Excerpted from CULLOTTA – The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster and Government Witness.
Frank was in the Jubilation lounge one night when he was introduced to Sherwin “Jerry” Lisner, known in the Las Vegas underworld as a scam artist. He disliked Lisner from the start. In his opinion, Lisner was a flamboyant braggart, and a scheming little weasel. To Frank, Lisner wasn’t a real crook, only a wannabe. Personal feelings aside, he kept an open mind regarding possible future business deals.
Lisner contacted Frank later and asked him to come in on a scam he wanted to work on a man in Florida. “This guy’s got a lot of money,” Lisner said. “I’m sure we can take him in a money- laundering deal.”
Frank was curious. “What kind of money are we talking?”
“I think we can get a hundred and seventy-five thousand out of him.”
“How? How are you going to do it?”
“Here’s the setup. I’ll tell him I’ve got some money, about four hundred thousand, that I want to wash because the serial numbers are in sequence. I’ll say I’m willing to swap my cash for a hundred and seventy-five thousand in clean money. Once the guy bites, we’ll pull the scam. I know how to do it, and I’ve got a brother-in-law that’s a cop in Washington, D.C. who’ll work with us.”
Frank digested the information for a few moments. “How do I fit in?”
“You’d help me set it up and then come with me to D. C. to exchange the money. We’ll fix up an attaché case with a row of hundred dollar bills on top of stacks of singles. You give the guy a quick peek in the case and it will look like it holds a lot more money than it does. You’ll swap cases and we’ll leave with the hundred and seventy-five grand. As the other guy is walking away with the case he got from us, my brother-in-law will arrest him. He’ll confiscate the money and then turn him loose. The victim will be thankful he didn’t go to jail. We end up with both cases and the sucker will never even realize what happened. We’ll all be clean.”