By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
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By Kyle Swenson
The next day, she offered him $5,000 or $6,000 to buy a gun for her. He refused. Giving up on him, Dalia insisted she'd simply hire someone else to do it. So he went to the police.
Listening to this story, the Boynton Beach detectives asked the informant if Michael was violent. Was it possible Dalia was afraid and considering self-defense?
"She claims he's violent," the informant said. But "from the people that I know that know him — I don't know him personally — but from the business he was in, say that he's a really nice guy. I mean, he forgave her for $200,000."
He added that Dalia in the past had described Michael as kind. "He's the nicest, sweetest nerd, but she can't stand him."
So the police put a hidden video camera in the informant's car and arranged for him to meet Dalia at a Mobil station in Boynton Beach. With the camera rolling, the informant friend asked her one more time if it was worth killing her husband for his money.
"It's not even over the fucking money," said an exasperated yet still sweet-tongued Dalia, dressed in a tank top and a baseball cap. "Like, you don't fucking get it... It's about, like, his fucking friends and all that other shit."
She explained Michael's friends were linked to organized crime, and "he knows a lot of people. Me going and fucking filing for divorce — he'll come after my fucking ass. Period."
The informant sounded miserable. The camera showed only the back of his shaved head, but his voice was thick and annoyed, as if he wanted nothing more than to flee the car. But first he needed to make sure Dalia was serious about hiring the hit man.
"OK, so after he kills him or whatever... [Michael's] mom is not gonna be suspicious of you?" the informant asked.
"Why me?" Dalia replied. "Do you know what fucking killing somebody is? Killing somebody? Come on. Nobody's gonna be able to point a finger at me."
She was certain everyone would be convinced Michael's mob friends were to blame, because she would accuse them. "I'm gonna throw all their fucking names in, and I don't care," she said.
She promised her friend that after the hit was done, they would "never talk about it again." Then she handed him $1,200 in cash for the hit man he was to hire.
On August 3, an undercover cop posing as the hit man drove to meet Dalia in a CVS parking lot. Once again, the conversation was videotaped. Dalia had her hair in a ponytail, which she kept smoothing with one hand. She looked young, slightly nervous, but still flirtatious.
"I'm a lot tougher than what I look," she told the cop. "I know you're thinking, Oh what a cute little girl," she laughed. "But I'm not."
"You are," the cop told her. "You're extremely beautiful."
"Thank you," Dalia said, batting her eyelashes. "But I just want to make sure everything's gonna get taken care of."
They negotiated a fee for the murder, and she discussed her husband's schedule the day he was to be shot. "Between now and when it's done, you're not gonna have an opportunity to change your mind," he warned her.
"There's no changing," she assured him. "I'm positive, like 5,000 percent sure."
On August 5, the stage was set. Following the plan she had made with the supposed hit man, Dalia left for the gym at 6 a.m. The police then drove to her house and set up a fake crime scene. They blocked off the entrance with yellow tape, propped open the door, and parked a squad car out front with its lights flashing ominously.
Meanwhile, they informed Michael Dippolito of his wife's plot and whisked him off to safety at police headquarters.
An officer called Dalia at the gym and told her to return home immediately. As if on cue, she collapsed, sobbing, in an officer's arms at the news of Michael's death. The police filmed the scene, and the footage made national news.
Overnight, Michael Dippolito became a celebrity victim. Dressed in a button-down shirt and flanked by his lawyers, Dippolito, his voice halting, told Matt Lauer on the Today Show how stunned he was by his wife's actions. "It hasn't sunk in. I don't really get what really happened," he said.
A few months later, police released the video of their interview with Dalia. In the cramped, dark interrogation room, they first let her believe they were actually investigating her husband's death. She told them she suspected a mob associate named Pasquale. She even whimpered a little for the camera and pushed her baseball cap down over her eyes to hide her tears.
But the police called her bluff. After allowing her to ramble on for a while, Sgt. Paul Sheridan left the room for a minute and then returned with a grave tone in his voice.
"The game's over with," he said. "OK, there's no more games with you and I. I want to know if you know this guy."
Sheridan opened the door and allowed a man in handcuffs to shuffle in. It was the hit man. Dalia swore she'd never seen him before.