Former Miami Beach Cop Charged In Kidnapping And Extortion Scheme

Richard Anastasi, who served as a Miami Beach Police officer until last December, kidnapped a Russian national last week, tortured him with threats of violence and tried to extort $100,000 from his family, federal prosecutors say.

Anastasi, who is 47, and an accomplice, 42-year old Francisco Arias, were charged this afternoon with taking a hostage with the purpose of obtaining a ransom.

Both men have admitted to tormenting the victim, prosecutors say. Anastasi claimed he was trying to use "police techniques" to recoup money he'd lost to the man in an identity theft scheme.

The twisted case began just after midnight last Thursday, prosecutors say.

The victim, an unnamed Russian man, went to an apartment building on West Ave. where he believed a package was waiting for him.

Instead, Anastasi and Arias were outside. Anastasi had retired from the MBPD on Dec. 6, according to police records, after almost 14 years on the force.

They forced the victim into a Jeep and sped off -- and thus began a nightmare of threatened castration, forced dentistry and gunshots, prosecutors say.

Anastasi and Arias drove the victim to a house on SW 198th St. Along the way, prosecutors allege, Anastasi passed a knife to his accomplice and told him to cut off the victim's testicles. Arias ripped into his pants with the knife.

At the house, the pair allegedly pointed a semiautomatic rifle with a laser sight at his head, and "advised the victim he was going to kill the victim and use him as fertilizer," the complaint says.

The victim "begged for his life," according to the complaint, and promised the men money. They then forced him to call his mom in Russia and wire $1,000. Arias allegedly called the money "bond" and said they'd let the man go only to get $100,000 for the men.

Around 8:30 a.m. -- eight hours after his abduction -- Anastasi and Arias dropped the victim off back in Miami Beach.

The victim didn't hear from the pair again until this Monday. Anastasi and Arias showed up at his house, the complaint says, and posed as cops to get entrance from his roommate. When the roommate asked for ID, Anastasi "lifted his shirt to reveal his firearm and asked if (the roommate) had any other questions."

Twenty minutes later, the victim returned home. Both men beat him, the complaint says, and Arias twice choked him into unconsciousness.

They then kidnapped him again. Inside the car, Arias allegedly pulled out pliers. He put the tool to the man's tooth, the feds say, and said "that for every tooth he extracted, he would reduce the amuont of money owed by $50."

Feds started tapping the victims phone the next day, after he complained.

Yesterday, with the feds listening in, the victim told the men he had money and asked to meet at 14th and Collins Ave. around 4 p.m. When the pair rolled up in a black SUV, the FBI swooped in.

Inside the SUV, they found quite the kidnapper's handbag: a shotgun, rifle, handgun, portable radios, duct tape, flex handcuffs, binoculars and Anastasi's police ID badges.

Anastasi told federal agents that he'd had his identity stolen and "that he used his skills as a former police officer" to go after the men who'd stolen it. He admitted to posing as a cop and trying to scare the victim, though he denied trying to extort money from him.

Both men face potential life sentences if they're convicted of the charges.