20. Alvin Nunes, Honolulu, Hawaii

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
4

On December 1, 1978, Chuck Bernstene told an agent that he had access to pirated major motion pictures through a contact of his in Honolulu, Hawaii, by the name of Al Nunes. Berstene then called Nunes and made arrangements with him to meet the agent in Hawaii. Bob Courchese told the agent he had difficulties with the bookstore he had recently opened. He said he had pinball machines in the store and he had gotten pressure and muscle from the "boys" on the island. He said they had demanded a split of 70/30% with 70% going to them. Courchese said he could not live with the split and gave up the store. Courchese said he was still employed by Nunes, both at Nunes' bar and doing whatever else Nunes requested of him. Nunes gave the agent a bestiality film and said he would ship child pornography to Miami, which he subsequently did.

A separate case in the Southern District involved Michael Wisotsky, Myron Wisotsky, Robert Barkow and Donald Work [1245] Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, Florida.

The pornography business operated by Michael Wisotsky and his uncle Myron is the most significant one south of Atlanta, Georgia. They are considered to be key figures and upper echelon distributors of hard core pornography. At the time of the indictment in this case in 1983, Michael and Myron Wisotsky (referred to hereinafter as the Wisotskys) controlled between five hundred and seven hundred peep show machines in Southeast Florida. These machines were located in adult bookstores owned by corporations the Wisotkys controlled, as well as in independently owned bookstores. In 1983, the Wisotskys owned and controlled approximately two million dollar worth of assets through the use of nominees and sham corporations. The true ownership of these corporations was hidden to avoid the possibility of criminal prosecution. Documents show that over the course of ten years, the Wisotskys used the'names of unknowing nominees to register their corporations and caused their accountants and others to falsely subscribe these names to documents which were then mailed to the state and federal government. The investigation in this case revealed the Wisotskys owned or controlled over forty corporations. Of these, the fifteen most actively involved in the adult bookstore business were not registered under the name of either Michael or Myron Wisotsky.

When the investigation of the Wisotskys commenced, they immediately took an active role in attempting to thwart the Grand Jury investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service and the Miami Strike Force. Unbeknownst to the Internal Revenue Service and the Miami Strike Force, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department was engaged in an undercover operation involving the Wisotskys during this same period of time. The Fort Lauderdale Police had placed an undercover detective in the Wisotsky organization. The prospect that the detective would be served with a federal grand jury subpoena caused the Fort Lauderdale Police to reveal his identity to Federal authorities and cooperation began between the two agencies.

Donald Work had been the Wisotskys' key man for a number of years. One of Work's duties was to oversee and manage the peep machine operation for the Wisotskys. Numerous bookstore owners and clerks were subpoenaed to the testify before Grand Jury and each of them asserted their Fifth Amendment privilege when asked about the Wisotskys' operation.

For a number of years, law enforcement agents attempted to locate the Braccos - a couple whose name appeared on many of the Wisotsky corporations. In March 1981, Special Agent Donald Burde of the Internal Revenue Service located them. They never had any business connections with the Wisotskys and had never heard of the corporations on whose papers their names appeared. They were in fact unknowing nominees whose names were used by the Wisotskys. After they were subpoenaed to the federal grand jury, Robert Barkow called Mrs. Bracco and said, "My people know they have wronged you they are sorry about it. They want to make up for it. Contact any of these three attorneys, they're waiting for your call. I will give you their names. We will put you up in the best hotels and consider it a vacation. My people have been wrong, they know they've wronged. You'll be well compensated for it. Take the corporations you're a,rich person.

The Wisotskys were not content with attempting to prevent individuals from testifying against them before the Grand Jury. On August 25, 1981, Special Agent Donald Burde received a telephone call from the Wisotsky's accountant who requested Burde come to his office, "alone and unwired." During that one-on-one meeting, the accountant offered Burde a $25,000 bribe on behalf of the Wisotskys to kill the criminal tax investigation he was conducting about them.

The evidence in this investigation revealed that the Wisotskys failed to report substantial amounts of income skimmed from the vast peep machine operation they controlled since April 1976.

Notes

  1. United States v. Wisotsky, et al. 83-741-cr EBD (S.D.Fla.).