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Criminal Lawyers: Michael Bellagio
by Jerry Guarino

Michael Bellagio was an infamous criminal lawyer, representing the worst persons in the world. He almost never lost a case, but his methods were suspect. The New York Bar Association had tried to take his license several times, but never succeeded. In short, he was like a mafia don, protected by a network of miscreants.

A new potential client came to his office in Brooklyn. A tall, dark-haired woman, in her 30s, dressed fashionably in a silk dress.

“Mr. Bellagio. My name is Susan Mariucci. I need a lawyer.”

“Have a seat ma’am. How can I help you?”

“My husband has been stealing money from his company and he may be trying to implicate me.”

“How can he do that?”

“I’m the bookkeeper.”

“Oh, I see. How much are we talking about and when did this start?”

“About $500,000 over the past five years, but I didn’t know what he was doing.”

“How is that possible if you were the bookkeeper?”

“Well, he gave me dummy information and kept a separate set of books detailing the scheme.”

“And who kept the actual books?”

“His mistress, Angela Falcone.”

“Are you seeking a divorce?”

“Yes, but he doesn’t know it yet. Are you also a divorce lawyer?”

“No, just a criminal. I mean a criminal defense lawyer.”

“All right, my main goal is to stay out of jail.”

“Of course, that’s my specialty. I’ve represented all sorts of people wrongly accused of malfeasance. Mostly business people, but also professional doctors, teachers and family members of crooks, especially politicians. You wouldn’t believe how many wives are taken down by their husbands or boyfriends.”

“So, you think you can help me? I don’t have much money.”

Bellagio took a long look at the comely client.

“We’ll work something out. What is your husband’s name and the company?”

“John Mariucci. He owns the Italian Sports Tavern in Chelsea.”

“Hmm. Does he also have a back room for card playing?”

“Yes, how did you know?”

“These Italian American restaurants are often a front for gambling. But stealing from that clientele can be risky.”

“I’ll take your case. I’d like to continue our conversation later. Can you bring me the books and business papers?”

“Yes. When?”

“At my Manhattan office, around six tonight. Here is the address. Unless you think your husband may be suspicious.”

“No, he always works late on Thursday nights, with the whore mistress. He takes me for granted.”

“A fool, indeed. I’ll see you tonight.”

Bellagio’s other office was a small condo, only for clients who needed secrecy. It was a studio for entertaining with the necessary items for intimate meetings, either for avoiding law enforcement or to meet with the wives of his clients. Meanwhile, he researched the tavern online, then sent one of his associates to check it out.


“It’s just like you suspected boss. An Italian bar with gambling in the back. Looks like a lot of money changing hands there. Professional gamblers, likely wise guys.”

“They must use gambling for money laundering. He’s probably not paying his taxes. Thanks Nicky.”

“Is there anything else?”

“Yes, find Angela Falcone. She’s the mistress. Get some pictures of her and Mariucci. They should be together tonight, probably at the bar or her place.”

“On it boss.”

Meanwhile, Bellagio schemed about a way to get rid of his client’s problem while ensuring a way to benefit from her financial distress. He decided on Occam’s Razor, the simplest solution is often the best course of action.


Susan Mariucci arrived at his condo, with business papers in hand. But Bellagio didn’t want to examine those. Susan looked at the outwardly plain condo and rang the bell. Bellagio greeted her.

“So good of you to come here. Sometimes we need to use this place to protect our clients from harm.”

“Thank you. That’s very kind.”

“My associate did confirm that the tavern is a front for gambling and money laundering. You were unaware of any illegal activity?”

“I had no idea.”

“Good. We need to distance you from his ill-gotten gains. And I was also able to confirm your husband’s affair with Miss Falcone. Do you want to see pictures?”

“No. But I’ll need them for the divorce.”

“Fine. I’ll hold them. Let’s see your business records. Can you spread them out on the desk?”

“Yes, thank you. May I have a drink of water?”


Bellagio opened a bottle of red wine and brought it to the couch with some cheese and crackers. “I hope this will do.”

“Oh, that’s very kind. You didn’t have to go to such trouble.”

He toasted Susan and they clinked glasses. “To absolve you from any crimes and get you away from that cheating husband.”

Susan smiled and sat a bit closer to Bellagio.

“I feel better already.”

After a bit of small talk about the business records, with Bellagio supporting her, he leaned in for a kiss. Susan didn’t resist. They spent the rest of the session in bed.


The next day, Bellagio called up one of his more violent associates and gave them the assignment, to take care of John Mariucci. It was due to be done that night.

The thug entered the tavern at closing and took care of business, leaving the owner lying in his own blood.

Police investigated the murder and contacted Susan Mariucci. Although in great shock and some relief, she wondered if her lawyer had arranged this.

“Did you look at the security camera tape?”

The police hadn’t found any. “There aren’t any cameras.”

“Oh, they are hidden in the ceiling smoke alarms and behind the bar. I’ll show you.”

“And where is the recording?”

“It’s online. I’ll give you the website and password.”

The police were able to identify the killer and picked him up. He was caught on video but wasn’t going down alone.

“Michael Bellagio hired me to kill Mr. Mariucci. I have a recording of him doing this and payment for my work, $10,000.”

Michael Bellagio was arrested and booked for conspiracy to commit murder. Susan Mariucci turned states’ evidence against her husband, inherited the tavern and sold it, taking the money and moving to Florida, where she lived happily with Nicky.

Criminal Lawyers by Jerry Guarino
Copyright March, 2023 – All Rights Reserved