By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
The Corrao case was closed in June 1994 after Rostenkowski was indicted on unrelated federal charges. Like Shockwave it ended with no arrest. The drug dealing and police corruption weren't fully investigated. Vazquez said a review of the case showed Sullivan put only "minimal effort" into it. Again, the FBI says, Sullivan had done a lousy job on an investigation. But it didn't keep him from getting another "exceptional" rating or from getting promoted, on April 16, 1995, to supervisor of the task force called HIDTA, the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Investigative funds were put under his control, and he got his own safe for the money. Suddenly the rabid gambler had access to hundreds of thousands of federal dollars.
The details of Sullivan's gambling and ensuing crimes come through the court file in bits and pieces. One thing is clear: He was betting, and stealing, at a wild pace once he became a supervisor.
According to FBI reports, his gambling quickly led him to fall $100,000 in the hole. His life was threatened and, apparently because Sullivan believed the Mob would think twice before killing a federal agent, he admitted to his bookie that he was with the FBI. The Lucchese crime family at some point had a meeting about Sullivan in New York, Sullivan told the FBI, and it was decided that Sullivan would pay $400 a week on the debts.
Sullivan installed a separate phone line in his house so he could bet offshore with 900-number lines. He ran up as much as $4000 a month in phone bills just to make his bets. Wagering hundreds of dollars every night, he also bet thousands on the Florida Lottery.
"I knew I was losing.... I always thought I could win it back," Sullivan told psychologists. "I didn't feel I did anything wrong because I planned to put the money back."
His first major theft of FBI money occurred while he was supervising a major investigation called "Cali Watch," which involved the infamous cocaine cartel. Instead of using $200,000 in money from the FBI headquarters in D.C. for the investigation, Sullivan put the cash -- in tens and twenties -- in his safe and was soon skimming from it as needed for his gambling and debts. Cali Watch, meanwhile, ended, and Washington asked repeatedly for the money. Sullivan, meanwhile, kept coming up with excuses to delay it, and he was successful in those postponements for more than a year. He managed to keep an FBI auditor named Peter Gordon at bay with various excuses. Another agent also got curious about the money, but Sullivan would "always tell him the money was there and that there was no need to count the funds," according to FBI reports.
"All his excuses were plausible," Mallett asserts.
Sullivan also stole another $100,000 in cash that was obtained from an informant, who'd gotten the money from a cocaine-trafficking ring that needed its money laundered. The FBI didn't know that money was stolen until after the investigation ended.
On August 12, 1996, Sullivan was given the job of supervising the organized crime squad. By that time only $60,000 was left of the $200,000. Sullivan told investigators that he simply put the cash in a blue bag when nobody was around and took it with him to his new office.
Seventeen days after his transfer to organized crime, agents seized the nearly $130,000 from Corozzo's safe in Deerfield Beach. The cash went into Sullivan's safe and was soon going to pay for bets and debts. Sullivan lied repeatedly during the next nine months about the money, once telling an inquiring agent that he'd put the money in a safe controlled by the head of the Miami office. After getting caught in a lie on May 15, 1997, Sullivan promised his superiors that he'd enter the money into evidence "as soon as possible."
Just five days later, Sullivan told a federal judge that Danny Laratro, who was serving a five-year prison term for his role in a Mob-related marijuana-smuggling scheme, was giving him information on mobsters infiltrating the garbage-hauling business in South Florida.
Based on Sullivan's testimony, Judge Stanley Marcus shaved 20 months off Laratro's sentence. Sullivan was lying again.
Laratro didn't pass along any information. Sullivan had gotten it from another agent. Sullivan did Laratro, a wealthy garbage hauler, the favor in hopes that Laratro would reward him with money.
Sullivan's involvement with Laratro provides a glimpse into his work with his other "family." During the late '80s, Sullivan used to visit Danny Laratro's father, Lucchese crime family capo Joseph "Joey Narrows" Laratro, in the family's $500,000 Hallandale home.
Sullivan, who was apparently trying to pry information from Joseph Laratro for cases, called the meetings "updates," says Joey Laratro, son of Danny, grandson of Joey Narrows. "He'd come and knock on the door, and they'd just talk about things."
The grandson said the fallen FBI agent still has a good name in the Laratro household. Joey Narrows used to tell relatives: "If this guy [Sullivan] ever comes to the house to arrest me, don't get mad at him. He's a good man. He's a class act. He's just doing his job."