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Pain & Gain - The True...

Pain & Gain - The True Story behind the Movie (Part 3) - Miami New Times

The Oddly True Story behind the Movie

Suddenly Delgado interrupted. "We're not going to talk about this anymore," he said.

"Well, then, why are we here?"

"Because we're going to give you Schiller's money back, the one million dollars."

That sounded as sweet as a confession to Du Bois. "When and where do we get the money?" Schiller, he knew, had no liquidity, and was in need of hard cash.

The return was conditional, Delgado explained. First Du Bois and Schiller would have to sign an agreement that they'd never repeat the story to anyone, certainly not the police. Then, and only then, Schiller would see the $1.26 million from the offshore accounts he'd signed over.

The detective agreed to talk to his client, and Delgado proposed a brief contract. The meeting was over.

Seibert grew even more serious on the drive back to Du Bois's office. Even if these guys could buy their way of out Schiller's suffering, he warned, they'd do it again to someone else. They'd gotten the taste. "The next time," he said, "they'll make damn sure they kill the person."

That evening, as a Valentine's Day present, Lugo presented Sabina with an engagement ring and $1000 in her bank account. And he gave her some good news: They were going to take some time off and go to Orlando. During the drive north, Lugo felt as lucky as a Super Bowl MVP. Not only was he at Disney World with a beautiful woman, but he'd received great news himself. He announced to Sabina the official end of his federal probation. Sabina didn't even wonder how he could be both on federal probation and a CIA agent; the contradiction eluded her. She was just enormously happy for Lugo -- happier even than he was, she said -- as they drove their rented convertible back to Miami.

But the appearance of Du Bois into his serene, post-Schiller existence had begun to rattle Sabina's man of mystery. One day he received a call from Lillian Torres, she of the two-million-dollar MetLife change-of-beneficiary form. An investigator from Du Bois's office had shown up on her doorstep, asking nosy questions. They'd made the connection, which hardly was a stretch, between her and Lugo. His ex-wife Torres had been in on the scheme. How long would it take for them to reach current wife Lucretia Goodridge, who had witnessed Schiller in captivity?

So outraged was Lugo that he called together his cohorts and railed against Schiller and the detective. They were ruining his life. His obsession with Schiller only intensified. One night he showed Sabina a purloined video of a birthday party Schiller had staged for his son, back when the family still lived in Old Cutler Cove. It was a big party, with clowns, cakes, decorations, and presents. "Look at my money!" Lugo complained as the tape played. "Look at that party, how he uses my money!"

By now Du Bois had laid out the gang's proposition to Schiller. But his client wasn't impressed. In fact he thought the offer was no more than a stall tactic while they tried to find him. He had no doubts they'd kill him if they did. On the other hand, he was desperate for cash. And he wanted to go to the cops. What if he could get the money and then go to the police? That way, when the guys were arrested, he wouldn't have to watch them use his money to pay off their lawyers.

Du Bois and Schiller agreed that if they were going to pursue the "payoff," they needed to consult an attorney. Du Bois went back to his friend Ed O'Donnell. The former prosecutor was stunned that Delgado would even ask for such an agreement. "What kind of bozo says to his attorney, 'This Schiller is accusing me of kidnapping him for a month, torturing him, and stealing all his money and property. It's a lie, but I'm going to pay the $1.26 million anyway?'" He wasn't even sure the gang could find a lawyer to draft such a contract, which would cause any attorney to see more red flags than Chairman Mao. More important, O'Donnell said, the "agreement of silence" was unenforceable. Besides, it was a confession Schiller could take straight to the police.

But the Sun Gym gang did find a lawyer: Joel Greenberg, a Plantation attorney in his first year of practice. What Greenberg didn't know was that Lugo, in what the gang considered a stroke of financial genius, had devised a scheme to bamboozle Schiller. He planned to alter the contract to read 1.26 million lire, instead of 1.26 million dollars, thereby reducing the payment to little more than $1200. When Greenberg was let in on the plot, he balked. He'd write the contract, yes, but he wasn't going to get involved with the ridiculous lira gambit. The young attorney did provide Lugo with a contract stripped of dollar signs; if Lugo wanted to add the lire, he could.

The days dragged on and drafts of the contract were faxed between the two camps. Schiller agreed to every new revision, but there was no money coming in. So Du Bois sent Greenberg a letter to warn him that unless the funds were forthcoming, he'd deliver to the Sun Gym gang "a civil RICO complaint so large I'll have to deliver it in a U-Haul." He would pursue the gang as an ongoing criminal enterprise, the type targeted by federal and state racketeering laws.

In mid-March, though, it was the Sun Gym gang that rented a U-Haul, to empty out the Old Cutler Cove house. Through his Miami attorney, Schiller filed a challenge to the deed now held by the Bahamian firm D&J International. With legal threats heating up, the gang knew it was time to get out with what they could.

For the heavy work, Lugo hired a Sun Gym weight lifter who, like Schiller's neighbors, believed the house belonged to Lugo. The bounty he carried out was immense; his load included the 50-inch Mitsubishi television, Persian rugs, bronze sculptures, leather couches, the bedroom furnishings, Cristofle silver, Lalique and Waterford crystal, the dining table, an $8000 buffet, the washer and dryer, a freezer, computers and video games, copiers and a printer, assorted camcorders and smaller TVs, the patio furniture and Jacuzzi, two bicycles, a baby stroller, and the faux Christmas tree and Hallmark ornaments. Even the family photo albums and videos.

They also took Schiller's favorite snakeskin briefcase and his $600 Cartier sunglasses, and Diana's Guccis, and all the kids' clothes. They even removed the light-switch covers. Finally they drove off with Diana's BMW station wagon (the gang enlisted the help of yet another Sun Gym weight lifter, who altered the car's vehicle identification number). It was a brazen haul, totaling more than $150,000, and that didn't include the BMW.

As soon as Schiller won back the title to his house (the gang decided they'd better not respond to his challenge) he sent Du Bois to have a look. The kitchen remained intact; there was even baby food in the refrigerator. Otherwise the place was bare.

It was eerie, this housecleaning job, thought Du Bois, as though Schiller and his family never existed. All the trappings of a lifetime were gone. The Sun Gym gang had wiped out the Schillers far more thoroughly than did Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Back then they'd lost only their windows and doors, and part of their roof.

The detective placed a call to Colombia to deliver the bad news. "What do you mean, Ed, 'cleaned out?'"

"Well, you've got a refrigerator," said Du Bois. "But you don't have any other appliances, there's no furniture, all the clothes are gone, they even ripped out your Jacuzzi."

"What about the paintings?"

"The walls are bare."

The goods ended up at Delgado's Hialeah warehouse -- the same warehouse where they'd kept Schiller chained to a wall all those weeks. Now the gang met to divide the bounty. Doorbal got the leather furniture and the large-screen TV. Lugo took the dining-room table and some paintings. He presented them to Sabina. A few days later, when she learned it all came from that bad guy Marc Schiller's house, she said she didn't want it. But soon after that, when she flew back to Romania to tell her parents she was happy, prosperous, and engaged, Lugo moved even more loot into their apartment.

When she returned from Europe, Sabina received yet another gift from her fiancé: a black BMW station wagon. With its new VIN number, Diana Schiller's Beemer now was street-legal. Sabina was thrilled, until the rainy day when she realized she couldn't operate the wiper blade on the rear window. A sushi restaurant was nearby, and she pulled in. She could sip on some sake, she figured, while she leafed through the operator's manual. But the first thing she saw when she opened the booklet was the name "Marc Schiller" listed as owner. Flustered, she drank more sake. This was unexpected, unwelcome information. She confronted Lugo later that night. Yeah, he said, the BMW used to belong to Schiller.

Meanwhile Du Bois's wife and their children began to notice bulky strangers sitting in cars, watching their Miami Shores house. You didn't have to be Sherlock Holmes, or even Watson, to find Du Bois at his Shores residence; he was listed in the phone book. But when a phone-company security supervisor alerted him that someone was trying to gain access to his records for calls to South America, he really began to worry. Did the gang think he could lead them to Schiller? He knew they were capable of anything if they wanted Schiller badly enough. And he knew they'd spent $12,000 at The Spy Shop not long ago. If they'd bought eavesdropping and surveillance equipment, were they using it on his family?

Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton were on top of the world:  Young, good-looking, wealthy, and whole

Tools of the trade for the Sun Gym boys ...

Negotiations for the return of Schiller's $1.26 million had gone nowhere; he still hadn't seen a dime. Du Bois had to admit his client was right: Lugo and Delgado never planned to return the money. The meetings and the faxes sent through Mese's office had been a stall. Now it was time to go to the police. He called Schiller first. Then he called John Mese and told him the deal was off.

Du Bois called Metro-Dade homicide Capt. Al Harper, one of his Miami Shores acquaintances and a 27-year veteran of the police department. After Harper heard the horrific story, he called Metro's elite Strategic Investigations Division. SID conducted all major investigations involving fraud, drug trafficking, contract killings, criminal conspiracy, and organized crime. SID agreed to review the case.

Du Bois's next contact was with SID Det. Kevin Long. The private investigator didn't launch right into the details; he wanted first to establish Schiller as a credible victim. Would SID prepare a polygraph for his client? As a polygraph examiner since 1974, Du Bois knew this would be the most effective demonstration that Schiller's weird, brutal story was true.

Sure, Long said, and then sat back to listen as Du Bois went over the case and what he knew of the suspects. If Schiller agreed to come back to Miami, Long said, he would see him and take the complaint. No problem, said Du Bois, but Schiller was afraid for his life and wanted to make the trip as brief as possible. They set up a three-day interview window: April 18 to 20, 1995.

On Tuesday morning, April 18, Schiller flew into Miami from Colombia and checked into the Miami International Airport Hotel under an assumed name. He brought along a Colombian relative for protection, and walked straight from the airplane to Concourse E, where the hotel is located. That afternoon Du Bois met his client for the first time. The two men shook hands, and Du Bois noted that Schiller was thin but otherwise a physically unremarkable man, except for a deep burgundy notch on his nose, a souvenir of the duct tape that had been wrapped so tightly around his head during his captivity. Schiller was invigorated by the decision to go to the police. But he also was wary, afraid he might die in Miami.

At the SID office, they were met by Sgt. Gary Porterfield, who asked Schiller to wait outside while he talked to Du Bois in his office. Du Bois handed over a copy of the case file, then began the narrative of his investigation. As Porterfield took notes, Du Bois outlined the history: Marc Schiller disappeared on the afternoon of November 14, 1994. During his captivity, he signed over everything he owned to individuals connected with Sun Gym. On December 15 he reappeared, broken, in the emergency room at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Du Bois had information on the Sun Gym members: Daniel Lugo, Adrian Doorbal, Jorge Delgado; and on Sun Gym's owner, John Mese. Others were involved as well. They'd be easy to track down and question. He also gave Porterfield a twenty-page memo and canceled checks, deed transfers, accident reports, and hospital records. And he had a copy of Lugo's federal rap sheet and divorce documents.

An hour later Porterfield summoned Schiller to provide a statement. He too spent an hour with the sergeant. Porterfield promised to spend the next day investigating the case. They planned to polygraph Schiller on Thursday. The next day, however, Porterfield called with bad news. There were scheduling difficulties. Would Schiller stay over until Friday morning for the polygraph? Schiller canceled his flight and made a new reservation for Friday afternoon.

On Friday Du Bois and Schiller arrived at SID for the polygraph test. Instead Porterfield met them with more bad news: SID wasn't going to take the case after all; they'd decided to refer it to the robbery bureau.

The robbery bureau? Du Bois was dumbfounded. "Gary, are you kidding me?" he asked. "You're going to transfer a complex, nasty case like this to robbery, which is already dealing with 10,000 purse snatchings and smash-and-grabs? You're shit-canning this case. Why?"

Porterfield said his supervisor, Lt. Ed Petow, had concluded that the basic elements of the case were robbery. Yeah, Du Bois thought, and Oswald was guilty of illegally discharging a firearm in a public place. "Face it," he said, "the bottom line of almost every crime is an attempt to illegally gain money or property." But this case was brutally different.

Du Bois knew he'd just heard the death knell to any serious investigation. Worse yet, it would leave the goons on the street. They still had Schiller's money, but when that ran out, they'd snatch and torture someone else.

Porterfield led them to Metro-Dade Police headquarters, a couple of miles away, as Du Bois followed in his car. Schiller couldn't believe they'd blown him off after the information they'd provided.

"Hey, Ed, I mean ... robbery?" Schiller began. "This is kidnapping, attempted murder, conspiracy ... torture."

Du Bois tried to cheer him up but was in shock himself. In the short drive to police headquarters, the solid professional landscape he'd cultivated over the past two decades had metamorphosed into a surreal, receding mirage.

As Porterfield escorted them to the robbery bureau, Du Bois noticed a lone detective seated in the waiting area. The man was smirking at them and softly clapping his hands. Schiller went to his interview, and Porterfield walked off down the hall with the detective who'd just applauded their arrival. Du Bois approached the bureau's secretary. "Why was that detective clapping and staring at us?" he asked.

"Well, don't tell anyone I told you," she replied as she peered over her shoulder, "but SID called over here this morning and said we should expect an Academy Award-winning performance and story from Mr. Schiller today."

That's it, Du Bois, thought. This investigation is doomed. SID had poisoned the Schiller case. But why? He had to get outside for some air. He had to think.

It was there, on a balcony, that homicide Capt. Al Harper, who'd first suggested the case go to SID, came upon him. Du Bois was pacing, confused and angry. "What are you doing here?" Harper asked, surprised to see him.

"This is where SID sent us."

"Something's wrong," said Harper. "That case doesn't belong in robbery."

Schiller was having a rough time of his own with Sgt. Jim Maier, head of a task force designed to stop tourist robbers, and robbery Det. Iris Deegan. Three times during the interview, Deegan interrupted to warn him it was a crime to file a false complaint. The police don't have time to ride around pursuing every wild story we hear, she said.

Schiller might have expected skepticism from his State Farm claims agent, but not from the police. "Listen," he said, "do me one favor. Follow up on Du Bois's leads. These are dangerous people; other people could be harmed. If you're wasting your time, throw me in jail." Why on earth weren't Deegan and Maier eager to arrest these guys? Why were they so insulting? Why were they making the victim feel like a criminal?

Finally he had to ask: "Do you think I'm making this whole thing up? Do you think, what, I don't know, I've got this huge imagination?"

"Yeah," Deegan said, "we think you're making it up."

There was still the question of the polygraph, which Ed Du Bois had requested from the outset. No one seemed to recall that now. Sergeant Maier turned around and challenged Schiller: Would he be willing to undergo a polygraph?

"Give it to me now!" he said. "I've got nothing to hide!" This was, in fact, just why he'd stayed over an extra day.

There was a catch, though. The test would have to wait, not until later that day or anytime over the weekend. He'd have to come back the following Tuesday. Weeks ago, when he'd set up the trip, SID knew he had a narrow window. It was Friday and he'd already extended the visit, and on his own dime. He was broke. The Sun Gym gang had his money and probably was looking for him.

To hell with them all. He was going home.

Schiller emerged from the interview room looking stunned and close to tears. Maier followed him and told Du Bois that unless his client was in Miami the following Tuesday for more interviews and a polygraph, the police weren't going to take his complaint any further. One look at Schiller, and Du Bois knew he wasn't about to stay around for more of whatever they'd just dished out.

Du Bois turned to Maier: "Tell me, just what is wrong with this case?"

"I don't speak to private eyes," the sergeant answered.

"Is that a personal policy or a department policy?" asked Du Bois. The conversation was giving him chills. He had a long history with Metro police; he'd worked as an outside contractor hundreds of times. He'd solved capital cases. Now they thought his client was a laughingstock, and they lacked even the decency to offer some crumb to pacify him. Yet the crimes against Schiller involved violations of almost every Florida felony statute.

Du Bois was running out of time. He drove Schiller back to his office and called the Miami bureau of the FBI, but his contact there was out of town. Next he called Fred Taylor, director of the Metro-Dade Police Department. Du Bois knew Taylor socially and professionally. The director listened as Du Bois detailed their treatment at the robbery bureau and said he'd put in a call to robbery Cmdr. Pete Cuccaro. Minutes later Cuccaro was on the line, assuring the detective he had his best robbery people -- Deegan and Maier -- working the case. Du Bois rolled his eyes.

Late in the afternoon back at his hotel, Schiller finished packing for his flight. Then he placed a call to JoMar Properties. He hadn't spoken to his former friend and employee Jorge Delgado since before the kidnapping. Now, in between expletives, he announced that he'd gone to the police with accusations of kidnapping, extortion, and attempted murder. Not only that, but he'd turned over copies of forged documents and Sun Gym checks. He also made a call to John Mese. Mese hung up on him.

Then Schiller left to board his flight.

In her defense, it must be said, Det. Iris Deegan had some cause -- not much, but some -- to doubt Schiller's account. Why had he waited four months after the alleged crime to make a complaint? Why had he agreed to a financial settlement before coming to the police? To her, Schiller's tale was "bizarre ... like something you read about in a book." On top of that, SID already had rendered its own verdict on the story. And frankly, in Miami Colombians were almost always associated with cocaine and drug trafficking. Schiller had told her that a portion of the stolen $1.26 million, which he'd invested in offshore and Swiss accounts, belonged to his wife's Colombian relatives.

Wednesday, April 26, 1995

Mese,

How can you be so complacent about the mess you are in? I called you Friday, Monday, and Tuesday and you still have not contacted your attorney. Are you stupid or naive enough to think this problem is going to go away?

You decide, return what is not yours now! or face the music.

Tick, tick, tick ...

Schiller

On the same day Schiller sent his note to Mese warning that his time was running out, Detective Deegan began investigating Schiller's claims, despite the fact that he had left for Colombia in disgust without waiting for a polygraph test as the cops had requested.

Deegan paid a visit to Schiller's home in Old Cutler Cove. The house appeared abandoned; indeed the Sun Gym gang had emptied it weeks before. When Deegan interviewed Schiller's neighbors, they identified Lugo from a police photo lineup. Yes, he was a G-man, they said. Yes, they'd accepted UPS deliveries for him, packages addressed to Marc Schiller. Yes, they recalled, Schiller and his family had disappeared sometime before the previous Thanksgiving. Check ... check ... check. Right down the list of allegations.

By May 4 Deegan was at last convinced that something serious, something possibly criminal, had taken place. She filed her third (it would be her final) report on Case No. 195623-R, noting that she'd subpoenaed Schiller's bank and credit-card accounts, as well as UPS invoices and delivery notices. She'd also asked American Express to supply statements about purchases made between November 1994 and January 1995. Then she moved on to her other robbery cases. She never questioned the suspects. When Du Bois called to check on her progress, she said she was waiting for the records requests to be processed and delivered. End of story.

"Why do you keep investigating my client?" he asked. "Why don't you go out on the street, show your badge to these guys, read them their Miranda rights, and ask them some questions before these animals strike again?"

"Are you trying to tell me how to do my job?" she countered.

"No, but it sure doesn't seem like you're doing it right." He was sorry, he said, that he hadn't thought to bring her a bloody victim, warehouse videos, or signed confessions.

By now Du Bois had presented his facts and documents to FBI agent Art Wells,a twelve-year veteran. Wells thought, and later said, "It's like something you see in a made-for-TV movie." He chose not to pursue an investigation either. Du Bois had never flown into the teeth of such bureaucracy. He kept on predicting, to anyone in law enforcement who would still take his calls, that the gang would target some new victim. He couldn't figure it out. He'd spent 35 years working in Miami, assisting the police. He'd never cried wolf. But he knew this pack of wolves was gathering at somebody's door, and he prayed his family wouldn't get in their way.

Du Bois was right about the wolves. Lugo already had begun searching for his next victim, and this time he didn't have to look beyond Sun Gym. Winston Lee, a vegetarian from Jamaica, came in regularly to lift weights. Lee owned a prosperous auto-repair shop in Opa-locka, and though he wasn't nearly as rich as Marc Schiller, he was rich enough. And besides, he'd aggravated Doorbal, who was convinced he'd heard the Jamaican making fun of his intellect. Worse than that, Lugo said, Lee supposedly sold drugs in the black community. That was enough for Jorge Delgado. He was in. This time, though, they'd keep Stevenson Pierre and Carl Weekes out of it; they'd done nothing but prove their incompetence.

By April, Lugo had a concept. He'd borrow a uniform and truck from another member of the gym and have Delgado pose as a UPS delivery man at Lee's front door. Then Lugo and Doorbal and would rush the house when Lee opened the door. Next stop for Lee? A warehouse Lugo planned to lease in Hialeah for the next round of torture.

To his mistress Sabina, however, Lugo furnished a different story: The CIA wanted to capture Winston Lee, known Palestinian terrorist. And on behalf of the Company, he recruited her help. The plan gave her pause, but then she thought about her patriotism toward her new country and her gratitude toward Lugo, who'd gotten her out of stripping at Solid Gold and into a rent-free love nest. She accepted the mission.

With Sabina in the mix, Lugo devised Plan No. 2. Lugo would move her next door to Lee, and she'd befriend him using her considerable charms. Eventually she would lure him to her apartment, at which time Lugo and Doorbal would burst in and subdue him. They'd take him to an agency warehouse, where the CIA would secure him and take him away to the place where they put terrorists.

Meanwhile Lee continued his workouts at the gym, oblivious to the plans. He thought, in fact, that Lugo and Doorbal were okay guys. But the Okay Guys were staking out his Miami Lakes townhouse. They photographed the building from the road and from his shrubbery. They took pictures of every window and door, as well as closeups of his outdoor circuit-breaker box and the junctions where his phone lines ran into the house.

But the gang had to abandon Winston Lee as a target. He traveled frequently to Jamaica and they couldn't fix a date when he'd be home. Nor was Lugo able to secure a space for Sabina in the building. It was just too confusing.

Then Adrian Doorbal found another target.

Doorbal had at last won the impossibly beautiful Beatriz Weiland, the exotic dancer from Hungary who entertained at Solid Gold. His great looks and bodacious physique finally were paying off big-time. He had a gorgeous stripper -- maybe the hottest stripper in the joint! -- naked in bed. What didn't he have? An erection. The same problem that had plagued him in previous months reappeared. He paid another visit to the Coral Springs physician who specialized in treating steroid-induced impotence, received hormone injections, and soon was performing like a champ.

At Beatriz's place one day, Doorbal began leafing through a photo album. Staring out from the pages was a matronly lady lounging in front of a car as bright as the sun. The woman was Beatriz's mother, but it was the car that caught Doorbal's attention. Who owns it? he asked. Beatriz pointed to another photo in the album and identified the owner, a fellow Hungarian named Frank Griga. He'd been one of her lovers and she still spoke of him affectionately. Griga had achieved fantastic wealth through the phone-sex business, and was the most generous man she'd ever known. The sun-bright car was his $250,000, 1991 Lamborghini Diablo.

The son of a Hungarian diplomat, Griga was born in Berlin in 1961. He moved to New York City in the mid-Eighties, working first as a car washer then as a foreign-car mechanic. But he wasn't destined to toil under a hood. In 1988 he moved to Miami and got a job in sales at Prestige Imports, a luxury-car dealership in North Miami Beach. Working among all those gleaming machines -- Lotuses, Ferraris, Mercedes,Rolls-Royces-- proved frustrating, however. He wanted to own them, not sell them.

Socially active in Miami's tiny Hungarian community, Griga joined a group of local investors, some of whom he'd known from childhood, in the burgeoning 800- and 900-number phone-line markets. He began with 976-CARS, which charged callers for information on used autos. Next he delved into weather-information lines for boaters and surfers. Even more profitable were the 976-SEX lines he established with Hungarian friend Gabor Bartusz. They advertised their services in Penthouse and Hustler, and callers spent up to five dollars per minute to engage in sexually explicit conversations with telephone actors and actresses. Some of Griga's girlfriends appeared in the advertisements, as did some of his cars. Many Hungarians in Miami thought he was the Alexander Graham Bellof phone sex. The business earned Griga and Bartusz a fortune. In 1994 alone, they took in three million dollars.

Griga began to collect luxury automobiles, among them a $200,000 royal blue Vector, a rare, handmade, experimental sports car; a Dodge Stealth for running errands; and the Lamborghini Diablo. He also bought a $700,000 mansion on the Intracoastal Waterway in tony Golden Beach, one of Florida's most exclusive communities. He owned a yacht, Foreplay, and a condo in the Bahamas.

His girlfriends were beautiful, as sensual and sculpted as the cars he owned. He preferred babes, some of them strippers, and after he and Beatriz had parted ways, she introduced him to Krisztina Furton at Crazy Horse II, a Fort Lauderdale strip joint. The two quickly fell in love and became inseparable.

Krisztina, from a Hungarian military family, was 21 years old when she came to Miami in 1993. She was penniless and spoke no English, and arrived with only the promise of a job as an exotic dancer, a typical steppingstone for pretty foreign girls who lack green cards. (In the high-end clubs, the women work for tips alone, thus no W-2 forms.) At Crazy Horse II the slender brunette learned about American life and economics. She saved up for implants and a nose job as well. Within a year she had the money for both.

Doorbal also learned from Beatriz that Griga occasionally hung out at Solid Gold, enjoying the scenery and scouting for models for his phone-line advertisements. An entrepreneur, he was always looking for new investment opportunities.

But while Doorbal was thrilled with Beatriz, she was having doubts about him. She was bothered by the weapons in his car, and in his townhouse. "Hey, Miami's a dangerous place," he told her. "I need them for protection." Still she wasn't comfortable. To compound matters, he continued to pester her with questions about Frank Griga. It was as if he were writing a book on the man. He wanted to meet Griga, he said. He and Lugo wanted to do business with him. But Beatriz didn't talk much to Frank anymore; besides, she thought Krisztina was jealous of her past with him. To placate Doorbal, she said she'd ask her estranged husband, Attila Weiland, to do the honors.

Weiland was working as a small-time travel agent. His office was located conveniently near Dr. Lief's, where Doorbal was scheduled to receive another magical injection. Weiland agreed to meet Doorbal in the doctor's parking lot. He understood that time was money to a busy entrepreneur and didn't think it odd to meet his ex-wife's lover at a doctor's office. He too was dying to develop a business connection with Griga. At Hungarian social functions, Weiland often asked him for advice. "The first $100,000 is the hardest, Attila," Griga would say. And he offered to lend a hand if Weiland had a worthy business proposition.

Weiland didn't quite grasp the proposal Doorbal wanted to pitch. Hell, Doorbal admitted, he didn't understand the specifics as well as his cousin, Danny Lugo. He just knew it was a bona fide moneymaker. It had to do with phone lines in India, and a company called Interling International. Perfect, thought Weiland; Griga was familiar with phone-line success, and he was looking to branch out from the phone-sex business. This thing with Doorbal and his cousin might be the ticket. Weiland offered to put in a good word.

By now, though, Beatriz was quite fed up. She was suspicious of Doorbal's apparently limitless income. She didn't believe for one minute that he and Lugo were international tycoons. He tried to tell her he'd never worked so hard in his life, that he was working on one last big score that would allow him to retire and live on a private island. He figured it would take two months, tops. Yet as far as Beatriz could tell, all he seemed to do was work out at Sun Gym and hang out at Solid Gold. Finally he made the big confession: Like Lugo, he was an agent with the CIA. She didn't buy it. Okay, he explained to her, "I'm a subcontractor to the CIA, through Danny Lugo."

The guns, the impotence, the unexplained funds, the supposed CIA connection -- Beatriz decided Adrian Doorbal wasn't mysterious at all. He was ridiculous, and maybe he was dangerous. She amicably dissolved their relationship. Doorbal took the breakup well; he still had Attila Weiland.

In May 1995 Doorbal suddenly lobbied "Big Mario" Sanchez, who'd earned $1000 for his part the afternoon they kidnapped Marc Schiller, to become his workout partner, a serious commitment of time and interest in the world of huge muscle guys. These days Doorbal was driving a pearl-color Nissan 300 ZX. He liked it fine, but what he really wanted, he told his newest pal, was a bright-yellow Lamborghini Diablo. Before long Doorbal told Sanchez he and Lugo had another "job" coming up and asked if he wanted to serve as an "intimidator." Sanchez said he never wanted to get involved in anything like that abduction thing again. Doorbal offered him $5000, but Sanchez said no.

"Big Al" Sanchez mugshot

Doorbal and Lugo needed assistance to pull off another takedown. They were getting so desperate they even considered Carl Weekes. But Weekes's self-improvement journey to Miami hadn't gone well. He was back to boozing, and he'd recently been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, a gun he bought because he was terrified of the Sun Gym gang. He suspected he'd been recruited to Miami by the gang specifically to kidnap Schiller. Only one good thing had come out of that nastiness: He did get $50,000. He now was driving a BMW.

Lugo took Weekes to Solid Gold and told him Doorbal had targeted another victim. Like Sanchez, Weekes declined the offer. He thought they might be planning to kill him, along with the Hungarian.

"Look, Sabina," began Lugo one day in their Main Street apartment after he'd returned from another trip to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. "You always ask if you can help me. Well, I need your help now." With those words Lugo conscripted Sabina Petrescu into her second undercover operation for the United States of America. This time, he told her, it was the FBI that wanted him to capture someone, some guy named Frank Griga, a Golden Beach businessman who used women for sex, especially Hungarian women. Besides that, he was circumventing U.S. tax laws. (Lugo confided that he might personally extract some money from Griga before turning him over to the FBI.)

Sabina was excited about this assignment. She was aching to display her patriotism, she was bored, she was ... dim. (She was that special type of woman about whom a prosecutor would one day say in court: "You see, God blessed Sabina Petrescu with a beautiful face and a beautiful body, but not with any book smarts or common sense.") She'd felt let down when the operation to capture Palestinian terrorist Winston Lee folded. She'd begged to participate in the surveillance missions on him.

Lugo filled her in on the new job. They would snatch Griga and his girlfriend from Griga's mansion. After Lugo and Doorbal entered the front door, Sabina would wait until she saw the garage door open and Doorbal driving a Lamborghini out into the driveway. Then she would back Lugo's gold Mercedes into the garage. Griga and the girlfriend would be stashed in the trunk of the Mercedes.