When Paciello saw the armored car approaching in his rearview mirror, he radioed his accomplices. They quickly burst out of the front door of the shuttered laundromat carrying two black garbage bags stuffed with bricks of money and drove off in a stolen SUV.

Paciello's job was to trail the getaway car, and if he spotted the police, to ram the pursuing vehicle with his Ford Explorer.

But the crew got away free and clear. The haul: a cool million dollars.

Paciello's mug shot from a recent DUI arrest.
Miami-Dade Corrections
Paciello's mug shot from a recent DUI arrest.
Chris Paciello with business partner Ingrid Casares and Jennifer Lopez.
Chris Paciello with business partner Ingrid Casares and Jennifer Lopez.

Imagine a soccer riot combined with a rave cross-pollinated with an episode of Jersey Shore and you'll get a good idea of the atmosphere at the Future Shock parties that filled New York's Limelight nightclub in the early 1990s. Outer-borough dwellers, mostly Italian-Americans, traveled to the club to experience a new sound that was all the rage at the time: techno, particularly the industrial strength variety imported from Belgium that sounded more like synthesized heavy metal than dance music.

They raged through the night, pumping their fists and swallowing copious amounts of ecstasy. Under the influence of the drug, they hugged each other close, swearing undying brotherhood. "It was Mob mentality dressed up like techno," said a Limelight doorman at the time.

The creator of these events — and the man who established the East Coast's first full-fledged rave scene — was Lord Michael, AKA Staten Island's Michael Caruso, the so-called "Al Capone of raves." Caruso had visited Britain in 1990 and witnessed firsthand the burgeoning rave scene there. Excited by what he had experienced, he came back to Staten Island with a crate full of acid house records, determined to replicate the scene in New York.

Caruso was a musical trailblazer who, at the climax of his parties, would descend from the DJ booth, throwing samples of high-grade MDMA into a crowd of adoring fans. Behind the scenes, however, this chunky techno promoter who sported gang tattoos crawling up his legs also led an armed crew of ecstasy bandits who robbed club kids and suburban candy ravers for their drugs, which Caruso would then later sell at the Limelight.

One of the young toughs the techno promoter relied on to protect his drug operation was Chris Paciello. "There were times when people made physical threats towards me," Caruso told DEA agents after he was arrested in 1997 for dealing ecstasy and cocaine, "and Chris would tell them, 'Anyone who comes near him, they're going to have to deal with me.'"

At the time, Paciello dressed like a budding professional boxer: jogging pants, muscle shirts, and gold chains. He was indistinguishable from the masked ranks of young Italian-Americans who flocked to Manhattan nightclubs except for one thing: He was drop-dead gorgeous. At the Limelight, Paciello glimpsed a glamorous life beyond suburban Staten Island. He stared out over the seething throng of club-goers and saw the way the thunderous music bound together gay and straight, black and white, drag queens and gangsters. He was impressed.

Flush with cash from the Westminster Bank robbery, he and Lord Michael decided to open a New York-style dance club in Miami Beach. Paciello's older brother, George Jr., had visited Miami Beach and returned with stories about a flourishing nightlife scene. The location for the new club would be a bar called Mickey's at 1203 Washington Ave. that was nominally co-owned by actor Mickey Rourke. Paciello would later testify that Mickey's was a front for the Gambino crime family. He decided to call his new club "Risk" because it was a dicey venture from the get-go.

"I was a big Guido from New York opening up a club," Paciello recalled in a late-1990s interview with Ocean Drive. "Everybody thought I would be out of business within a week."

On November 16, 1994, a 30-strong crew of junior-level Staten Island mobsters flew down to Miami Beach to celebrate the opening of Risk. The late, great raconteur and doorman, Gilbert Stafford, described the scene to me in a 2002 interview: "I thought they were just dressed up like mobsters; it wasn't until later that I found out they really were gangsters."

Paciello would later testify in court that the lease for the space cost him $450,000. The budding entrepreneur forked over $125,000 up front, paid an additional $15,000 a month, and agreed that if he failed to pay after two months, he would have to hand back the key to the Gambino family.

Springville Boys head honcho Lee D'Avanzo initially invested $40,000 in Risk but soon withdrew his stake in the club. Michael Caruso says that before D'Avanzo left Miami Beach, he warned Caruso about the people Paciello was doing business with: "Chris is involved with a bunch of sharks. I want nothing to do with this."

By then, Caruso was becoming increasingly worried about his partnership with Paciello, who sometimes behaved like a violent mad man. The revolving cast of bull-necked Mafiosi that paraded through the club for private meetings with Paciello — meetings from which Caruso was pointedly excluded — scared him.

In December 1994, a member of the New Springville Boys who had heard a rumor that Paciello was sleeping with the mobster's girlfriend flew down to South Beach to confront the newly minted club owner, only to find that Paciello was already in police custody, after the cops arrested him for stealing a doctor's car.

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63 comments
L2431
L2431 topcommenter

Carlo Gambino

L2431
L2431 topcommenter

how bout those Dave Corey's **FUMING!!!** hard time . it's a Crack addict scam you keep all the money . hott! and fast! ****ano CON THE CON ! ! ! ! !

tsshoola
tsshoola

It mentions in this article about how Chris seems to not have fear about about eventually being killed after becoming a government witness.   At the end of the HBO Richard Kuklinski (The Ice Man) documentary, Richard asks the psychiatrist his opinion about himself. The psych. mentioned that there are individuals that are naturally born fearless. In Kuklinski's case, being fearlesss mixed with not having a conscience and an abusive childhood led to him being a remorseles killer.  He noted that people that are born without the natural inclination to be afraid are risk takers and may become sky divers or race car drivers. Chris appears to be naturally fearless which has been an advantage to him in his lifetime. If he had the ability to experience fear like most people, it would be impossible for him to live a life under his circumstances so publicly. Just my opinion.

john buchanan
john buchanan

I got to know him pretty well when he and Ingrid ran Barroom in the late 90s and I wrote for Ocean Drive and other Miami and national magazines about the South Beach scene. I was totally shocked when he was arrested for the Shemtov murder because he had always been a total gentleman and very nice. He treated me very well. I knew his reputation as the baddest bad ass of all time with his fists, but I never saw him abuse or mistreat anybody. And the babes he attracted were of legendary quality (he was with Sofia then).

NeecaNeeca
NeecaNeeca

Oh so sad..he well get his believe that..never be a rat when you are part of the mafia smh

Delano? Really?
Delano? Really?

Is the Delano still paying this criminal? Is he still drinking? Is he still driving 80 MPH through residential neighborhoods?

Will he punch out a guest?

Huntington
Huntington

Rat bastard, at the end of the day the ONLY way you can call yourself a man is the fact you have a penis

Osmythe54
Osmythe54

SCUM just like the rest of the people in the South Beach HIGH life...

Michael
Michael

i would say... the mob didn't get weaker... i'd say the feds grew more criminal.... leave white social groups alone.... ;)

christina castro
christina castro

my best friend's sister got paid $13914 the prior week. she is making cash on the internet and bought a $386000 house. All she did was get lucky and try the directions revealed on this web page..........MakeCash10.com

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Bknuckle47
Bknuckle47

What a punk, southbeach is history.

Loot101
Loot101

Major flaw with the story: You swoon about how good-looking, attractive, and gorgeous he is. WHAAAA??!!! Homeboy looks like a bloated meathead drag queen with eyebrow waxing and plastic surgery. Really -- the man is fug.

charlie_oscar
charlie_oscar

The myth of this small time associate of organized crime and the former South Beach Club King continues to grow In a world of part fiction, part confession and nostalgia! There was a time in the 1980’s and 90's when there were literally thousands of these "button less" thugs hittin-the-licks on free-lance robberies, selling pot, using/dealing steroids, club drugs, stealing the Mercedes for export to Europe. All these gold rope, no neck deca dynabol wannabees starting fights at the Cleve'. The only thing unique about this story is the grandiose wiseguy fiction, (50%) the gullible FBI agents (bought every bit of it) and the fact many did not know who club dude really was in 1995 - So, what is the real “RISK” of ratting on shot-caller mobsters? I would say that is the only part of this recycled story we have yet to read about...CP better not take that reality for granted. Lastly, why does the FBI allow OC crime cats to keep their ill gotten coin? They always let these guys keep a cool Mil $ if they make a sexy NY Times headline for them...Seriously, the FBI is obsessed with spotlight and they did the same for Sammy da Bull and he ended up in Scottsdale with a bucket full of cash selling ecstasy to high school kids! I think "unprecedented cooperation" was the same buzz word they used on him as well.

qingchen
qingchen

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Ray
Ray

Ah Joey Massino brought down the Bonanno Family. C.P. just hung out with Pink Slime (AKA Madona).

Eddie Chestnut
Eddie Chestnut

"Whatever happened to Tequila ???" .....lmao ! Whatever happened to my Mafia..... Murray "The Camel" Humphries, Tony "Big Tuna" Accordo, , Meyer Lansky, Bugsy , Sam "Moony" Giancana etc. etc. It's not just most of music, movies and even books that suck nowadays.The criminal underworld sucks too. No honor or integrity nowadays (by no means did snitching just start recently) .... Snitching is just so Much More prevalent in this day and age (Witness T.I. being caught with umpteen submachine guns and doing only like 2 years) as opposed to back in the day 60's, 70's, 80's. And lastly to think.... Paciello is celebrated on South Beach as if he's the conquering hero returning from war. Getthef@ckouttaherewiththatbullsh@t

GhostFromThePast
GhostFromThePast

I realize the list of crimes is long enough, but I suspect he also burned down "Risk" and "Meet Me in Miami" in the process; probably for insurance money to help pay for "Liquid".

The Ghost Of Miami
The Ghost Of Miami

So typical of South Beach blah blah This guy is a crook that then ratted out his Mafia buddies.Welcome Home To South Beach you fit in perfectly. South Beach is a tourist trap.Before it became Manhattan South, it was a haven for old people.It never was what we once hoped it would be.....

Victor
Victor

I give him a week.

BULL-SHIT!
BULL-SHIT!

I can't believe that some of you are buying into this whole "I'm a changed man" bullshit! PEOPLE DO NOT CHANGE! Especially at Chris's age. Chris will always be Chris.

G. Gambino
G. Gambino

Dead Man Walking. Anyone who supports this thug just consider yourself collateral damage.

Pat Bens
Pat Bens

What's he doing back in Miami? Waiting to start clubs in Habana and be the next Meyer Lanski.

Scumbag
Scumbag

Daddy issues much? I can't believe he's blaming his father for turning to street life to make money. Grow up Chris, and take responsibility for your faults.

Lawsuit inevitable
Lawsuit inevitable

What's up with the Delano? Who runs the restaurant at the Delano? They need to hire murderers?

Liability?

Stephanie Naturalfitness
Stephanie Naturalfitness

Your a little outdated with reiterating all this old news. You couldn't find anything more to talk about then something that wasn't some many years ago? The only statement thats up to date in your 6 page spread is the last sentence. Aside from that, it looks like the only thing you seem to be good at is summarizing old public records.

Nelson Luis
Nelson Luis

Tremenda puta!!! Chiva!!, yegua!! Que clase de descarado. What we need is a website to call out all these #ussy's that snitch!!! A snitch database..

Ratrat
Ratrat

Chris is an asshole. I worked for him back in the day. He was always a douche and will remain a douche for the rest of his life.

tim3500
tim3500

A snitch,is a snitch,and a snitch.

Pat Bens
Pat Bens

When is the movie coming out?

Aj
Aj

If you have a criminal record just apply at the Delano. They take criminals, Drunks, Murders, Snitches, Rats, Most of all big Pussies! if you want to WORK AT A PLACE WITH POOR MANAGMENT, POOR JUDGMENT COME WORK HERE! Paciello now here! maybe Delano is laundering money! because the place sucks even with Chris.

unknown
unknown

So sad that the Delano allows this type of conduct. Drinking by pool side Parting drunk. At day light while guests are there. Managers need to stand up and be more incharge. Ges a pussy Rat not A Mobster. A RAT

Watch Chris beat up a guest
Watch Chris beat up a guest

What happens if he beats up a guest at the Delano? Or drives drunk and runs over a school kid waiting for a school bus?

Delano responsible?

Nicole
Nicole

CHRIS IS A LYING CHEATING SCUMBAG WHO ONLY CARES ABOUT HIMSELF! I HOPE YOU BURN IN HELL CHRIS!!! YOU ALWAYS BURN BRIDGES WITH PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT YOU

Diane
Diane

I can't believe he's still employed by the Delano! Somebody start a petition to get rid of that snitch! He's a threat to guests and patrons of the hotel

Still at Delano?
Still at Delano?

This dude has anger management issues. Is he getting paid by the Delano Hotel? Really?

Bashik Michel
Bashik Michel

Interesting one for sure and good read,for really tells the story of the once bad--- club promoter and spares no details too, man he really went for broke!!

Chris Paciello
Chris Paciello

Please the next time you decide to write something about me, contact me directly for accurate information. Your story is jaded, libelous and one-sided. You have no idea the pressure's the FEDS put on me, and you are trying to destroy my business and my livelihood! I hope the public can see through this garrish attempt to ruin my comeback.

Michael
Michael

you lie!!!!!!! your sister didn't make shite!!!!!!!

Frank Owen
Frank Owen

He denies burning down Risk. He doesn't deny his attempt to burn down Groove Jet and a failed attempt to rob Glam Slam, at least according to the FBI documents.

IdiotChris
IdiotChris

Meyer Lanski has more class than this idiot!

Frank Owen
Frank Owen

So Chris Paciello pleading guilty to conspiracy to murder Jerry Green Eyes Clemenza is not new or the New Springfield Boys asking permission from Anthony Graziano to murder Paciello. Care to point out where this has been reported before? That's right, you can't because it hasn't been reported before. BTW, the vast majority of the story is taken from sealed court documents and FBI interviews which are not part of the public record.

Anon
Anon

Chris, is that you? Some of this stuff is very new. Fucking snitch ass loser.

Wmitara
Wmitara

Your trash it's a shame the Delano allows you to even be near there your a a disgrace to your self and everyone around you go back to jail where u belong!

Thou Shall Not Tell
Thou Shall Not Tell

"Jaded, libelous and one-sided".. Thats some real shit. YOU worry about your comeback. How does the woman YOU had killed stage a comeback?? ... YOU say the feds put the screws to YOU. YOU forget that YOU were the one begging for bail. YOU are the one that decided to flip for YOUR own good. YOU are the one that continues to break the law but gets a free pass. YOU are the one that has to look in the mirror evryday and know that YOU are no good snitch. YOU NOW HAVE TO live with the fact that the ruff guy you once was is all washed away now.

Miami Beach resident
Miami Beach resident

Chris, you ruined your own 'comeback' when you drove drunk through a residential neighborhood at 80 MPH. I know that you've done a lot worse. But it showed that even on your best behavior you're a criminal. Even after rehabilitation, you have no respect for the community. You're a life-long criminal, and it's not the New Times' fault for pointing it out. It's your fault.

 
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