Ex-Miami Beach Cop Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping, Extortion Charges

A former Miami Beach cop has pleaded guilty to charges that he kidnapped and tortured a Russian man in an attempt to extort more than $100,000 from him, bringing to an end one of the strangest crimes connected to the troubled police department.

​Richard Anastasi, a 47-year-old with almost 14 years on the job as a Miami Beach officer, was arrested in March and charged in the twisted crime.

According to the FBI, on March 11 Anastasi and an accomplice kidnapped the Russian outside an apartment building on West Ave. For the next week, they beat him, threatened to cut off his testicles, pretended to execute him with semiautomatic rifles to the head and held pliers to his teeth.

Anastasi apparently believed the victim was connected to an identity theft ring that had stolen his credit card. He forced the victim, whom the feds don't name, to wire him $1,000 and demanded another $100,000.

The plot fell apart when the victim called the feds. The FBI arrested Anastasi on March 18 as he pulled into a lot on Alton Road where he believed the victim was waiting; inside his SUV, they found a disturbing array of kidnapping tools, from shotguns and handcuffs to duct tape and fake police badges.

As we reported in an investigative series that ran the next week, Anastasi's case is just one of many instances of abuse in the Miami Beach Police Department, which boasts one of the highest compensated forces in the region.

Before he retired on Dec. 6 with a $23,000 annual pension, Anastasi was one of the 200 Miami Beach cops -- 54 percent of the force -- who earned six figures annually. Anastasi earned $146,233.46 in 2009.

Now, after his guilty plea, he faces a five year federal prison term and a fine of up to $250,000, according to court records.

His sentencing by Judge Alan Gold is scheduled for August 6. 

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