PHOTO: Suspect’s home on Prosperity Farms Road in Palm Beach Gardens.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The FBI has arrested two men in Palm Beach County for allegedly plotting a kidnapping partly as revenge for one suspect’s poker losses.
Investigators identified the pair as 50-year-old Michael James Melillo of Palm Beach Gardens and 38-year-old Pavlos Kaimacliotis of Jupiter. Both were jailed Thursday awaiting a bail hearing Friday.
The FBI says Melillo planned to kidnap an unidentified wealthy Palm Beach Gardens man because he wanted to pay off a $100,000 poker debt and wanted to provide for his young son. Based on informants’ tips, the FBI inserted undercover agents posing as a fellow kidnapper and as the planned victim’s wife.
The FBI even staged a photograph showing the intended victim in restraints so Melillo would think the kidnapping took place. The FBI claims the kidnappers wanted $15 million in ransom and were prepared to mail his fingers to his family until they paid up.
No attorney was listed in court records for Melillo. Kaimacliotis’s lawyer didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.FBI unravels violent millionaire kidnap plot in Palm Beach Gardens