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About two weeks later, the same thing happened while he and Dalia were at CityPlace in West Palm Beach. Police officers said they'd gotten a tip that there were drugs under the spare tire of his Chevy Tahoe. Sure enough, they found a Newport cigarette box that contained two small baggies of cocaine. But once again, Dippolito avoided arrest. He told the officers he'd been set up before and that he suspected his ex-wife was behind the ploy.
At 8 a.m. April 2, Boynton Beach Police were called to the Dippolito house when a neighbor complained that a "dealer" and his girlfriend were having a domestic dispute. When cops knocked, the Dippolitos admitted they had been arguing about money.
Another day, Michael was on the way to the gym when he found a note on his truck that seemed straight out of a cheesy Hollywood thriller. "Bring $40,000 9:30 am. Back to this parking space and put it under the car parked behind you," the note said. "Do not tell anyone. Especially your wife. I will tell you all that has happen [sic] to you, is happening to you and will happen on Friday. Tell no one — come alone." It was signed, "Someone who will help you."
By the time Michael Dippolito contacted Boynton Beach Police about the note in late May, his patience was beginning to fray. The officer who interviewed him wrote that Dippolito "appeared overly paranoid, expressing extreme concern for his welfare and safety. Michael, in his own words stated, 'I wish whoever this is, will just break my car windows, or even just shoot me and get it over with already.' "
That's when Dippolito revealed his past ties to the Bonanno crime family. He told the officer that before he was arrested for running the investment scam, "he was involved with two subjects from Boynton Beach who were recently arrested and linked to organized crime," according to a police report. Brothers Pasquale and Joseph Rubbo, still on probation for their previous boiler room scam, had been indicted on federal racketeering charges six days earlier.
Trusting that information, the Boynton Beach Police officer concluded it must be Michael's old mob friends who were trying to spook him.
Of course, that conclusion didn't account for one wild card: Dalia.
According to the informant, it became increasingly difficult for Dalia to conceal from Michael that she had stolen his money. In desperation, the informant said, she told Michael she was pregnant so that her husband would forgive her. But that ruse couldn't last. Her way of solving the problem was to get rid of him by sending him to prison or having him killed so her mistakes would be forgotten and she could take his house, his cars, and his cash.
Once, at a clothing store in Riviera Beach, she pulled her friend the informant aside and asked if he knew a hit man who could kill her husband. "I know you're short on money," he remembered her telling him. "I got you if you could do this for me."
When he yelled back, "I don't want nothing to do with it," some men outside the store overheard. They had been hitting on Dalia when she walked in, scantily clad and perfectly coifed. She was so alluring that the men offered to commit the murder themselves. The informant said they drove off with her to survey her townhouse but soon came back to report it was an impossible task. "Yo, that girl's crazy," the informant remembered them saying. "The guy's got security cameras all over the house."
After that attempt failed, Dalia began asking people to help her plant drugs in Michael's car. She told the informant about the incident in Manalapan, when she stashed drugs in her husband's gas tank but the police didn't find them.
Continued the informant: "The next day, she called me saying, 'Oh, he flipped out. I tried to do it without killing him.' " She said Michael had found the drugs. His mother and friends suggested Dalia was to blame, but Michael defended her.
Later, Michael would tell police: "Everybody around me knows about all this crazy shit, and they all knew something was wrong."
Dalia was undeterred. At one point, the informant said, she claimed to have researched odorless antifreeze online and laced Michael's tea with it. But he took a sip and spat it out.
As her desperation to kill her husband increased, Dalia also carried on an affair with an unidentified man from California. Cell phone records reveal she was texting the man — named Mike — July 24, telling him she loved him and arranging to meet him at a Marriott somewhere in South Florida.
"Im excited to see you," Mike wrote. "Wish we were on the couch together, sure babe i love u..."
"Love u so much wish we were in the city lol," Dalia wrote back.
Six days later, the informant met Dalia at a gas station and left her in the car while he went inside to buy cigarettes. When he returned, he noticed Dalia had grabbed his gun out of the glove compartment and put it in her purse. That was the last straw. "I told her to get the hell out of the car," the informant said.