Hollywood Private Eye Wiretapped Celebrities
Sixty-four year old Anthony Pellicano operated Pellicano Investigative Agency in West Hollywood and was found guilty of participating in a racketeering enterprise. The enterprise - consisting of former private investigator Anthony Pellicano, an LA police officer, and an SBC telephone technician - was found guilty of federal racketeering charges for participating in a criminal business in which Pellicano paid tens of thousands of dollars to police officers in exchange for confidential law enforcement information on numerous individuals who were being investigated by Pellicano. He bribed officers to run the names of comedians such as Kevin Nealon and Gary Shandling through law enforcement databases to gain classified information.
A federal jury found that Pellicano and others were involved in the installation of wiretaps on the phones of numerous individuals whom Pellicano had been hired to investigate. The L.A. jury found Pellicano guilty of 78 counts, including violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, committing "honest services" mail fraud by paying a police officer for confidential information, identity theft and wiretapping.
The jury returned guilty verdicts on two racketeering charges - violating the RICO Act and conspiring to violate the RICO Act - finding that Pellicano, the police officer, and phone technician comprised a criminal enterprise, the goal of which was to profit and to use illegally obtained information to benefit Pellicano's reputation and investigative business. The enterprise generated income by illegally obtaining confidential information about investigative targets and providing this information to clients of Pellicano's investigative agency. The police officer played a key role in the enterprise by providing Pellicano with confidential DMV and criminal history information that was not available outside of law enforcement. The SBC phone technician provided confidential and proprietary information on telephone company subscribers.
Violated Sylvester Stallone's Privacy
Pellicano and the SBC phone technician were found guilty of participating in a wiretapping conspiracy. One other defendant was found guilty of participating in that conspiracy. He is Kevin Kachikian, 43, of Fountain Valley, who developed the "Telesleuth" wiretapping software program for Pellicano. As part of the wiretapping conspiracy, Pellicano, with the help of the SBC phone tech and Kachikian, illegally intercepted telephone communications of a number of individuals. Kachikian began developing the Telesleuth software program in 1995. As early as 1997, Pellicano - with the aid of the phone technician, who provided proprietary telephone company information that allowed the wiretapping - was illegally listening to phone calls of people such as actor Sylvester Stallone and journalist Anita Busch.
Pellicano was sentenced in early 2009 to 15 years in prison and must forfeit $2 million. "Pellicano did this eagerly, sometimes maliciously and with extreme pride," the judge said. Prosecutors referred to Pellicano as a "high-priced thief."