254: Dan DeSimone – NY Mob, Las Vegas Escort Industry

Retired agent Daniel J. DeSimone served in the FBI for 23 years.

He was initially assigned to the Los Angeles Field Office, before being transferred to the Philadelphia Division, where Dan attained FBI undercover agent certification and performed a variety of undercover assignments.

In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Dan reviews “Operation Casablanca West,” a long-term undercover operation (UCO) conducted in 1998.

He played the undercover role of the manager of an escort service, covertly set up by the FBI to gather evidence of attempts by associates of the New York Gambino crime family to enter the lucrative Las Vegas escort industry, also known as the outcall industry.

Dan and the case agent had to act quickly when, while monitoring intercepted conversations, they learned that three mob enforcers were planning to kidnap, torture and maybe even kill competitors.

Later in his career, Dan was promoted to Chief of Undercover and Sensitive Operations Unit. During the episode, he also provides insights about the undercover program.

Prior to his retirement from the FBI, Dan served as the FBI’s lead to the private sector and, in 2011, was awarded knighthood by Pope Benedict XVI for his career in public service, his actions in his private life, and for leading the 2008 Papal visit to the United States.

Currently, Dan is the Senior Director of Investigative Resources at Thomson Reuters, where he serves as the company’s chief interface with members of law enforcement agencies and corporate security services.

Special Agent (Retired)

Daniel J. DeSimone

February 1988 – 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

“DeCarlo says, ‘You just can’t take these three guys out to the desert and put a bullet in their heads. This is Las Vegas. This ain’t New York. That would get noticed.'”—Retired Agent Dan DeSimone

The following are news articles about “Operation Casablanca West” and the New York mob’s attempt in 1998 to enter the Las Vegas escort industry:

Chicago Tribune – 10/18/1998: MOB GOING HIGH-TECH IN BID TO MOVE IN ON VEGAS SEX INDUSTRY, U.S. SAYS

Tampa Bay Times – 10/15/1998: Two area men charged with escort plan

Daily News – 10/15/1998: Gotti Guys Arrested in Vegas Strong-Arm

Las Vegas Review Journal – 10/14/1998: Top-Notch Work by Federal Agents Keeps Three People Alive

Las Vegas Sun – 3/26/2000: Torture expert gets prison time for extortion plot

Las Vegas Sun – 7/1/2002: Outcall industry proved vulnerable to mob

Check out my blog post and two case reviews of FBI investigations to learn more about the FBI investigations focused on the sex work industry:

The FBI and Strip Clubs?

Episode 021: John Ligato – Mob Guys and Strip Clubs

Bonus Episode: Philadelphia Strip Club Corruption Case, Frank Antico – Pay To Play

Business card in his undercover name used by Dan when he managed an on call business in Las Vegas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the “mini” recording device Dan used to record his conversations with the mob associates. It’s about the size of a cellphone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured are top left – Vinny “The Aspirin” Conguisti, top right – Christiano DeCarlo, bottom L – Kenny Burns, Middle – Mario Stefano, and R – Anton Nelson, all associates of the New York Gambino crime family involved in the plan to take a piece of the Las Vegas escort industry for the mob back east.

 

Exhibit showing extensive surveillance used to monitor activities and prevent mob associates from kidnapping and killing escort service competitors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tools of the trade used by east coast mobsters to convince competitors to cooperate. Drill with bits, rope and dynamite, baseball bat, and metal ice pick.
Dan DeSimone considers the successful reunion of this kidnap boy with his mother, the highlight of his 23 years with the FBI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 250 episodes available for free on all popular podcast apps.

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