federal detention center, in Downtown Los Angeles to face new charges.
On February 4, 2006, Pellicano was formally arrested on additional charges. On February 6, 2006, in United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, Pellicano was indicted on 110 counts. His alleged crimes included racketeering, conspiracy, wiretapping, witness tampering, identity theft and destruction of evidence. Specifically, Pellicano was charged with receiving unlawfully accessed confidential records on celebrities and public figures from members of the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments. For example, prosecutors alleged that Pellicano tapped the phones of Sylvester Stallone and Keith Carradine and accessed the confidential police records of Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon. On February 15, 2006, the indictment was amended to include further charges of wiretapping and extortion. Pellicano was denied bail. On June 7, 2006, the Associated Press reported that Pellicano performed an illegal background check on a law enforcement official who was investigating a fake passport scheme involving Pellicano's client, Christopher Rocancourt.
On May 15, 2008, he and four others (Mark Arneson, Ray Turner, Kevin Kachikian, and Abner Nicherie) were found guilty of various charges involving wiretapping, racketeering, wire fraud, and computer fraud. Pellicano had represented himself in the trial, and had not testified in his own defense. (Abner Nicherie's conviction was later overturned on appeal.)
In August 2008, Pellicano was convicted of wiretapping and conspiracy to commit wiretapping in the District Federal Court in Los Angeles. In December, 2008, the court denied Pellicano's request for concurrent sentencing. Fifteen years were added to Pellicano's prison sentence and he was fined $2,000,000. On August 7, 2011, Pellicano gave his first interview to Newsweek magazine. On July 5, 2012, Pellicano's bail hearing was postponed due to poor health. The following day Tom Cruise was accused of conspiring with Pellicano to create a wiretap during Cruise's divorce from Nicole Kidman.
On August 29, 2008, Pellicano was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wiretapping. Specifically, Pellicano had recorded phone conversations of Kirk Kerkorian's ex-wife, Lisa Kerkorian, in an effort to disprove her claims that Kerkorian was the father of her daughter. Sentencing was scheduled for November, 2008 then deferred to December 15, 2008. Pellicano was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the majority of his convictions, overturning only two for aiding and abetting computer fraud and unauthorized computer access. The most serious convictions, for running a criminal enterprise, remain intact.
Pellicano is currently serving his time in a federal prison in Texas and is scheduled for release in 2019 at the age of 75.
Carradine and Stevens
On January 11, 2006, Pellicano's girlfriend Sandra Will Carradine (the ex-wife of Keith Carradine, who had hired Pellicano in preparation for her divorce, leading to his wiretapping of Keith Carradine's phone line) and veteran Beverly Hills police officer Craig Stevens pleaded guilty to lying about Pellicano's crimes.
Arneson, Turner, and Kachikian
Los Angeles police sergeant Mark Arneson and phone company technician Rayford Turner were convicted of racketeering for their roles in helping Pellicano. Pellicano bribed Arneson to obtain access to law enforcement databases, and paid Turner for technical information about how to set up wiretaps. Pellicano, Arneson, and Turner were ordered to repay more than $2 million obtained from the racketeering.
Software developer Kevin Kachikian was convicted of creating software used to record phone conversations.
In 2007, Israeli businessman and previously convicted swindler Daniel Nicherie was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to hiring Pellicano to wiretap another Hollywood businessman. As of late 2006, Nicherie was the seventh person to plead guilty in relation to the Pellican investigation and the fifth to confirm Pellicano's involvement in wiretapping.
Daniel Nicherie's brother Abner Nicherie was initially convicted for aiding and abetting a wiretapping of the phone of the husband of a woman whose business he wanted to take over, but his conviction was vacated in 2015.
Robert Joseph Pfeifer, at the time an executive at Hollywood Records, was a friend of Pellicano. Pfeifer was arrested on February 3, 2006, and charged with unlawful wiretapping and conspiracy. Pfeifer's then girlfriend, Erin Finn, assisted the FBI lead agent Stanley Ornellas in the investigation of Pfeifer and Pellicano.
On April 3, 2006, film director John McTiernan was charged with lying to the FBI about his relationship with Pellicano. On April 17, 2006, McTiernan pleaded guilty to the charge. On September 24, 2007, he was sentenced to four months in prison. The sentence was later increased to twelve months, and ultimately he was incarcerated in federal prison from April 2013 to February 2014.
Dennis Wasser represented Tom Cruise in his divorce proceedings against Nicole Kidman. Wasser retained Pellicano. Tapes of telephone conversations from 2001, made shortly after the announcement of the divorce, were found in Pellicano's offices in 2002. Wasser was not charged but was made a person of interest.
Bert Fields was the subject of a federal grand jury investigation into illegal wiretapping, but was not charged with committing a crime.
The Los Angeles Times reported: "Prosecutors are using the grand jury to investigate allegations involving Anthony Pellicano, a private investigator who worked for Fields and other entertainment industry figures. Investigators have told several of those they have questioned that they believe Pellicano wiretapped them. They are seeking to determine whether people who hired Pellicano may have authorized the surveillance or been aware of it."
Bert Fields, who regularly hired Pellicano, denied any knowledge of Pellicano's crimes:
"I've been told that I am a subject, not a target, of the investigation," Fields said. "But I have never in any case had anything to do with illegal wiretapping. I don't do that."
On May 28, 2004, Anita Busch, reporter for the Los Angeles Times, commenced a civil action against Pellicano, alleging harassment, including a death threat made in 2002:
- "In 2002 Anita Busch discovered a dead fish with a red rose in its mouth and a sign reading "Stop" on the cracked windshield of her car. At the time she was writing about Steven Seagal and Mike Ovitz, both clients of Pellicano. The trail eventually led to his office where FBI agents discovered plastic explosives, grenades, pistols and about $200,000 in cash in Pellicano's safe. He pleaded guilty to weapons charges and went to prison."
Bonder, Kerkorian, Bing, and Christensen
The businessman Kirk Kerkorian was married to Lisa Bonder. In August 2006, attorneys acting for Bonder sued the attorneys acting for Kerkorian. They accused Kerkorian's attorneys of retaining Pellicano to wiretap Bonder's phone during the divorce proceedings of Bonder and Kerkorian that involved a paternity dispute.
Pellicano also investigated movie producer Steve Bing, who was a friend of Kerkorian. He took a strand of Bing's used dental floss and used it to prove that Bing was the father of Bonder's daughter. Between June 2000 and August 2002, Bing paid Pellicano $335,000. Between April and May, 2002, Pellicano may have bragged to the attorney of Kerkorian that Bing had retained his services in relation to Bing being the father of another child with Elizabeth Hurley. However, Bing, through his attorney Martin Singer, later denied this, as did Pellicano.
Attorney Terry Christensen was convicted of racketeering for hiring Pellicano to tap Bonder's phone, and received a three-year prison sentence.
During the night of November 27, 1997, a five-month-old girl disappeared from the home of her parents, Steven and Marlene Aisenberg. In 1999, Pellicano was an FBI wiretap consultant in the investigation of the Aisenbergs, who were charged with making false statements to police. In 2001, the charges were dismissed after county detectives lied about obtaining warrants to wiretap and lied about the content of the wiretap recordings.[not in citation given]
Pellicano represented the Chicago mobster Anthony "the Ant" Spilotro, charged with monitoring the Las Vegas casino and skimming for the Chicago mob. Pellicano served a subpoena and gave a warning from Spilotro to Gustave Reininger, co-creator of the NBC television drama Crime Story.
- Federal Bureau of Prisons Accessed August 16, 2018.
- Lasden M. "The Pellicano effect." California Lawyer Magazine. Accessed at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, December 21, 2010.
- Shprintz J. "Stallone is queried in sleuth case."Variety November 18, 2003. Accessed October 17, 2006.
- "Private eye indicted."[dead link]
- https://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2628&ncid=2628&e=21&u=/ap/20060607/ap_on_re_us/hollywood_wiretaps_1. Retrieved July 14, 2011. Missing or empty
- "Pellicano's wiretap trial pushed to August." Associated Press report, Variety November 20, 2006. Accessed 18 December 2013.
- Hall C. and Abdollah T. "Private Eye to the Stars is Guilty." Los Angeles Times. May 15, 2008. Accessed May 16, 2008.
- Barnes B. "Pellicano and a lawyer convicted in wiretapping." The New York Times. August 29, 2008. Accessed December 15, 2008.
- Barnes B. "15 years for Hollywood investigator." Associated Press. The New York Times. December 15, 2008. Accessed December 15, 2008.
- Pelisek C. "Anthony Pellicano: the Hollywood phone hacker breaks his silence." Newsweek August 7, 2011. Accessed February 12, 2013. Archived July 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Anthony Pellicano bail hearing postponed." Hollywood Reporter. July 5, 2012. Accessed February 12, 2013.
- Howard D. "Tom Cruise accused of wiretap conspiracy with convicted criminal Anthony Pellicano during Nicole Kidman divorce (exclusive)." Celebuzz website. July 6, 2012. Accessed February 12, 2013.
- "Investigator to the stars convicted." The New York Times May 16, 2008. Accessed February 12, 2013.
- Blum H. and Connolly J.""The Pellicano brief"" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2006-02-09. Retrieved 2006-01-13. Vanity Fair March, 2004 page 222. Accessed December 18, 2013.
- Johnson, Ted (August 25, 2015). "Anthony Pellicano Faces Re-Sentencing After Court Overturns Convictions". Variety. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- Shprintz, Janet; McClintock, Pamela (September 24, 2007). "John McTiernan sentenced to prison: 'Die Hard' director lied to FBI about Pellicano". Variety. Archived from the original on January 4, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Finke, Nikki (December 12, 2006). "Co-Defendant Cops Guilty Plea In Pellicano Scandal; Big Victory For Feds". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
- Krikorian G. "Music figure held in Pellicano case." Los Angeles Times February 5, 2006. Accessed December 21, 2010.
-  The Statesman Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- "FBI quiz Kidman in wiretap probe." Digital spy. Archived December 21, 2010, at WebCite
- Cruz G. "Anthony Pellicano." Time December 14, 2008.
- "Lawyer files suit over alleged wiretapping." Los Angeles Times. August 10, 2006. Dead url.[dead link]
- Halbfinger D. M. "Billionaire reports a shakedown in Hollywood." The New York Times April 20, 2006. Accessed April 12, 2007.
- Halbfinger D. M. "Hollywood evidence raises questions." The New York Times. April 12, 2007.
- Philips, Chuck. "Jail Bars Reporter Who Was Let In to Speak With Pellicano". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
- 358 F3d 1327 United States v. B Aisenberg Open Jurist organisation website. December 21, 2010.
- Halbfinger D. M. and Weiner A. H. "Court files, Hollywood's Mr. fix-it at work." New York Times. May 21, 2007.
- Auletta K. "Hollywood Ending." The New Yorker, July 24, 2006.
- Burrough B. and Connolly J. "Inside Hollywood's big wiretap scandal." Vanity Fair June, 2006. Archived May 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Halbfinger D. M. Hollywood detective accused of ordering 'hit' on witness." The New York Times May 10, 2006. Accessed February 12, 2013.
- Welkos R. W. "Lawyer to celebrities is subject of inquiry." Los Angeles Times February 7, 2006. Archived December 21, 2010, at WebCite
- Krikorian G. and Blankstein A. "Pellicano and six others are indicted." Los Angeles Times February 6, 2006. Archived December 21, 2010, at WebCite
- Blum H. and Connolly J.""The Pellicano brief."" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2006-02-09. Retrieved 2006-01-13. Vanity Fair March 2004. Accessed February 12, 2013.
- List of articles about Pellicano articles. The Los Angeles Times 2006.
- Anthony Pellicano on IMDb .
- Auletta "Deadline Hollywood," The New Yorker July 16, 2006.[dubious ]
- Announcement of Pellicano biography by John Connolly.
- Sixty-page indictment against Pellicano and six others. February 6, 2006.
- Superseding indictment charging Pellicano attorney associate. The Smoking Gun website. February 15, 2006.[dubious ]
- Copy of Busch's lawsuit against Pellicano The Smoking Gun website.
- Details of Pellicano's campaign contribution to Bill Clinton News Meat website.
- https://www.visualize.co.id/biografi-singkat-anthony-pellicano-dari-debt-collector-ke-tokoh-film-hollywood/ Website with links to media articles about Pellicano.[dead link]
-  Anthony Pellicano weblinks blog.
- "Private investigators of the stars." Drakonx website.[dubious ]
-  Anthony Pellicano victims blog.