Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The fall of onetime high powered attorney, Todd Macaluso: Private planes, Tijuana to Haiti, and hundreds of kilos of cocaine

The fall of onetime high powered attorney, Todd Macaluso: Private planes, Tijuana to Haiti and hundreds of kilos of cocaine


Todd Macaluso, 55, was the cliche of a wealthy lawyer, in many of the ways one would imagine.  His vast Rancho Santa Fe mansion, (ranking affluent neighborhood in Southern California) his private planes, his pilot's license, his younger, blonde instagram pic ready wife, Tonya.  The kind of person whose image summed up a Hollywood version of an out of control, morally bankrupt attorney.

The Lawyer, in younger days
His downfall was also the kind of screenplay that Netflix could spend at least 5 episodes covering. It is a classic Southern California comedy of errors and federal prison, with international locales, and drug traffickers, sun drenched resorts, private planes, high profile attorney's, millions of dollars worth of cocaine.


We will start from the beginning, or where I feel the relevant points are.  In 2008 Macaluso was part of a legal "dream team", to represent Casey Anthony, the young Florida mother accused, and acquitted, of killing her child.  She was largely presumed to be guilty, and the evidence overwhelmingly points to her guilt.  Nevertheless, she was acquitted, in part due to Macaluso and others, including Alan Dershowitz, infamous attorney, tied closely to Jefferey Epstein, the hedge fund fixer, who plead guilty to charges of soliciting minors for sex, in a pedophile ring he ran out of his Palm Beach mansion in the mid 2000's. 

He was just another Rancho Santa Fe guy, earning millions, assumedly to represent clients in cases ranging from Casey Anthony, to former San Diego Charger Shawn Merriman, when he allegedly choked one time reality TV star, Tila Tequila, in his mansion in Poway.  But, he made his name and most of his fortune from personal injury cases, including one linked to San Diego Case and Electric in Carlsbad.

At some point,  before 2015, according to his guilty plea, began a scheme to defraud clients.  Perhaps the lifestyle was too lavish, the spending too reckless, whatever the problems that plague these types, he had them, because he began to defraud clients, including friends, in a scheme that eventually landed him in federal indictment territory, the first of two.  His scheme involved forging the signatures of clients on documents, to use their contracts as collateral, against loans he took from investors to fund his business.

In March 2015 he plead guilty to this offense, and was sentenced in November of that year to five months in prison. He was also disbarred, meaning he had to seek gainful employment when he was released in early 2016.  That wasn't a problem, because he entered into the aviation business, with his lawyer in the case, John Kirby.  The perfect fusion of his interests and passions, with his need for an income, to show his federal probation officer, among other things.  


The Couple
John Kirby is a well known San Diego attorney, he represents white collar offenders, among others, and is well known on the federal trial circuit.  Kirby is also a former AUSA, as many are, who handled many cases against the Arellano-Felix Organization, in their heyday in Tijuana.  He co wrote indictments against many of the arrested, extradited and sentenced members. Then, around 2005, he went into private practice, as is very common.

So, Macaluso forms an aviation business, to fly wealthy clients into Mexico, for 1,000 a trip.  The destination is in Ensenada, El Barril, near a landing strip and resort, that he apparently owned stake in. He was on supervised release, beginning in June 2016, and in frequent contact with his federal probation officer, who had to approve all his trips out of the country.  Macaluso claimed he made 5,000 approx per month with his business.

He had declared at bankruptcy proceedings that he had liabilities of 10-50 million, and assets of only 100,000 to 500,000. The liabilties were dismissed, but he still owed 1.2 million, that could not be waived, as it involved victim restitution and fines he owed to the US government.  He discussed this business and his income with his probation officer during the summer of 2016. Things were going well.  He frequently asked and was granted permission to leave San Diego to Mexico for business.
The (former) home

In early November 2016, as Tijuana's murder rate climbed to 700, which pales the current years, 1450 plus, and CJNG and Sinaloa retail outlets bloodied the streets, Macaluso attended a business meeting.  At that meeting was Humberto Osuna Contreras, (Mateo) and Carlos Almonte Vasquez, and at least one other individual, who would was a DEA cooperating witness  They were introduced by an employee of John Kirby's, Macaluso's partner in the aviation business.

At this meeting, they discussed the transport of a 1500-1800 cargo of cocaine, to be picked up in Ecuador, brought into Honduras, and crossed into Mexico, and assumedly into San Diego, through the Tijuana border. They also discussed his price, which was 30,000 in Haiti, and another 185,000 at a later point. Macaluso is recorded saying his plane, a Gulfstream II could hold 1500 kilos. The group had apparently been meeting since June 2016, and court documents allege Contreras and Vasquez were drug traffickers. 

All of the meetings were recorded, and videotaped.  On November 10th, Macaluso asked his probation officer for permission to travel to Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republican.  There was some confusion by the members of the conspiracy where Port Au Prince was, whether the DR, or in Haiti. His request was not answered, yet he went anyway. 

Macaluso went from Tijuana to Orlando, to Haiti, where the men met again.  These conversations were again recorded and videotaped, the men were subsequently arrested by Haitian authorities, at the request of the DEA agents in Haiti.  The conspirators were then extradited to Brooklyn, New York, were they remained, until Contreras and Vasquez plead guilty, and Macaluso was convicted at trial last week. 

The Pilot
Macaluso claims among other things, that his cell phone held the key to his innocence, backing his claims that he planned to pilot a plane to Ecuador from Haiti to show real estate investment properties to clients.  The phone was apparently lost by Haitian authorities, and the DEA was never in possession of it.  These claims were not admitted into court.

I am curious how it unfolded, whether the cooperating witness was someone Macaluso allowed into his life, someone he met in prison, or whether he was already in the circles of Contreras and Vasquez, and the unknown employee who introduced them.  They all most certainly know the man who sat with them, recording, remembering repeating in affidavits and statements.

And, until his sentencing, where he will likely receive at least an 8 year sentence,(though the minimum is 10) this is where it ends. His court appointed attorney, in a ironic twist, to his days as a legal "superstar" on the dream team, claims he is disappointed in the verdict, but will be vindicated.  We will see.

Perhaps the high powered title isn't accurate, just a man, who had some lucky breaks, and a head start, and believed himself to be everything he was perceived as, betrayed in the end, by yes, a witness, but also his own arrogance.

 For now, he sits in the same MDC as Chapoo Guzman, where he no doubt has his memories of Rancho Santa Fe mansions he owned, and nights on private planes, or out in La Jolla, he also has his delusions of vindication and freedom, and most certainly of his martyrdom.


Sources: San Diego Union Tribune: "Disbarred Rancho Santa Fe Attorney convicted in scheme to fly cocaine load" by Kristina Davis 


39 comments:

  1. I have family that live in Ranch. They have a plane that was houses at the same airport as him. He was known locally as POS after the Casey Anthony thing. Was a big show off, but everyone in the Covenant tries to outspend each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shakespeare had it all figgered out, he 'worte'
      "First we kill all the lawyers"
      These days lawyers have it all figured out, become the implacable prostiturer from a government position and catch all the cash and influence you can, some paragons of american rectitude can see russia from their rectums, and earn medals for their offices in Russia, like rudi giulianni, nice move after being director of police in mexico city for 10 million dollars in one year, which the american president of the US of A makes, unless he selling out the country, the people and the institutions on the side...

      Delete
    2. Shakespeare’s line “first we kill all the lawyers” in Henry VIII is spoken by anarchists. Rather than being a critique of the profession, the line is intended to show the importance of lawyers to maintaining order in society. Don’t worry though, it’s a common misunderstanding 😜

      Delete
  2. The guy had just claimed bankruptcy but could afford a private plane (we are not talking a single engine Cessna)a expensive executive jet like a Gulfstream that's worth more than a few million and he says he only made $1000 a trip.I don't have exact figures but a twin engine jet like that would have a fuel burn of about $3000 worth in just 1 hour.DEA probably caught on to that 1 right away and just the destinations he was going to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly; the probation officer probably notified DEA after his bankrupt parolee came to him with the idea of flying “people” to Mexico for $1000 a trip.

      Delete
  3. Intrigue - ing to say the
    You just cannot make this stuff up !
    Thanks.✌🏽

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a scumbag... Defrauding his 'friends' in order to get the almighty dollar.

    This is the type of guy who smiles in your face then stab you in the back for money... We all know the type...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey at least he wasn't laundering russian dollars for 1/5 th of the investment commission free of other charges, except to allow drug trafficking, prostitution, gambling and more money laundering to cover up the spying operation and getting the FBI in the action to take down the whole Italian Mafia while propping up the Red Mafiya,
      Let's just say Mister Macaluso gambled a bit, dishonestly, and lost big time, badly, but he is not the worst either.

      Delete
  5. Great story J, thanks for writing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Why do Americans refuse to acknowledge that for every Contreras or Vasquez (narco) there are thousands of Americans working to support that one narco's product!

    Lets keep it real...luxury stores like Armani, Gucci and Rolex in Laredo??? Really??? Deutsch & Deutsch is one of Rolex's highest grossing stores in the US! San Antonio's North Star Mall, the Houston Galleria, San Diego's Westfield Malls, Phoenix's Biltmore and the hundreds of luxury stores in Las Vegas would not be open without the Americans spending lots of drug dollars.

    We haven't even mentioned the millions of rounds of ammunition and thousands of guns sold each WEEK in the gun stores that make a line along the US border from Texas to Arizona.

    Lets get real; if narco-trafficking magically stopped; thousands of high rolling US citizens, hundreds of thousands of middle class families, and millions of kids on the corner and single mamas trying to pay rent would be without income. Plus everyone not involved in the narcotrade would immediately feel the economic impact from the enormous stimulus drug dollars give to the overall economy.

    If only a hundred thousand kilos of coke cross the border each day, and every kilo is hypothetically sold to 70 1/2 ounce buyers that same kilo will eventually be cut and 1,800-2,500 grams will be packaged and sold from just one kilo. Now cook that same kilo into rock and you've got 200-400 kids selling on the street and mamas selling $5 and $10 rocks out of their house each day.

    How many US Citizens are likely transporting, distribution, cutting, packaging, selling, collecting bulk cash, then money laundering - which means employing people in stores and restaurants that most times aren't even making money just so they can wash money. You do the math!

    Just Keeping it Real
    Dwight

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dwight,
      Your math sounds pretty right and u ain’t even mentioned the H, crystal, X and mota. Guarantee u there more people here than Mexico doing they dope game.
      Keep keepin it real..lol. Like how u say.

      Delete
    2. With your "cut so much" shit, peepol would be better off sniffing and smoking just the baking soda, (dollar a pound) and their grannies' panties.
      Pinchis drogadictos mariguanos asquerosos sin clase.
      Un esnicker vale $1.00 dollar chinga!
      Selling drugs or hamburgers to each other does not support the american economy and wars for profit, that where the credit card get in, and the reason the chinese own the US now.

      Delete
    3. Sounds like the issue is making that dollar regardless of how it’s made? Moreover, the importance of drug trafficking which employs
      and feeds the economy?
      Which leads to the conclusion; that moral and ethical values are not applied when engaged in drugs or other means to better oneself!
      Where product and demand are continuously met
      for profits.

      Do admit I find your logic interesting!

      Delete
    4. 2:58 - Do traffickers even bring mota into the U.S. anymore? I haven't seen Mexican Dirt Weed for over 10 years in the U.S. Lets be honest, the majority of Mexican farmer's suck at growing that plant..

      Delete
    5. Definitely admire your your candid.
      Continue to keep it real!

      Delete
    6. So correct....America has millions of motivated consumers of drugs. Wait until Donald Chump puts the kybosh on opiates prescribed, and your #'s will multiply by billions. As long as the demand is there, someone will supply it. Dope and electronics are the only things that prices have dropped in the last 20 yrs.

      Delete
    7. @Dwight

      You imply that Deutsch & Deutsch is a "Rolex store" as if it's owned by them but as far as I know it's a high end jewelry store with a Rolex account. That is, it has authorization to sell and advertiser as an official Rolex dealer.

      Prudencio 2.0

      Delete
    8. So as usual, shut bb readers lay 0 blame on shitty mexico. ALWAYS everyone else's fault.

      Delete
    9. 11:39 dear prude, of course, jewelry stores have wide lines of supplies and suppliers, but they have only one goal, making money, no matter where from, and lowly warehouse workers and pool typists are not their main targets...

      Delete
    10. Cocaine is dead.

      Delete
    11. 9:01 Not in the circles I’m in - the circles with lots of descretionary cash.

      Delete
    12. @8:55

      I just had to help myself with a quick nit pick, since I suck at writing, so I might occasionally ambush a fellow BB reader now and then to point out ambiguous writing. Ha, like what you did with "prude" whether intentional or not.

      Prudencio 2.0

      Delete
    13. 11:37; Do you have a job? You must have amazing amounts of time on your hands

      Delete
    14. @4:38

      I have the same amount of time as you, 24 hours in a day. It's how you manage it.

      Prudencio 2.0

      Delete
  7. Ni modo mi attorney me saludas al chapo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 👡esto es una movida checa de La Chapa pa escaparse otra ves.
      Todo esta friameente calculiado en el plan.

      Delete
  8. Dwight,
    Luxury stores? You don't need to become a "narco" to own a $4500 watch.
    “Let’s” talk about Mexico having a middle class that could fit in a carry on. For all of he blame you find with USA, none of this happens without a corrupt Mexican government.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You think I don't know that? My time piece costs over 13k and I ain't that kinda playa! But I do see whose in the shops shopping where I shop and only a small fraction speak English or Spanish grammatically correct so I k or they aren't lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc. My money right from our business all legit but I know damn well there plenty of yayo paying our bills. Cmon now let's keep it real and realize we both have countries with politicians that will do whatever anyone want for booze, beauties, and blow.
      Dwight

      Delete
    2. U do make a point!
      Such high end stores with merchandise like ; Moncler, Specialty jewelers, Gucci and Furnishings
      are being purchased by illegal means.
      Would say a good majority.
      It’s the bling that appeals to many.
      Let’s be realistic for a bit; $3000 jacket purchased by a 20ish year old is a bit much.
      Truly doubt that mommy or daddy purchased it . Moreover, a legitimate job to blow money like that.

      Delete
    3. PENDEJOS, what is wrong with a 20 or 500.00 dollars watch?
      I guess some estupidos still think silk make a monkey a doll.
      Grow up niñitos with dollars, don't grow up to become DOTARDS WITH FIRE trying to extort something from everyone you meet.

      Delete
  9. See US citizens involved in drug business. What do u expect a crook lawyer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 4:25 a wise guy said once "you can rob more with a briefcase than with a machine gun", and he ain't been proven wrong yet.
      Some peepol with mental deficiencies go and hire the worst of the most corrupt lawyers and then go and betray their nation for money, if ot is rubles it is no problemo, according to twitter and Facebook and co. have a good day.

      Delete
  10. Allways a white guy behind the greedy scheams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So u must be white!
      FYI; They come in all different colors, shapes and sizes.
      Let’s be realistic. Greed exists everywhere.
      Money is the root of all evil!
      Know to live within your means and illicit temptations will not overcome!

      Delete
    2. Really? And ways brown and black committing all the other crime.

      Delete
    3. 8:15 Hey! they cold be two or more white guys, and then again there are the 400 pounds guys and anybody else, black, white, chinese and that other race, mmmh the mexicans,

      Delete

Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;

borderlandbeat@gmail.com