By Matthew B. Cox
THE U.S. MARINES STOOD TAUT at the edge of the gatehouse, the black Suburbans and Lincoln Towncar entered the White House grounds. Inside the Lincoln sat Frank L. Amodeo, the founder of Mirabilis Ventures Inc, a conglomerate of over seventy companies in various industries—including consulting, corporate security, manufacturing, employee leasing and hotel ownership—with 40,000 employees and nearly a billion dollars in annual revenue.
At the corporate mogul’s mental core he was the preordained divine conqueror of nations and the future leader of a totalitarian one-world government. Through his private security agencies, Stratus Security Corp, Eagle Claw Security Services, and Tactical International Investigations and Intelligence Services, Amodeo had already initiated the first phase of his plan: the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Next would be Nigeria, Chad, South Africa, et cetera, and eventually, all of Africa would be his. World domination was within his grasp.
The motorcade stopped at the colonnaded Executive Wing’s drive. Amodeo and his senior staff exited, along with their security detail—former-Secret Service, FBI, CIA, Israeli Mossad and special forces. The future emperor and his entourage were greeted by a White House staffer and a Marine escort. In addition to Amodeo’s lobbyist, Karen Tramantano—Bill Clinton’s former Deputy Chief of Staff—and her partner, Sally Painter, Amodeo alone, however, was led through the expansive rooms and halls of the West Wing to the Roosevelt Room where he attended a meeting with President George W. Bush, the heads of NATO, including the Director General, key ambassadors, and Bush’s Chief Political Advisor, Karl Rove, regarding the upcoming NATO Summit in Riga, Latvia.
No one seated at the conference table that day could have predicted that less than two years later, Amodeo would be sitting motionless behind a defense table in a U.S. federal courtroom; indicted for his corporation’s failure to pay over $180 million in payroll taxes.
Clad in an orange jumpsuit, his veins pumped so full of anti-psychotics that drool was running down his chin, Amodeo listened as the forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Danziger, told the federal judge, “[In] May 2008, Amodeo’s belief was that his destiny was to become emperor of the world, establish the Terran empire, and because of his belief in natural powers that he could foretell the future.”
In fact, Danziger had met with Amodeo half a dozen times over several months. He’d reviewed medical records, various documents from Mirabilis and spoken with colleagues regarding Amodeo’s mental state. After Amodeo was declared incompetent, he was sent to the Harvard-affiliated McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Massachusetts for intensive psychological testing and treatment.
“Despite the IRS’s charges against Amodeo,” continued the doctor, “he believed nothing would impede his march to world domination… [H]e had a major psychiatric illness, bipolar disorder mania with psychotic features.”
The team at McLean agreed with Dr. Danzinger’s diagnoses, and started Amodeo on Depakote to stabilize his mood and an anti-psychotic drug known as Geodon.
“Mr. Amodeo has improved,” said Danziger. “Now, he is not well. He continues to believe that ultimately, he will become emperor of the world and that his plans to have an economic domination of the planet will eventually take place. However, despite these delusional beliefs, with regard to the issues of competency, it is my opinion that he is competent to proceed.”
Shortly thereafter, Amodeo was sentenced to over twenty-two years in federal prison.
“MR. AMODEO remains adamant that he was wrongfully convicted,” says Darlene B. Antonio, PhD., a member of the State of Florida mental competency committee. “He thinks he was prosecuted because the government wanted to discredit him with NATO officials in order to stop his progress toward becoming a world leader.” Amodeo has no doubt that he will be vindicated, and firmly believes that he will be “emperor of the world.”
Dr. Antonio describes Amodeo as “intelligent, creative and charismatic, however, his behavior and cognitive functioning is erratic due to his bipolar disorder. In spite of his grandiose delusions and aspirations, he presents with an attitude of humility. He is quite likable.” Unfortunately, Amodeo remains convinced that he is a prophet, has special powers and can perform miracles. In addition, he believes his plans are divinely ordained. “His current profile indicates an active, florid psychotic process, which includes a loss of contact with reality.”
THE FRANK L. AMODEO STORY is part Tom Clancy, part Ian Fleming novel and one hundred percent insanity. He is absolutely, undeniably, certifiably mentally ill. Specifically, Amodeo suffers from bipolar disorder. Affected individuals typically experience discrete episodes of depression, then mania lasting for weeks or months with intervening periods of complete normality. However, episodes vary widely in duration and intensity; frequently the afflicted experience psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, or grossly bizarre behavior.
In particular, Amodeo is a unique high-functioning, sub-classification rapid-cycling axis-1 bipolar with narcissistic and antisocial, psychotic features. Simply put, his mood shifts constantly between manic and depressive episodes, during which he has delusions with manic themes.
During the five years that I’ve observed Amodeo here at the low security federal prison in Coleman, Florida, I’ve witnessed first hand Amodeo’s illness in full bloom. I’ve seen his psychotic episodes and have heard his delusions of grandeur. Incomprehensively manic one minute and depressed to the point of lethargy the next. Although he professes to be a Biblical Old Testament prophet, he is not overtly religious. I have yet to hear him quote scripture or attempt to influence anyone’s religious beliefs.
Despite his erratic behavior (or because of it) I spoke with Amodeo often regarding his story. The narcissist in him instantly agreed to be the subject of a true crime narrative.
Our first interview takes place on several concrete benches outside of the B-Housing Unit. It’s the summer of 2017 and the future world leader has been incarcerated for over eight years. He is Napoleonic in stature, uncharacteristically humble for a megalomaniac and boundlessly personable. He laughs easily; his head receding into his neck like a scared turtle; making Amodeo appear comical.
“Frank, you understand that I’m going to need to see your transcripts, motions, everything related to your case.” I inform him I will have someone on the street research and verify his background—articles, blogs, et cetera.
His face becomes harshly rigid as he stares into my eyes and says, “I have nothing to hide, everything I’m going to tell you is the truth.”
Less than a minute later, however, I touch on the psychotic delusions associated with his brain disorder and Amodeo interjects, “That’s the problem, because of my condition the
psychologists dismiss the visions as delusions.”
“As opposed to?” I ask.
Amodeo abruptly laughs, “They’re the voice of God.” Therein lies the crux of the problem.
Over the years I had come to the conclusion that Amodeo’s psychosis had caused him to ultimately end up in the bowels of the largest federal prison complex in the country. Incarceration being the defining last chapter of his life. A sad closing for a mentally ill man that believes he is destined to rule the world.
That, however, was before I did the research, marshaled together all the facts and conducted the interviews. Before I thought I knew the truth; and now, while I’m not quite ready to say Frank Amodeo is predestined to rule the world, I’m no longer willing to dismiss it either. Anything is possible, Donald Trump is president.
BORN WITH A RARE intestinal abnormality, the obstetrician told Amodeo’s parents, odds were that their infant son would die during the corrective surgery. Devout Roman Catholics, Amodeo’s mother, Margaret, and his father, Frank P. Amodeo prayed in the hospital waiting room during the procedure.
His survival, according to Amodeo, is one of many near death events that occurred throughout his childhood. As a toddler, he walked away from his daycare; disappearing into busy street traffic. Miraculously, hours later, a good samaritan dropped him off at his parents’ house. At age six, while walking tightrope-style along the train tracks which cut through his neighborhood, an internal voice commanded the boy to get off the tracks. Amodeo took two steps into the gravel beside the steel beam as a train roared by. Three years later, the same voice told the nine-year-old to pass up an invitation to join his favorite aunt on an outing to a department store. The following morning her body was found near the dumpsters behind a local restaurant. She’d been strangled and stabbed repeatedly—ultimately her fiancé’s best friend confessed to the murder.
In accordance with Amodeo’s prophecy, these events, among others, are affirmation of his divine fate; or it’s the faulty release of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine or a combination of the neurotransmitters causing a congruent psychotic theme based delusion.
Regardless, by middle school—during desegregation in the early 70’s—Amodeo was regularly mediating disputes between white and black students. The teen excelled at all things academic. He was voted most likely to succeed in the 8th grade and was head of the chess club.
“My interests ranged from Star Trek to astro nuclear physics,” Amodeo recalls. At Oakridge High School he took advanced courses in computers and calculus. “I was kind of a geek, but popular with the jocks and the preppy, socialite crowd.”
For the most part, due to Amodeo’s peace making efforts and popularity, his unwavering belief that one day he would rule the world was tolerated by his fellow students, school administration and parents. Most felt it was a quirky side effect of his energetic personality and teen hubris. However, Amodeo tells me, at age sixteen, he joined the Young Republicans and was Ronald Reagan’s Youth Co-Chairman for his Orlando based Presidential campaign. He had become a fierce opponent in mock debates, which led him to being elected president of the student council and youth advisor to the city council. Eventually the future world leader hosted his own AM radio program, WGAG Green & Gold, and was a regular guest speaker on ABC’s Pros & Cons television talk show. As a result, a small group of students in opposition to Amodeo’s conservative values began referring to him as “the Antichrist.”
“My girlfriend at the time raised a good question: would the Antichrist know he was the spawn of the devil?” asks Amodeo. “I didn’t know the answer, and it concerned me.” That caused Amodeo to strengthen his belief in the Catholic faith. “To this day, I kneel every night and pray to God for the strength to fulfill my mission.”
“MR. AMODEO holds a fixed delusional belief that he will be ’emperor of the world’,” says Darlene B. Antonio, PhD. In fact, Amodeo believes he has prophetic visions, that allow him to foresee the future, as well as the ability to perform miracles. “He has been working on plans to establish his ’empire’ since his teenage years. [W]hen he was student council president, he envisioned the school as a country and created ‘Imperial Day’ as an unorthodox approach to school spirit.”
THE SOLDIERS stood at attention in front of the football stadium as the limo pulled to a stop. The emperor had arrived. Amodeo exited and two dozen Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) members in their heavily starched uniforms, escorted the student council president to the arena. Like a general returning from war Amodeo took the stage flanked by ROTC and the crowed roared. In the background, the flames of the bonfires leapt thirty feet into the night sky. He stared out at the sea of thousands of high school students who had gathered for the pep rally; they filled the bleachers, stood on the roofs of the concession-stands and administration buildings.
From behind the podium Amodeo rallied the crowd of students into a collective frenzy, all chanted, “Pi-o-neers! Pi-o-neers!! Pi-o-neers!!!” in unison. His mania (if nothing else) was contagious.
Within a few years of Amodeo’s high school graduation in 1978, he had opened a chain of Wood-n-Tyme gift shops, and become a distributor of Tanaki Bulova clock mechanisms while earning his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Central Florida in Political Science. Amodeo was well on his way to becoming upper middleclass when he was stricken with a physical ailment—what Amodeo now recognizes as a severe episode of depression. Completely exhausted, he was unable to get out of bed for several weeks and had no appetite. The doctors weren’t able to offer a definitive diagnosis.
“They thought it might be pneumonia,” says Amodeo, but the test results were negative. “It was 1983 and no one in the medical community considered mental illness as a contributor to a physical condition.”
As quickly as the depression overtook him, his nervous system kicked into gear and began pumping out dopamine and norepinephrine, increasing his brain’s low neurotransmitter levels. Within months Amodeo had sold his businesses and married a cute little mathematician he barely knew—the union lasted less than a year. Simultaneously, he enrolled at both Emory University’s School of Law and Georgia State University in Atlanta, to pursue a PhD in Quantitative Financial Economics, and so, the cycle began again.
“WHEN IN A HYPOMANIC condition (‘below mania’), people with bipolar disorder have a tremendous amount of magnetism, energy and confidence,” says Mimi Hull, PhD., a licensed corporate psychologist and president of Hull and Associates in Orlando, Florida. “They are capable of coherent thought and are able to participate in everyday activities. But when they crash, they crash hard. They are literally exhausted due to their manic pace. This exhaustion can manifest as a deep depression, wherein the person becomes incapacitated.”
THE CIA approached the twenty-six-year-old law student in the summer of 1986. According to Amodeo, he was juggling a full schedule of legal courses and eleven doctoral classes. He’d taken the preliminary tests required by the intelligence agency and had been interviewed. He was then called back and subjected to a battery of classified examinations—written and physical. After the results were calculated, the CIA came looking for him.
He met with two agents at the federal building in downtown Atlanta. “The tests had indicated I functioned better in high stress scenarios,” says Amodeo. Although he had a year of law school ahead of him the CIA offered Amodeo a position in the Office of Strategic Intelligence (OSI). Upon graduation the job would be waiting. “All they’d tell me was, I’d be working covert operations.”
Amodeo’s father, unfortunately, was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. The would-be-spy managed to graduate from Emory, but he dropped out of Georgia State University; never completing his doctoral thesis, Capital Genesis, a strategic plan for global domination through totalitarian economics.
He took a job as a consultant conducting seminars on 401K programs, and a second job with Hyatt Legal Services, handling civil cases. Due to Amodeo’s affinity for math, he began acquiring more and more of the firm’s bankruptcy cases; because of Hyatt’s high turnover rate in associates, the firm’s bankruptcy practice was in shambles. Months into the job, Hyatt was hit with six contempt of court citations due to incomplete bankruptcy filings and numerous bookkeeping errors.
Amodeo was handling so many of their bankruptcy cases that his boss, Scott Lang, asked the young associate to accompany the owners of the firm to their court hearing. The next morning, Amodeo was seated in the gallery listening to the federal bankruptcy judge lecture Lang, his superior, Rodger Crombie, and the owner of the firm, Joel Hyatt, regarding the firms bankruptcy practice.
“Which one of you is licensed in Georgia anyway?” griped the judge.
Lang glanced uncomfortably at his superiors, none were licensed to practice in the state. “We’re acting in an administrative capacity, Your Honor. We—”
Exasperated, the judge spat, “Why shouldn’t I lock the whole bunch of you up right now?!”
Lang frantically pointed to Amodeo, a part-time associate, who was primarily there to help tote the file boxes, and yelped, “Frank Amodeo, Your Honor, he’s licensed to practice in Georgia.”
That’s how Amodeo became a bankruptcy attorney. Less than four months out of law school, the bankruptcy court assigned two hundred and forty cases to him, Hyatt gave him a large office and allocated several staff. Twelve months later, Amodeo was one of the top five bankruptcy lawyers in Atlanta, specializing in high-end individual chapter eleven cases.
In 1988, after a six month courtship, Amodeo married Claire Holland, an adorable blonde with great legs. Claire was an associate manager at one of Hyatt’s offices. He then started the boutique law firm of Amodeo, Durden & Thomson, in 1990, with roughly a dozen attorneys and nearly twenty support staff. Over the next several years, Amodeo’s mania-fueled-work-ethic resulted in extreme growth. The firm took on over a thousand clients per year, churning out over six hundred bankruptcy cases annually.
“I had turned our little firm into a mill,” Amodeo recalls. Unbeknownst to the bipolar workaholic, his partners were both struggling with their own addictions. “Durden was an alcoholic, Thomson—as it turned out—had a severe cocaine problem and I wasn’t paying attention.”
Typical of Amodeo’s disorder, he focused on juggling as many balls as possible. His euphoric hypomania state caused the bipolar to believe he could handle a marriage, fatherhood, and hundreds of bankruptcies simultaneously. His case load was four times that of his partners.
Eventually, the juggler stumbled. He fell down a flight of stairs injuring his hand—severely spraining his index finger—and ended up in the hospital. The following morning, Amodeo refused to leave.
“I was so exhausted, I couldn’t make myself get out of bed,” says Amodeo. The depression manifested itself in pneumonia like symptoms, coupled with feelings of indecisiveness and despondency. “Claire was the only one to utter the word depression. But the doctors disregarded the notion. They concluded I was too successful to be a mentally ill, manic depressive.”
Three days later, Amodeo was discharged and spent the next few weeks at home.
Neither Durden or Thomson, nor the dozen associates were able to fill Amodeo’s void and, during his absence, all of the balls came crashing to the ground; the Georgia Bar Association was flooded with complaints.
“THERE IS A FINE LINE between the energizing aspects of his mood disorder and severe destabilizing symptoms,” says Susan Parks, PhD., of Amodeo during her neuropsychological and neuropsychology evaluation. Dr. Parks is a neuropsychologist with the Department of Neuropsychology at McClean Psychiatric Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
She goes on to state Amodeo suffers from rapidly shifting moods with marked features of debilitating episodes of severe depression and mania with periods of stability. “His psychosis appears to fluctuate with changes in intensity of his mood state.” When stable, Amodeo can more successfully control his condition. In Parks’ opinion, “careful psychopharmacology management is required.”
WHEN THE DUST SETTLED Amodeo was in Orlando, Florida, immersed in yet another manic endeavor. He’d joined with the Executive Vice President of Coca-Cola, Roy Stout, Tony Tortiticcim, the founder of Chick-Fil-A; Allen Shneiderman and Mike Rossi to create an acquisition company. Utilizing his knowledge of bankruptcy law, Amodeo and his partners were buying up companies throughout the area.
Amodeo’s Atlanta bankruptcy firm had been liquidated, his partners’ law licenses suspended, and Amodeo—mentally unable to attend his own hearing at the time—had been disbarred in absentia. Shortly thereafter, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations conducted an investigation into allegations that the firm had misappropriated $332,000 in clients’ funds.
In the midst of rebuilding Amodeo’s empire, on October 30, 1995, the U.S. Marshals showed up at his house and arrested him on a fugitive warrant out of Atlanta.
According to Amodeo, despite Assistant District Attorney Nancy Grace  convening several state grand juries regarding the allegations, none returned an indictment. Therefore, three weeks after Amodeo’s arrest he was released from the Orange County jail. 
In early 1998, days before the statute of limitations expired, Grace convinced the Atlanta U.S. Attorney’s Office to file charges. Although Amodeo wasn’t in charge of the firm’s bookkeeping, and didn’t believe he’d committed a crime, he pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $50,000, despite having never received the “misappropriated” funds.
“I was supposed to get twenty-four months probation,” says Amodeo. Nonetheless, when the U.S. prosecutors handling the case spoke with Claire regarding her husband, she voiced her concerns over the sentence. “Claire told the government ‘He has to go to prison or he’ll never learn his lesson.’ So they scrapped my plea deal.”
Amodeo arrived at the Lewisburg Penitentiary’s Shock Boot Camp in January 1999 with a copy of the Apostles’ New Testament and Steven Hawkings’ The Theory of Time and Space. He was immediately stripped of both, along with his clothes, and forced to stand outside in 31 degree weather for two hours before seeing the warden. The warden promptly told Amodeo, “The only thing I hate more than criminals are lawyers, and you’re both.” At that point the future ruler of the empire got concerned.
In the process of waking up at 6:00 a.m. and running four miles before breakfast, then, doing calisthenics and obstacle courses the rest of the day, most of Amodeo’s budding businesses fell apart.
YANIV AMAR, one of God’s chosen people, contacted Amodeo directly upon the felonious disbarred lawyer’s release from prison in September 2000. Amodeo was forty-years-old, he had three years of supervised release ahead of him—the federal equivalent of parole—two kids to take care of—ages ten and thirteen—and no money.
Claire had accepted a job in Washington with the U.S. Aid Program for International Development; she was somewhere over the Atlantic en route to Eastern Europe. Her ultimate destination, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, et cetera, in order to help the budding democracies set up their court systems.
Amodeo was on the cusp of starting over when he got Yaniv’s message. They met at a breakfast-style-greasyspoon restaurant in Orlando. Yaniv was Jewish, in his late-twenties, clean-cut, sporting a stylish suit. Amodeo had previously partnered with him in a small business venture. The plan had been to buy several thousand gift baskets from a company in bankruptcy and sell them during Christmas—a venture Amodeo had long ago written off. Yaniv placed his briefcase on the table.
“While you were playing soccer and eating pizza in Club Fed,” grumbled Yaniv, “I was getting pimples on my face, working.” He popped the locks and opened the case, revealing $60,000 in cash. “This is your half.”
Weeks later, Yaniv asked Amodeo to attend a meeting with several business associates—a provider of plastic cards—out of New York. Yaniv had been running ComCard America, a telemarketing company selling “credit cards.” It all sounded very benign, however, at the meeting Amodeo realized Yaniv was, in fact, running a boiler room; pitching a “universally accepted major merchant credit card”—similar to Visa, MasterCard or American
Express—to subprime customers. The instrument itself, as it turned out, was merely a catalog credit card that was not universally accepted as promised, nor did it report to the three major credit bureaus as promised.
Directly following the meeting Amodeo told Yaniv he was running a scam. “Your company is deceiving clients.”
“There’s a script the sales people are supposed to follow,” replied Yaniv, but the telemarketers weren’t following their pre-arranged lines. “That’s not my fault.”
Yaniv, like many telemarketing companies, was operating under the false principle that he wasn’t responsible for his employees misleading statements.
“In a civil action that might protect you,” Amodeo advised, “but criminally…it’ll never hold up.”
Yaniv shrugged the warning off. Weeks later the complaints began coming in and the Interstate Telemarketing Taskforce began making inquiries. Yaniv called Amodeo in a panic; he had made nearly $2 million and he was potentially facing a prison sentence.
“Out of the two million, how much is left?” asked Amodeo. There was over a million in several bank accounts and quarter of a million in cash stuffed inside a safety deposit box, but Yaniv wasn’t willing to reimburse the clients.
Amodeo crunched the numbers and came up with a plan; he immediately had Yaniv sell him the company and leave him with half a million dollars for overhead. Amodeo turned around and made half a dozen deals with multiple companies to purchase vacation packages, theme park tickets, et cetera, for a fraction of their retail value—$29 clocks with a retail price of $350, were bought by the hundreds.
All credit card sales were suspended. The same telemarketers that had spent nearly a year defrauding customers out of a $250 “application processing fees” were now instructed to re-contact the clients and convince them to accept a “reimbursement package”—clocks, vacations and tickets—as a settlement.
Within days of implementing “Operation Clean Up,” agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Orlando Police Department’s fraud unit and the Interstate Telemarketing Taskforce stormed into the offices of ComCard America. Amodeo was destroying their case against Yaniv and ComCard America.
“I explained that I’d recently purchased the business and I intended on making everyone whole—all thirty-five hundred customers,” says Amodeo. He laid out his plan and convinced the authorities to allow him to settle the consumer complaints. “It took me close to six months,” he recalls with a chuckle. “I was on supervised release too.”
During the wind-down of ComCard America, word got around of Amodeo’s creative solution, in what appeared to be an unsalvageable circumstance. The owners of struggling companies began reaching out to him for advice.
Amodeo incorporated AQMI Strategy Corporation (pronounced AK-mee) and began putting the principles of Capital Genesis—his incomplete college thesis—to work. For example, at the time, print shops around the country were failing. The digital age was destroying the industry. For a consulting fee, Amodeo utilized his knowledge of bankruptcy laws to formulate a strategic plan to liquidate multiple companies, by selling off their most profitable assets—high definition presses, buildings, leases, books of business, et cetera—to create stronger, larger corporate entities. 
“THE PROBLEM with restructuring struggling businesses,” Amodeo tells me, “is that it takes time.” In addition, the companies had very little capital in which to pay his fees. “My plan requires a large amount of capital.”
“Plan?” I ask, knowing fully well what his plan entails—I’ve heard it many times. Regardless, I want to hear him say it again.
“To take over the world, of course,” Amodeo grins at what even he acknowledges sounds absurd, stopping on the verge of bursting into a Dr. Evil-style crazed sinister cackle.
Although the plan is not the only thing that makes Amodeo’s crime unique, it is the most bizarre aspect of his story. With the exception of Hollywood films, I have never heard of an actual “criminal mastermind” attempting such a lofty goal.
Even popular fiction authors of political thrillers like Clive Cussler, Vince Flynn and Robert Ludlum shy away from villains hell bent on world domination—certainly no nonfiction writers have reported on a subject attempting global conquest.
In that sense, Amodeo’s closest counterparts are Ian Fleming based James Bond villains, such as the mad scientist Dr. Julius No, Octopussy’s crazed Russian General Orlov and the ruthless megalomaniac Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker.
“What makes you so sure world domination is even possible?” I ask.
“It’s been preordained that I will rule,” he says, “that I will be emperor.”
To achieve his objective, Amodeo needed capital—massive amounts of capital. He quickly realized that virtually all of the businesses he was working for—no matter how far in the red they were—made sure to pay their employees.
So, in order to compensate himself for having to wait to receive his fees, Amodeo opened a Professional Employee Organization (PEO) to handle: payroll, health insurance, retirement programs, et cetera. He then began requiring all of his clients to immediately switch from their current PEO providers to his company, thus guaranteeing that he would, at the very least, reap the fees generated from handling their employee payroll and benefits.
Throughout the quasi-mergers, wind-downs, close-outs and bankruptcies Amodeo oversaw, he began to amass a large amount of funds. Shortly thereafter, Amodeo emerged as a venture capitalist. He began focusing on acquiring companies that were party to large, lucrative contracts and lawsuits.
“Once,” Amodeo tells me, “I was contacted by the owner of an asbestos removal company. He had a contract with a general contractor to remove asbestos from a large U.S. Naval base. The contract had a massive profit margin.” Unfortunately, the subcontractor wasn’t able to qualify for the required insurance.
By the time Amodeo entered the picture the general contractor had cancelled the asbestos company’s contract. Amodeo immediately agreed to put up the bond for half the profit. That same day, he placed the company in bankruptcy and forcibly reclaimed the naval contract through bankruptcy protection.
He invested in a portable satellite dish manufacturer, which needed additional capital to meet the minimum requirements to bid on, and acquire, additional private industry and government contracts. Specifically, according to Amodeo, the company was providing portable dishes for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. “They were profitable,” says Amodeo, “but under collateralized.”
The deciding factor for the venture capitalist was a lawsuit the manufacturer had filed against a competitor which had stolen proprietary technology—through corporate espionage. Amodeo foresaw a windfall settlement and made the decision to invest.
Then, there was the time he purchased a Perkins Restaurant franchise to acquire a solid lawsuit against the Perkins corporation; another business Amodeo bought interest in was a refining company whose assets included microscopic ore containing precious metals. They had a warehouse full of the material—tons of it—but no way to refine it.
Amodeo’s manic energy and enthusiasm, coupled with his intellect, helped him to see opportunities that—in Amodeo’s words—”you normal humans miss.” Time after time, he took “no-win-scenarios” and created economically viable solutions; resulting in partnerships, and acquisitions of, company after company, bankrupting or liquidating those that couldn’t be saved and re-invigorating those that could.
“WHEN AMODEO EXPERIENCES shifts in moods, and more intense emotions,” Dr. Parks indicates, during her evaluation, “his ability to think logically and coherently is impaired.” The neuropsychologist goes on to say, he may exhibit impulsive, reckless behavior, delusional thinking, misinterpret the actions or intentions of others and have difficulty anticipating the consequences of his actions. Particularly, as a result of his rapid-cycling manic episodes, Amodeo has problems “recognizing the boundaries of appropriate behavior.”
JOHN BURCHAM, the Chairman of Presidion, approached Amodeo during a seminar. Amodeo had just given a speech in which he spoke about his success at bringing companies back from the edge of the abyss.
Burcham had a problem. Presidion was a publicly traded company; a PEO processing employee earnings. Years earlier, they had acquired several PEO competitors—the Sunshine Companies, Fidelity United, Paradyme and BTS—who combined were just over $5 million behind on their payroll withholding taxes to the IRS. Thus far—through concealment and misrepresentation—the debt had remained on the subsidiaries’ books. However, by the end of the year, Presidion would have no choice but to disclose the shortfall to their stockholders.
“If that happens,” said Burcham, “our stock will crash.” The chairman assured Amodeo that the problem stemmed from issues preceding Presidion’s acquisition of the subsidiaries. None of the executive staff knew how to fix the problem. “Can you help us?”
With his typical optimism, Amodeo replied, “Of course.”
He arranged to have a team of professional MBA’s annualize the corporation’s problem. In the course of the initial examination they discovered the company was actually $15 million behind on taxes. During a subsequent phase of the audit, Amodeo discovered the arrears were closer to $25 million, possibly more.
The silver lining in the Presidion debacle was their constant daily reporting of the payroll withholdings. Despite having not paid the IRS, the companies had always reported its tax obligation. Per IRS statute, as long as the government hadn’t notified the companies to segregate their funds from general funds—which they hadn’t—the IRS was just another debtor; subject to bankruptcy, like any other debtor.
Specifically, as per the statute, Amodeo agreed to execute a plan whereby—in exchange for slightly over $8 million, twenty-five percent of the money Amodeo would save Presidion, twenty-five percent of the companies stock and several seats on their board of directors—he would remove the debt from Presidion’s books by the end of 2004. This would be accomplished by purchasing the indebted subsidiaries, then negotiating with the entities’ creditors—as he had done many times before—to either accept a fraction of what they were owed during a bankruptcy or agree to allow Amodeo to liquidate the companies himself, in which he assured them they would receive the bulk of their obligations.
Unfortunately, once Amodeo bought the companies he discovered Presidion had shielded an additional $25 million of obligations; and he was now responsible for $50 million in debts. Regardless, he went forward with his plan. Amazingly, all the debtors—including the IRS—agreed to accept the liquidation option.
Eventually, two of the companies broke even, the remaining entities’ assets weren’t enough to cover their obligations and the debtors incurred a loss; one of those debtors being the IRS.
In the midst of the liquidation, Amodeo and Yaniv Amar founded Mirabilis Ventures Inc. to hold not only the Presidion stock owed to him, but also to acquire numerous other companies using Amodeo theories.
MUCH LIKE SPECTRE, Ian Fleming’s evil organization of ex-KGB officers, mafia members and industrialistvillains committed to taking over of the world, Mirabilis’ mission was specifically designed to carryout Amodeo’s Capital Genesis “business model.” A kinder gentler form of corporate Fascism designed to spread like cancer throughout the economies of the world.
“An important part of Capital Genesis is to consume,” says Amodeo. “Consume until all facets of the global economy come under Mirabilis’ sphere of influence.”
Initially, Presidion seemed like a logical progression to that end, however, once the stock had been transferred to Mirabilis, and Presidion’s books were available to Mirabilis’ newly acquired board seats, the companies true issues surfaced. Presidion had managed to conceal millions of unrealized debt in connection to the companies self-insured workman compensation and health care plans in addition to contractual liabilities. To top it off they were tens of millions of dollars behind on their own payroll withholdings taxes to the IRS.
Presidion had sixty million dollars in obligations and growing. However, they also had 28,000 employees and an annual revenue of nearly half a billion dollars. As a result, Amodeo felt the company was salvageable.
In January 2005, he went to the IRS’s collections unit in Plantation, Florida. There he laid out his strategy to correct Presidion’s problems; he disclosed the IRS debt and explained that, over the next few years, he planned on correcting the companies obligations and to re-organize, using funds meant to repay the past due IRS’s payroll taxes.
“It was that,” Amodeo says, “or we place Presidion in bankruptcy and have the court appoint a trustee.” A trustee, however, would have immediately displaced the ten of thousands of employees and liquidated the company’s assets. Based on their experience with receivers, the IRS knew they would collect virtually nothing; Amodeo however, had a solid track record of recouping their funds. “My re-organization plan included issuing stock in Presidion that could be remitted or sold for cash at a later date.”
The IRS accepted Amodeo’s proposal. The only caveat being, no one at the IRS collections unit seemed clear on whether they could accept the stock. Regardless, he was instructed to move forward with the re-organization.
“HE IS PREOCCUPIED with bizarre ideas, possibly with delusions and hallucinations,” states Dr. Antonio in her evaluation. Amodeo believes he is on a divine mission others do not comprehend. For example, “he believes implementing the Mirabilis corporate model in cities throughout the world…will ultimately replace governments.”
The model based on Amodeo’s “Capital Genesis” thesis stresses strength in numbers. Once absorbed into the Mirabilis network, companies are streamlined, fractional costs as a member are shared. One company’s costs become revenue to affiliated companies, thereby compounding profits, allowing Mirabilis to gobble up its competitors. “He will then be in the position to assume control of worldwide economies as a benevolent dictator in order to bring peace and prosperity to the world.”
“FRANK, HOW MANY PEOPLE knew?” I ask Amodeo; standing in the prison’s legal library—where the disbarred lawyer now works as a law clerk helping inmates with their criminal cases. The would be emperor’s expression changes from neutral to one of confusion. “About your plan,” I hesitate, attempting not to smirk, “about the world domination thing?”
“Everyone knew,” he tells me. “I believe in total transparency.”
In the course of a deposition in early 2006, regarding a technology company Amodeo had acquired—and immediately placed in bankruptcy—an attorney approached him in the restroom during a break.
The lawyer represented Merrill Lynch, one of the creditors fighting the bankruptcy. He commented on Amodeo’s boundless energy and asked, what his goal was—not with the technology company, it was beyond salvageable. The counselor was aware of Mirabilis’ ever growing consumption of corporate entities. “Ultimately,” he inquired, “what’s your goal?”
Amodeo turned to the high priced counselor, in his expensive suit and said, “World domination through strategic political alliances and economic dominance of the global market.” He then gave him a summary of the Capital Genesis model of consuming interrelated business until Mirabilis was everywhere. “Then, I’ll be emperor of the world.”
The lawyer seemed a little taken back at the seriousness of Amodeo’s tone. “And you’re going to do this from Orlando?” he asked. “Shouldn’t you be in a bigger city?”
“No, Orlando’s good. From here, no one will see me coming.”
What Amodeo didn’t disclose, despite his belief in “total transparency,” was how he was financing his plan. In his euphoric hypomanic state, he had deluded himself into believing—due to his divine mission—that it was acceptable to use the tens of millions in payroll taxes several of the PEO companies were holding. Money he’d told the IRS he was going to utilize for the purpose of “restructuring,” became the means to realize Amodeo’s outrageous plan to conquer the world. Still, he didn’t hide the misappropriation of the funds from the executives, attorneys and accountants within his companies. In fact he began openly referring to the IRS as his “capital partner.” Shockingly, all his associates went along with the insanity.
FROM THE PASSENGER seat of the Mercedes box-van, the private security contractor with Tactical International Investigations and Intelligence Services peered through his binoculars. The swarthy man sipping coffee at the curb-side cafe matched the photograph provided by the U.S. State Department.
For exactly one week the four contractors had watched the man. Twenty-four-hours-a-day for seven-days straight they had conducted surveillance of the Colombian, living in Buenos Aires, Argentina—a man the U.S. government believed was laundering money for the Colombian Norte Valle Cartel, who supplied cocaine to the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel. They had sweat their asses off in the tropical heat trailing the man, sleeping in shifts in their hotel rooms and van.
Days earlier they had swiped a coffee mug the Colombian had used, but were unable to get a single decent print. Despite this, they were sure it was him. Their intel was too good.
The plaza adjacent to the cafe and the cobblestone street was nearly empty. The private jet was waiting at the airport. The flight crew was on standby. This was the best opportunity they’d had; if they didn’t take him now, there might not be another.
By 2005, the U.S. government was fighting two wars on the other side of the planet and struggling to keep up with potential domestic terrorist threats. The Bush administration was outsourcing both law enforcement and military operations—guarding embassies and supply convoys. Special ops were one of many duties being contracted to private security corporations like Blackwater, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, et cetera.
One of the Tactical contractors jammed a taser into the Colombian money launderer’s armpit and shot 6,000 volts of juice into him. As the man’s torso crumpled, a second contractor scooped him off his feet. Inside the boxvan, they yanked a black cotton bag over the launderer’s head and zip-tied his wrists.
Eight hours later, the private jet touched down in the United States and the U.S. Marshals took him into custody.
“Collections were Tactical’s bread and butter,” according to Amodeo. The private security firm was headed by Kevin Billings, a twenty-one-year veteran of the Secret Service. Billings served on President George W. Bush’s protection detail and the agency’s counterassault team. Tactical worked “snatch and grab black ops” for the U.S. government—one of several security firms made-up of U.S. former special forces and Israeli Mossad agents. Where U.S. law ended, Amodeo’s private security forces began.
When someone in the State Department wanted to have a “chit chat” with an Iranian living in Brazil—believed to be raising money for Hezbollah—Tactical contractors snatched the Persian up outside his hotel in Rio De Janeiro. Then there was the time the Department of Justice indicted a Nigerian for washing blood diamond money through the Central Bank of West Africa. The private security firm plucked him off his yacht while docked in Port Harcourt. And when the Department of Homeland Security found out that a Slav responsible for hacking
into one of the largest U.S. banks had left the safety of Russia, Tactical’s boys grabbed him off the beach on the Black Sea in Yalta, Ukraine.
When pressed for details, Amodeo cited national security non-disclosure and privacy issues. If it weren’t for how the remainder of his story unfolds and the evidence, I would’ve chalked up Tactical’s operations to one of Amodeo’s manic delusions.
As a concept, Capital Genesis, though a seemingly benign business strategy was, at its root, a system that utilizes economic warfare, ultimately leading to the abolishment of governments. The “end game” is world domination. Implementation to that end, Amodeo admits, may require force.
“Inevitably, the leaders of some large corporations and countries will resist,” says Amodeo. He licks and tightens his lips, contemplating the steps necessary to achieve his goal. “This is war,” he tells me, “people will die, people will die.”
With the capital generated from Mirabilis, Amodeo’s numerous other companies, and yes, even the IRS’s payroll taxes, it was time to execute his plan. Amodeo and his team of elite global professionals entered into discussions with the Brazilian government to create Eco Oil, a company specializing in the refinement of South American sugar cane into ethanol fuel. They also began working with the People’s Republic of China to build portable water desalination plants for the Huoang province; and negotiated with the Russians to become part owner of an aircraft assembly plant that had once manufactured the Soviet Union’s ICBM rockets and nuclear warheads.
The plan was to start off small. “Baby steps,” Amodeo tells me. “One country, then two and eventually a continent.” To do this he would need to acquire Blackwater style private security firms populated by men with law enforcement and military experience, equipment, ships, aircraft and bases of operations. “Eventually, the world would fall. It’s my destiny.”
STUDY AFTER STUDY show that bipolar leaders typically possess very high levels of formal education, cognitive ability, capacity to process information and a propensity to deviate from the status quo, cites Leslie DeChurch, PhD., industrial and organizational psychology expert and an associate professor at the University of Central Florida. “[E]nergy, charm and intuition distinguish many successful hypomanic creative geniuses.”
To the extent that a bipolar leader’s actions are functional to an organization, the leader’s impact is an asset, “but the dark side of leadership, [if] dysfunctional or misaligned, can lead to damaging behavior.”
IT’S WORTH NOTING that none of Amodeo’s advisors made any attempt to rein him in. Based on court transcripts and security video, during the expansion of Mirabilis, the company’s chairman, Mr. Laurie Holtz—a certified public accountant—and his son, Steven Holtz, an attorney hired as a licensing consultant, were captured on video. The two professionals were standing in an empty conference room discussing a recent meeting in which their “mad genius” associate, Frank Amodeo, had just given a speech regarding the companies exponential growth.
The conglomerate was preparing to go public and Amodeo had been barking about trillions of dollars in revenue, international politics and the inevitable global monopoly to come. Clearly, Amodeo had said something that had disturbed Steven.
“There’s a fine line between ambition, ambitious and,” he can be heard saying to his father, “delusional.”
“To me reaching across the table is success,” admitted the senior Holtz. “Amodeo wants to reach across the world.” The discussion turns to Amodeo’s “master plan” and Mirabilis’ chairman concluded by saying, “If this thing is a success, we could make a fucking fortune and you get a piece.”
The problem with their discussion is it’s indicative of the people Amodeo was relying on to advise him on the legality of his plan. Unfortunately, they had abandoned their professional responsibilities in expectation of feeding at the trough.
THE TWIN-ENGINE F/A-18 fighter jets’ tires touched down with a chirp and a puff of white smoke at Orlando’s airport in the summer of 2005. Unlike the other private jets sitting on the tarmac that day, the supersonic birds of prey had been designed for one purpose, air supremacy.
For weeks Amodeo had been negotiating with a “black market group” in South Georgia, affiliated with the Phoenix Air Group. He was on the cusp of purchasing a combination of McDonnell Douglas’ F-15 Eagles and General Dynamics’ F-16 fighter jets; over two dozen declawed aircraft, that Amodeo was planning to have stationed in Cyprus.
“The Cypriots were vying for the relocation of our corporate headquarters,” says Amodeo. Once the fighters weapons systems were replaced and the birds became lethal again, legally, they couldn’t be kept in the U.S. “The [black market group] flew in a couple F-18s to deliver promotional material and some regulatory documents.”
Amodeo, Billings, and his security detail, admired the gun metal gray fighters as the salesman worked on closing the $60 million purchase.
In December, Amodeo’s consultant group, AQMI Strategy Corporation, was contacted by Dr. Oscar Kashala’s campaign
director. After decades of rebel uprisings, a transitional government had been set up, and free elections were scheduled on July 30, 2006. Kashala, the UREC party’s candidate for the Democratic Republic of the Congo required, not only political consulting, but—due to systemic corruption in the current regime and the violent nature of African politics—also required Amodeo’s ability to provide private security and financing.
“We backed Kashala for many reasons,” recalls Amodeo with a grin. “One of which was—as far as we could tell—he was the only candidate running that hadn’t murdered anyone. The bar is set pretty low when you’re dealing with African politics.”
Kashala was a Congolese-born, Harvard educated MD, with a successful practice in Boston who had recently moved back to the Congo and, more importantly, he was willing to adopt Amodeo’s Capital Genesis economic model.
This sparked a flurry of talks which ultimately led to negotiations between Amodeo’s team—led by Linda Duncan, CHA (the English equivalent of an American CPA), a Brit, specializing in international banking mergers, and Bob Lieb, a CPA, whose expertise was international tax law, other consultants—and the Belgian families that owned the Central Bank of the Congo. The bank and the financial infrastructure throughout Africa and the Middle
East were antiquated, but Amodeo had a plan.
“The Congo is rich in natural resources—there’s twenty-four trillion dollars worth of mineral wealth just sitting in the ground—yet poor in every other way,” he says, “making it difficult to monetize their assets.” Due to the country’s instability, over the years there had been a dramatic reduction in national output, government revenue and increased debt. The economy was stagnant. “However, what Africa lacks, the Middle East has an abundance of.”
Sharia law, however, prohibits the charging of interest and the foreclosure of debt. The decree doesn’t conform to modern economic reality, so, in a hypomanic state of creative genius, Amodeo devised a system which accommodated both the Sharia restrictions and commercial banking principles.
He planned to securitize the Congo’s natural resources—cobalt, uranium, tantalum, manganese, gold, silver, coltan, oil, coal, water, et cetera—and sell asset backed securities to cash rich Muslim countries; giving Amodeo the capital to build up the country’s infrastructure. As an incentive to the Arab investors, the plan called for the construction of bank financed homes throughout the Middle East, thereby creating a Muslim middleclass, which is virtually non-existent in most Muslim countries.
“Now if a Muslim failed to pay their mortgage—per Sharia law—there wasn’t much we could do,” Amodeo admits. “Other than recouping the house at their death.” Regardless, the revenue from the sales of the Congolese lumber and cement alone would make the default losses irrelevant, he tells me. “You have to take into account the auxiliary income generated from fuel to labor.”
Coincidentally, Amodeo’s plan also accounted for billions of dollars in capital required to build what he describes as, “the largest private military force in history.”
“THOSE WHO SLIP into hypermania (‘above mania’) may experience hallucinations or other psychotic symptoms,” says Mimi Hull, PhD. The elements that define mania—fearlessness, utter certainty and inadvisable risks—can be positive if the afflicted individual is well-intentioned. However, if the sufferer is violent or an evil megalomaniac (as in the cases of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin) “the result can be catastrophic.”
THE TAUT FISTS of forty thousand Congolese were thrusting and punching the humid night air. Their sweaty faces chanting, “Kashala! Kashala!! Kashala!!!” The mass of UREC supporters were packed shoulder-to-shoulder into the stadium in the Kinshasa, booming with elation for their would-be President. “Kashala! Kashala!! Kashala!!!”
The security detail provided by Tactical had two men posted within feet of their assignment, every entrance covered and
operatives in the crowd. Still, Billings stood slightly behind Kashala, his eyes jumping from face to face. The political environment was much more tense than anticipated.
Over thirty-three candidates were running for the office of President; the bulk of them shared less than one-third of the voting base. The remaining candidates—President Joseph Kabila, former Prime Minister Etienne Tshisekedi, General Jean-Pierre Bemba and a few others—including Kashala, were battling over the crucial two-thirds.
With the help of AQMI, Kashala’s numbers were rising. His unanticipated surge in popularity was threatening to split the vote and (with a little luck) seize the Presidency. The election was eleven weeks away. Political assassinations were the norm in African politics and Kashala’s rivals were making credible threats.
Amodeo had hired Dutko Worldwide, a top-notch lobbying firm out of DC, run by Karen Tramantano, President Bill Clinton’s former Deputy Chief of Staff. The firm had the international political clout necessary to help grease the wheels in Washington in regard to the regulations concerning the purchase of the Central Bank of the Congo by a U.S. convicted felon. The process required to securitize the Congo’s commodities out of Zurich and the contacts needed to arrange temporary aid from international financial institutions and international donors,
such as the IMF, World Bank and the World Health Organization.
He had top-people advising Kashala’s campaign. Due to regulations restricting unlicensed foreigners from carrying weapons—the boys at Tactical had hired private security—armed to the teeth—from a small anonymous security firm in Nigeria and a large notorious private contracting group, Omega Risk Solutions, out of South Africa.
Everything was going according to plan, but the crowds were growing and Billings was nervous.
Days later, on the morning of May 19, 2006, Billings picked up two sets of extensive surveys of the Congo’s vast mineral deposits—acquired through an opposition party contact—known as assays. One set was placed in a DHL international shipping package bound for Zurich; the second set accompanied the ex-Secret Service agent and two of Tactical’s officers—Seth Taylor, a security specialist, and Joseph Robinson, a political strategist and former Orlando police captain—to Paris and on to Orlando.
There is no way to be certain of how General Bemba—the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo Party’s candidate—became aware Billings was in possession of the assays. However, it’s believed one of Bemba’s informants working in the government notified him. What I am sure of is, the general’s campaign was losing ground to Kashala and Bemba had control of a large quasi-faction of the Forces d’Armees de Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) at his disposal. This faction, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo—part-political party, part-rebel army—was only partially under the control of the Kabila regime.
On their way to the Kinshasa’s international airport, Billings, Taylor and Robinson were stopped twice by Bemba’s soldiers roaring around in pickup trucks with mounted machineguns. Their vehicles were searched, but nothing was taken. An hour later, however, Billings and his associates were seated aboard a commercial 777 minutes from takeoff when four trucks surrounded the aircraft.
The soldiers entered the first-class-cabin with their AK-47 assault rifles in hand. “You!” barked one of the soldiers, pointing to Billings. “All of you, off, now!”
“What’s this about?” Billings asked. But all the soldiers would say, as they prodded and steered the Americans down the mobile-stairs with the barrel of their assault rifles, was “we have orders.”
Standing outside the plane, the men’s passports and the assay reports were seized. When Billings handed over his U.S. State Department travel document his heart sank; his daughter’s birthday was in three days and he knew he wouldn’t be there. Then a soldier uttered, “spies” under his breath and the ex-Secret Service agent started wondering if he would ever see his daughter again. A minute later, they were released and told not to attempt to leave the country.
Billings and the others returned to the compound being used to house Kashala’s protection detail. Ten Nigerians and nineteen South African private security personnel were working in shifts scouting locations and guarding the candidate. They were keeping Kashala at the Sheraton Hotel; where he was protected by a second detail of over a dozen Tactical subcontractors.
“When I went to bed that night,” recalls Amodeo, “Karen, my lobbyist, was working with the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa.” She felt confident she could have a replacement passport issued within twenty-four hours. “We weren’t sure precisely what was happening at that point, but General Bemba was a practicing cannibal, and his branch of the Congolese military was known for beheading foreign spies… I wanted my guys out of there, asap.”
Just after 3 a.m., Bemba’s soldiers came over the walls. Silently leap-frogging out of the darkness; they swarmed into the compound and took the guards by surprise. Simultaneously, ten trucks loaded with soldiers whipped through the entrance. Uniformed grunts jumped from the rear of the vehicles and suddenly, the entire compound erupted into chaos; Bemba’s men began kicking in doors, shouting orders and forced the buildings’ occupants into the courtyard.
Billings and over thirty of the private contractors were packed into several large military trucks and transported to a prison at a base on the outskirts of Kinshasa.
“I was awakened at five a.m. U.S. eastern standard time—eleven a.m. Kinshasa time—and told Tactical’s headquarters had lost contact with Billings,” says Amodeo.
“THE MERCENARIES were arrested and charged with planning a coup,” Information Minister Henri Mova Sakanyi told The Associated Press.
The Americans’ employer, Orlando-based AQMI Strategy Corp., said they were providing security and campaign consulting for a candidate in the Congo’s upcoming election. A U.N. spokesman has indicated the organization believes the arrests are an attempt at political manipulation before the election. Nearly 18,000 U.N. peacekeepers are in the Congo to help maintain order as the historic vote approaches.
“[All thirty-two foreigners] were found with weapons,” said Sakanyi. The government continues to believe the men were plotting a takeover. “We have spoken with their respective ambassadors and we have said that those people are delinquents and should face proper justice.”
THE INTERROGATOR wiped a sheet of perspiration off his brow and rubbed the excess onto his khaki fatigues. Both Billings and the man questioning him stared at the Secret Service badge resting on the steel table separating them. The soldiers had found it during their initial search. Despite the ex-agent’s denials, the interrogator refused to believe he and the other American’s weren’t spies sent to overthrow the government.
The small room was hot and stifling, with a single light suspended from the ceiling—a cliché of a third world interrogation room with the exception of the theme song from Green Acres emanating from down the hallway.
During the course of the first few days of incarceration, while Billings, Taylor, Robinson and the twenty-nine subcontractors were locked in a twenty-by-twenty-foot cell—empty with the exception of a couple of filthy cots and a toilet consisting of a hole in the floor—they were given limited amounts of drinkable water and fed sardine scraps. Billings and the other Americans passed their time teaching the Africans to sing iconic TV theme songs: The Brady Bunch, Rawhide, Gilligan’s Island, et cetera.
For hours on end, all thirty-two men sat on the dirty floor and sang theme song after theme song. Then, the soldiers came and dragged the three Americans, two of the South Africans and a Nigerian to a separate cell. That’s when the interrogations began. But the remaining Nigerians and South Africans refused to stop singing—it damn near drove the guards crazy.
“You work for secret government organization,” spat Billings’ interrogator. He motioned to the retired-Secret Service agent’s badge. “Taylor, Robinson, these men are…CIA, yes?”
“No,” Billings replied, as he’d done for days. General Bemba was convinced that Kashala was a puppet; backed by the U.S. government in an effort to seize the Congo and “rape its natural resources,” and the Americans were a team of “shadowy” CIA operatives bent on pulling off the coup d’etat.
“We kill spies in this country,” he grunted, sweat trailing down his face, dripping onto the assay reports spread out on the table. In the distance Billings could hear the faint theme song to The Partridge Family.
Amodeo and his team at AQMI, working with the South African and Canadian Embassies, were able to get the detainees fresh water and food. While delivering the supplies the Canadians tried to persuade the general to release the prisoners, Bemba, however, refused to discuss the matter.
“We had the Orlando Police Department—the department Joe [Robinson] had worked for—issue an arrest warrant and deportation order through Interpol for Billings, Taylor and Robinson,” Amodeo tells me. “But when served, Bemba wouldn’t recognize the order.”
By day five, the general had begun playing to the press; periodically he would have his soldiers drag all thirty-two detainees out to a prearranged area just outside the prison. They would force the shackled “spies” onto their knees and place assault rifles to the prisoners’ heads in an ostentatious mass execution, and allow the media to photograph the scene.
After each mock execution, the prisoners knew—if something didn’t change—someday very soon they would be executed.
On the twenty-eighth floor of the SunTrust Tower in downtown Orlando—a stone’s throw from the Disney World complex—Amodeo stood in front of a wall of flat-screens with multiple maps of Kinshasa and live feeds of the prison’s exterior. In the background, a couple dozen AQMI employees were frantically typing away on laptops and chattering into telephones. Outside the expansive windows, the massive Epcot globe could be seen in the distance.
The CIA had stationed two officers with Amodeo to observe, assist, and if necessary, help him manage the hostage crisis—they had people on the ground in Kinshasa. Not to be outdone, the FBI had requested that one of their own agents—an expert in hostage negotiations—be present.
While Amodeo’s people in Florida worked the phones, refuting the absurd allegations raised by the Congolese government, Karen was in DC urging senators and congressmen, in addition to the U.S. State Department and Embassy, to push for NATO intervention—at the time, they had nearly twenty thousand peacekeepers in the Congo.
Other than making calls and vague threats, no one in the U.S. government seemed willing to take action.
“It’s amazing what I was able to accomplish with just a few hundred thousand dollars of the IRS’s money,” says Amodeo. By the morning of the twenty-fifth he had an elite international black ops force—three dozen fully outfitted ex-British, South African and U.S. special forces equipped with blackhawks, and a small group of ex-Cypriot frogmen and U.S. Navy seals—standing by at a staging point near the Congo (Zaire) river. The InterOps team is universally known to military organizations throughout the world.
General Bemba had so vehemently asserted his foreign prisoners were planning a U.S. backed coup d’etat they were quickly becoming a political chip; multiple factions of President Kabila’s regime wanted to play. “Some of these groups were calling for summary executions,” recalls Amodeo. “I couldn’t let that happen.”
With the help of several charitable organizations and the Catholic Church, Tactical managed to smuggle a significant number of their own private contractors, in addition to subcontractors from South Africa into the country. Amodeo had roughly fifty operatives stationed throughout the city—outside the military prison and near the airport where the regime had traditionally held executions. Interspersed with his own people, the CIA had operatives observing. Waiting.
During the early morning hours of day eight, the Canadians notified Amodeo that one of their informants working inside Bemba’s faction of the military believed the detainees were about to be taken to the airport and executed. Suddenly, Tactical’s people began reporting movement within the prison’s fences—the detainees were being loaded onto transport vehicles.
Amodeo turned to the CIA agents and told them to let their people at Langley know if the trucks made it to the airport Tactical and InterOps were going in.
“Twenty minutes later, I was on the phone with someone from the Pentagon,” says Amodeo. They advised him that the State Department was in contact with President Kabila, negotiating the detainees’ release, but it would take time. They needed seventy-two hours.
On the flat-screens, the live feeds from the Congo showed the vehicles leaving the prison. AQMI had nearly one hundred heavily armed ex-military private contractors and subcontractors under its control, which included helicopters equipped with hellfire-missiles. “I told the Pentagon, ‘If they make it to the airport I’ll flatten the entire city.'”
Whether it was Amodeo’s threat that caused Bemba’s soldiers to avoid the airport is unknown. However, I do know that the trucks pulled off the road—nowhere near the airport—shortly after Amodeo’s call. Bemba’s men dragged the hostages into a field and conducted one of their mock executions. Then, they returned to the prison.
On May 27, 2006, President Kabila orders the release of all thirty-two hostages.
“CONGO DRAMA unveils enigma,” reported the Orlando Sentinel.
Three local employees advising a presidential candidate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had been arrested and detained… When [they] were released nine days later, they flew the final leg of their trip home on Amodeo’s private jet.”
Until that highly publicized event last month, Amodeo had been operating unnoticed. Yet in the past several years, he and his associates have assembled a network of interconnected businesses that spread across three floors of Orlando high-rises.
“It’s all my money,” he said. Amodeo, a venture capitalist, says he was the major financial backer in the purchase of Mirabilis Ventures… He finances acquisitions, brings in new business to the firm and helps close deals. Since then, Mirabilis has bought or purchased interest in 70 companies that Amodeo says have combined annual revenues of $1 billion.
“By 2012, I expect I’ll have offices within one hour of every human alive everywhere,” he said during an interview with the Sentinel. [Amodeo’s] subsidiaries evaluate distressed companies that fit into his “Capital Genesis” philosophy. Mirabilis, he has told employees, will “change the world.”
BILL CLINTON was now asking Amodeo to join the Board of Directors of his charity. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson from Florida wanted him to host his fundraiser and Amodeo was regularly attending charity functions with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Commissioner Betty Wyman.
“We were contacted by Bud McFarland (former National Security Advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford), regarding the Seeds of Hope project crisis,” Amodeo tells me. In an attempt to move the Afghani economy away from illegal opium production, the Bush administration was urging humanitarian organizations to help convert the country’s crops from poppies to soybeans. “The Nutrition and Education International organization had two issues, one they immediately needed a million dollars to airlift forty-five tons of seeds to Afghanistan, and their second problem was, there were certain places—like the northern province of Kunuz—which the U.S. military couldn’t go, but Tactical could.”
Amodeo’s people helped transport seeds to more then three hundred Afghani farmers.
When the developer of Trump Tower Tampa—a proposed $260 million skyscraper—was struggling to get the project financed, and Donald Trump himself was trying to squeeze the developer out, Mirabilis stepped in. “What Trump was doing wasn’t fair,” says Amodeo. “We weren’t so much taking over Trump Tower as we were assimilating the project into Mirabilis’ real estate development division.”
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Trump said, he was “disappointed” he couldn’t get control of the project, “but I’m confident Mirabilis can pull it off.”
Amodeo was quickly becoming known as a high-powered “fixer” among the business and political elite. That’s when Karen asked if he would consider co-sponsoring the NATO Summit in Latvia, along with AT&T, Daimler-Chrysler and Parex Bank, among others.
ON OCTOBER 27, 2006, Amodeo was sitting in the Roosevelt room. Most of the players—Bush’s Chief Political Advisor, Karl Rove, the Director General, key ambassadors and several of the heads of NATO—were already seated at the conference table when President George W. Bush entered. His anonymous entourage of staffers trailing behind him.
Amodeo sat with the President and his advisors, and listened to a briefing concerning Russian aggression in the Baltic region. Central and Eastern European countries—Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia—were jockeying for membership in NATO and the Kremlin was rattling its sabers. President Vladimir Putin was highly agitated that the former USSR republics of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania had recently become NATO members.
“Tensions are high,” said Bush as several attendees nodded in agreement. “It’s important to let Putin know we’re not toleratin’ his BS.”
“I agree,” replied Amodeo.
“The Riga Summit in Latvia, represents a line in the sand.”
The conversation quickly shifted to Afghanistan and Iraq; the U.S. military was struggling to fight two wars with very little support from its allies. Amodeo listened as a NATO official briefed the President on the organization’s increased role in counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan, especially in the violent south.
Bush commented on Amodeo’s help with the Seeds of Hope project and several operations in Central Afghanistan. Amodeo warned the President that the skyrocketing trade in poppies, illicit timber and gem trading was a boon to the Taliban. Everyone from government officials to the insurgence groups had their hands in the profits.
“The drug trade is making Afghanistan unmanageable,” said Amodeo. He went on to say that as a result of initiatives like the Seeds of Hope project he and Bud McFarland had sponsored, certain provinces had seen significant declines in poppy cultivation of fifty to ninety percent.
“And we appreciate everything you and McFarland are doing over there, Frank.”
“The problem is Mr. President,” Amodeo interjected, “our people on the ground are telling us that the Taliban are coming in from Iran.” There was a noticeable stiffening in Bush and several of the heads of NATO. It appeared that Amodeo was more informed than the President. “The Taliban leadership has regrouped in Pakistan and they’re now being supplied with shipments of small arms, munitions and rockets from Iran.”
“Iran is a delicate issue,” replied Bush. Amodeo had inadvertently revealed classified information in a nonclassified setting. “We’re dealing with it.”
Twenty minutes later—as Amodeo was leaving the room—Bush mentioned he’d read the after-action report on the Congo incident. “Nice work,” chuckled Bush. “I like your style, Frank.”
Amodeo’s next stop was the Congolese Embassy. The election held on July 30, 2006, yielded President Kabila a victory—via forty-four percent of the vote. Bemba took second and Kashala came in fifth out of thirtythree candidates. There were allegations of voter fraud, but Kabila was confirmed during a run-off, months later.
Amodeo had underestimated the grip Kabila had on what was clearly “his country.” He immediately reached out to the Congolese Ambassador and arranged a meeting.
Initially, the atmosphere was tense; both the ambassador and the Director of Intelligence—the Congo equivalent of the Deputy Director of the CIA—were there to represent Kabila. “They were still under the impression I had tried to lead a coup,” says Amodeo. “Once I clarified my interest in the Congo, and explained the Capital Genesis model, they became very receptive to my securitization plan.”
Kabila’s regime had a real problem; the Mbuj-May province felt disenfranchised. To some degree they were being discriminated against, not as a government policy, but due to cultural differences stemming from centuries of tribal squabbling. As a result, they were being excluded by “modern” Congolese society. There was massive Mbuj-May unemployment, poverty, incarceration and dependence on government subsidies. Millions lived in shanty-towns.
Amodeo had a plan to change all that; by offering military employment to the two million Mbuj-May of military age. He was willing to equip and train a large number of them.
“We planned to utilize them as private security for our Congolese public utility and infrastructure programs; thereby stabilizing the economy and encouraging industry,” he says. “There were in excess of fifty Congo stateowned industries, from manufacturing to mining. Once I explained that, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ the Ambassador and the Direct began nodding their understanding; and I knew we had a deal.”
In addition, Amodeo explained, these troops could be used as a “peace keeping force” to “stabilize” the Congo’s neighboring countries economies and then, of course, all of Africa.
Despite the loss of the Congolese election by Kashala, all of the pieces were coming together. Amodeo had no doubt that word was spreading throughout the corridors of Washington; he was amassing a dangerous conglomerate of companies and contacts. However, although possible, it was unlikely anyone knew the level of his commitment.
“HE SAW NO OBSTACLES, no pitfalls in his manic delusions,” says Jeffery A. Danziger PhD, a competency evaluator for the state and federal courts. Amodeo intended on taking over several Soviet Republics and African nations, but he also wanted to control their economies through Mirabilis. “[H]is belief was that within a year he could double their gross national product, eliminate their debt and make them first world nations, if only they would follow his economic plans. This is consistent with someone who was manic, euphoric and grandiose…”
Dr. Danziger also notes Amodeo spoke about “building nations, protecting democracy and making sure that…employees don’t get killed in the process, which seems bizarre to me. He spoke about changing the world.”
Amodeo believed his “economic methods would eventually make governments an anachronism, that he would set up regional areas of 30,000 square miles with three and a half million people, and because of his restructuring of the world’s economy, eventually world governments would wither away.” Mirabilis would be everywhere on the planet and Amodeo would become the de facto ruler of the earth. “Presidents would take direction from him, he
would essentially become emperor of the world.”
In Danzinger’s opinion Amodeo’s mania had “reached psychotic proportions.”
PATRIOTISM AT A PROFIT is a $50 billion a year business in the United States. By 2006 nearly fifty percent of the CIA’s budget was going to private contractors and a sizable chunk of
the U.S. military’s—half the employees at the Baghdad station and the National Counter terrorism Center were private contractors. Fortunes were being made by companies like Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton and Blackwater.
Between Iraq and Afghanistan there were 300,000 private security employees conducting every facet of both clandestine and security work. Sadly, many of those highly-paid-undertrained-contractors were failing at their duties. Blackwater, Military Professionals
Resources Incorporated and DynCorp International had become an embarrassment. They were derelict in their duties, killing innocent civilians, smuggling drugs and committing rape.
“Patrick—one of the ex-CIA guys who worked for [Tactical] —came to me shortly after I returned from Washington,” recalls Amodeo. The former CIA officer had been approached by several of his former co-workers—now working for Blackwater. They were planning to jump ship and then wanted to join Tactical as partners. “Billions of dollars worth of contracts held by Blackwater and DynCorp’s were expiring in early 2007—they wanted those contracts.”
Although the “merger” would have been lucrative, Amodeo felt the combination of resources, manpower and the reliance on the federal government would have hindered his plans. As a result, and to their amazement, he turned them down.
“There’s no proof,” says Amodeo, “but, looking back on the offer, I believe it was the United States’ first attempt to neutralize me, by bringing me into the fold and making me reliant on them.”
The second pseudo bribe, Amodeo tells me, occurred months later, during a business dinner with Metalurgus, a northern European company. Although the nature of the bribe was convoluted, Amodeo says the owner offered him a contract worth nearly $200 million with roughly $50 million in profit attached. However, it would require the refocusing of several of his current projects. Therefore, Amodeo turned him down.
He certainly didn’t need the money. By this point Amodeo’s use of the IRS’s funds had been increasing exponentially for years; in the fourth-quarter of 2004, he took approximately $9 million, during the following year Amodeo seized an additional $72 million and in the fiscal year of 2006 he misappropriated over $100 million. Over $181 million of the U.S. government’s money was in the hands of a madman and he was using it to further his goal of world domination.
DURING A “BREAKOUT GROUP,” on the first day of the NATO Summit in Riga, Latvia, Amodeo and several NATO officials were discussing the issue of reparations. With a dozen international attorneys and ambassadors in attendance, Amodeo gave an impromptu seminar regarding the application of privateering to countries under NATO sanctions.
From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, privately owned armed ships were commissioned by governments to prey upon their enemies in times of war. These privateers were issued letters of marque, giving them the same rights as enlisted naval officers and crew, and allowing them to share in the bounty from captured vessels.
“Iranian oil,” said Amodeo, “being shipped by Norwegian tankers through international waters, could be intercepted by NATO peacekeepers or private contractors; their cargo seized and the sale of that oil used to fund NATO operations.” The modern application of privateering could easily be carried out by licensed private contractors, such as Tactical, Amodeo concluded. “NATO intervention and sanctions need to have effective consequences.”
Amodeo arrived in Riga on November 25 in his Gulfstream, with his chief of staff, Joe Robinson and Jason Carlson, Mirabilis’ Executive Vice President, Linda Duncan and a small security detail. There had been a series of meetings with various managers of European state-owned businesses—i.e. former Soviet Republics—where he and his team had extensive discussions of how Capital Genesis could fill the void left by the USSR; in addition to placing his peacekeepers in country to help stabilize their economies. All of the meetings went well.
The summit—held at the Olympic Sports Center in Riga—consisting of the heads of state and governments belonging to the North American Treaty Organization, officially started on the 28th. At the Riga Conference, there would be a number of NATO members—including President George W. Bush—all of whom would give speeches. However, the week prior to the two day summit, Riga was flooded with international politicians and businessmen making deals.
Amodeo was in his element. His serotonin and dopamine levels were at an all time high. He was surrounded by the political elite. His life long divine mission of conquering the world through economic domination was finally within his grasp.
That was when it all went wrong. According to Amodeo, at a cocktail party following one of the NATO associated events, he was chatting with several unidentified NATO parliamentary assembly members, officials and their staff, when someone asked about the Congo incident.
Had Amodeo not been manic at that moment, he may have mollified them with a generic answer; instead, he launched into his Capital Genesis model. This sparked several questions regarding the instability of the region. Before Amodeo knew it he had blurted out, “Once I’ve created my military—a million Mbuji-Mayi soldiers—I’ll use them to stabilize Central Africa.”
This statement elicited several concerned glances to be exchanged between the other guests, and someone asked, “What’s your objective?”
“Well, obviously, once I’ve built up my peace keeping force,” he replied, “I plan on taking all of Africa.” Amodeo would then amass the largest private military force in history. “A five million man military, capable of policing the planet, and then,” Amodeo laughed, “we won’t need NATO anymore.”
Eyebrows arched and briefly the room—which was filled with NATO assembly members and associates—went silent.
The next day, aboard Amodeo’s return flight to Orlando somewhere over the Atlantic, Karen called. The Washington lobbyist had spent her morning, inundated by questions from multiple federal agencies, regarding Amodeo’s comments.
“Did you tell members of NATO you planned on taking over the world?” she asked.
“It’s possible.” There were numerous people at the party. Amodeo wasn’t sure precisely who they all were.
He was in the process of purchasing the Central Bank of the Congo and moving his headquarters to Cyprus—a country known for flying fast and loose in regards to international banking laws and a safe-haven for international criminals. In addition, Amodeo was in the middle of closing a deal to purchase fighter jets and had worked out an agreement to back the current President of the Democratic Republic of Congo; part of which was to train his force
of budding “peacekeepers.”
“You already own several security firms and companies manufacturing military systems. We’re in the process of investing in a Russian assembly plant that used to manufacture Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles,” she gasped. “People around here are worried.”
At this juncture, it’s impossible to know precisely what set the following sequence of events into motion. However, following Amodeo’s supposition, I like to imagine his plan for world conquest coupled with his ever-growing conglomerates’ capabilities moved up the chain of command to the White House. There, President Bush made the decision to have Amodeo neutralized by any means necessary. Whether he called the head of the CIA or the U.S. attorney general, I couldn’t tell you. What I do know is this; before Amodeo’s Gulfstream landed in Orlando, federal agents were serving his companies and affiliated businesses with subpoenas.
“IT’S A BANKRUPTCY BUST-OUT,” said U.S. prosecutor Randy Gold, at a meeting in the Orlando U.S. Attorney’s Office weeks after Amodeo returned to Florida.
“That’s absolutely untrue,” retorted Amodeo.
The prosecutor and his investigators were in the process of thumbing through millions of pages of documents and interviewing the executives of various companies under Amodeo’s control. However, they were unable to pinpoint a specific crime. Instead, the U.S. attorney’s office alleged a crime common to venture capitalists, bankruptcy fraud.
Eventually, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gold—still struggling to find a crime—learned that Mirabilis was in the middle of repaying in excess of $180 million in payroll tax withholdings to the IRS.
At a subsequent meeting, Gold confronted Amodeo regarding the unpaid taxes. “It’s been over two years and these companies still haven’t paid off the debt.”
“We’re making our agreed upon payments,” replied Amodeo. “Combined, the companies have paid in seventy million dollars.” Gold pointed out that neither Amodeo nor the companies had a formal agreement with the IRS. “There are hundreds of emails between us and the IRS, stipulating to the agreement.”
Amodeo had completed numerous—nearly identical—payment plans with the IRS without obtaining a formal agreement. But that wasn’t enough for the U.S. prosecutor.
“I’m going to recommend the court place a receiver at Mirabilis,” said Gold. Receivers are notorious for driving companies under through excessive expenditures and over billing. Amodeo was a senior secured creditor, ahead of the IRS.
“You do that,” replied Amodeo, “and I’ll place the company in bankruptcy. I’ll liquidate the assets and seize the forty million dollars they owe me, but I can’t guarantee there’ll be enough left for the IRS.”
Despite the fact that the federal government retains the power to indict a “ham sandwich,” at that moment, Amodeo was on the verge of remaining unindicted due to lack of a crime. Additionally the government would lose over $100 million.
The U.S. attorney’s office agreed to allow Amodeo to continue running the companies in order to pay off the outstanding IRS debt as the investigators continued to try and dig up a crime.
Just as their investigation seemed to lose momentum, an anonymous email—written by a supposed insider—was sent to a news based blog on March 8, 2007. Known as “The Deep Throat of Mirabilis” email, the author described a “long con game,” headed by “Frank Amodeo—convicted felon, psychopath and the ‘Mr. Big’ of the Mirabilis conspiracy” and numerous associate con men. “They have ‘white-collar’ theft down to a science. [They] take over company after company with a simple but well thought out con.”
He went on to layout the means by which Amodeo and his fellow “con men” would use to ensnare the companies they “targeted.”
“He would then…milk the company for every dollar he could, while not paying the bills, employees, taxes or vendors. When it quit providing cash he would put it in bankruptcy or just close the doors and walk away.”
In great detail, Deep Throat went on to explain how Amodeo pulled off the scam; utilizing the companies’ own payroll withholding taxes to fund his “hostile takeovers… He thought he was God. He was absolutely insane.”
The companies’ executives “always balked. They always fought. They always cried. But in the end, they always walked away broken men who had lost their company. They could see it laying shattered, gutted… In the end there was nothing left.” Of Amodeo and his associates, Deep Throat stated, “These are bad people. These are evil men.”
Conveniently, the author of the letter was never ascertained, however, it galvanized media attention; helping to convince, not only the public, but the U.S. attorney’s office that a crime had been committed, that a real life Mr. Big was on the loose.
“You have to understand,” says Amodeo, “there was no crime. They wanted me removed. I continued to run Mirabilis and my other companies for over a year while government agents investigated me. But they couldn’t seem to find anything to indict me for.”
During that year, according to Amodeo, agents were watching his every move. They sat outside his office and house. They sifted through his trash and listened to his calls. They interviewed and threatened his employees and business associates. Eventually they got to Harrison “Butch” Slaughter, his attorney.
In early 2008, Slaughter came to Amodeo with a plea agreement for conspiracy, failure to remit payroll taxes, wire fraud, and obstruction of an agency investigation. As far as Amodeo knew the government had been unable to indict him. Coupled with the fact that he felt he hadn’t done anything illegal, he rejected the plea outright. Regardless, a month later Slaughter presented Amodeo with a second plea and a veiled threat by the U.S. prosecutor; stating if Amodeo didn’t accept the plea, the government would indict several of his executives— individuals that hadn’t committed a crime—and his wife.
Amodeo requested to take a polygraph. He was subjected to four separate examinations; all of which he passed, showing no sign of deception. However, when Amodeo insisted he wanted to proceed to trial Slaughter moved to have him declared incompetent. He contacted Dr. Jeffrey Danziger, a forensic psychiatrist and requested he evaluate his client’s mental state.
“Mr. Amodeo was expressing various delusional beliefs,” says Danziger. He confided that it was his destiny to establish the “Terran empire” and become emperor of the world. In addition, Amodeo stated that “Mr. Gold, the IRS, the charges against him, would all wither away and nothing would impede his march to world domination. As such, he was disregarding the advice of his attorney. I opined at that time that he was not competent.”
In July, Danziger—with the assistance of Slaughter—moved to have Amodeo deemed incompetent. After hearing from Slaughter and Danziger, State Circuit Court Judge Belvin Perry declared Frank Amodeo incompetent. Then, at Slaughter’s request, the judge appointed a personal friend of the attorney to be appointed as Amodeo’s guardian.
Immediately, following the order, Dr. Danziger opted to have Amodeo hospitalized. He was sent to McLean Psychiatric Hospital, an academic medical center for the treatment of mental disorders. There, over the course of four weeks, Amodeo was given a battery of intensive psychological testing. He was diagnosed with rapid-cycling axis-1 bipolar disorder with psychotic features and placed on Depakote, a mood stabilizer, and Geodon, an antipsychotic medication.
ON SEPTEMBER 22, 2008—without notifying his state appointed guardian—Assistant U.S. Attorney Gold and Amodeo’s own lawyer, Slaughter, brought Amodeo before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory Kelly to convince the federal court he was now competent to plead guilty.
“[Mr. Amodeo is] not well,” Dr. Danziger told Judge Kelly. “He continues to believe that ultimately, despite these current road blocks and speed bumps he will become emperor of the world… However, despite these delusional beliefs, with regard to the issue of competency, it is my opinion that he is competent.”
Barely cognizant of the proceedings, Amodeo sat motionless at the defense table, his veins pumped so full of anti-psychotics drool was running down his chin.
“He knows exactly what the charges against him are,” continued Danziger. “He knows he could receive up to fifteen year—”
“Twenty-five!” snapped the U.S. prosecutor.
“Twenty-five?” gasped Danziger in shock. He then stated Amodeo hoped it would be closer to five, “but he understands it could be potentially more.”
The following day, at his plea hearing, a dazed Amodeo told the judge that he had been diagnosed with a mental illness, “bipolar condition with schizo-aspect aspects and chronic delusional aspects.”
“Are you taking any medication?”
“I am,” mumbled the defendant. “Three thousands milligrams of Depakote daily, eight grams of Geodon daily, and Labetalol is the way I pronounce it… Two milligrams daily [and] a sleep-inducing agent to accelerate the other medications, which is Razemore or Metoprolol.”
Regardless of the defendant’s drug induced state, Gold said, “Amodeo conspired with other members of the conspiracy to divert payroll tax funds for other purposes” via numerous companies directly controlled by Amodeo, including the Sunshine Companies, Presidion Corporation, Mirabilis Ventures, Inc, and AQMI Strategies. “[B]etween June 2005 and December 2005, Amodeo directed—approximately sixty-four million dollars—of payroll taxes collected from clients not be paid over to the Internal Revenue Service, but instead be used to pay secured creditors…and to purchase commercial and business assets.”
It was Amodeo’s plan to withhold the payroll taxes in order to grow Mirabilis to the point that it could become a publicly traded company. Once that was accomplished, Mirabilis would be worth billions of dollars and they would be able to repay the taxes. By late 2006, Mirabilis had grown to be a conglomerate of over 70 companies, all of which had been acquired using diverted IRS funds.
“[Ultimately] Amodeo and other members of the conspiracy knowingly failed to remit to the Internal Revenue Services payroll taxes,” continued the U.S. prosecutor, “totaling in excess of one hundred and eighty-one million dollars.”
None of Amodeo’s lawyers notified Judge Kelly that the defendant was a ward of the State of Florida, and as such, unable to accept the plea. Nor did any of them notify Amodeo’s guardian of the proceedings; a reasonable conclusion being the attorneys feared the guardian wouldn’t have allowed his ward to accept a plea in his current mental state.
Months later, Amodeo’s medication was found to be at toxic levels. He was taken off the anti-psychotic drugs roughly a week before his sentencing date. However, in U.S. District Judge John Antoon II’s courtroom, during Amodeo’s five-day-marathon-sentencing-hearing, none of his attorneys informed the court that he was no longer on the medication. In fact, they allowed him to attempt to explain that due to his bipolar disorder, he believed he could use the unpaid taxes to turn Mirabilis into a multi-billion dollar corporation.
“Did you actually think, at the time, that eventually this would somehow lead you to being the emperor of the earth?” asked Kenton Sands, Amodeo’s second chair criminal defense attorney.
“Absolutely,” he replied. “At the deep core I still believe it.” Amodeo explained that “fifty to one hundred professionals” knew his plan, including withholding the payroll taxes from the IRS. “They were well aware of the plan. They controlled the accounting system, I didn’t.”
Over the course of multiple polygraph tests conducted by Polygraph Examiner Richard Keifer, Keifer determined Amodeo fully believed he was within his right to use the IRS’s funds. In addition, based on the video evidence of numerous corporate meetings, it was apparent that dozens of the executives, accountants and lawyers were well aware of the nonpayment of the payroll taxes. According to Amodeo, many knew he was using the funds to acquire additional companies.
“[Mr. Amodeo] relied on all these accountants and attorneys and they weren’t providing him with adequate information about criminal penalties,” Sands informed the court. The underlying crime, however, was the intentional violation of Amodeo’s legal duty to collect the taxes and pay them over to the IRS. “That is why Mr. Amodeo is flat out guilty of conspiring to violate 7202—we did not contest that.”
Amodeo’s attorney went on to explain that, due to his client’s bipolar disorder, he devised a system to acquire nearly unlimited “resources in which to realize his crazy plan. Imagine, Your Honor, the catalyzing effect of being provided an almost unlimited source of funds.” However, unlike your typical con man, Amodeo didn’t use the proceeds for his personal purposes, instead, he used them to “realize his absolutely psychotic dream of world domination. I mean, really, that is crazy… [He] ended up in the Roosevelt Room of the White House—”
“I kind of wondered about that,” interrupted the judge, “wouldn’t the [White House] do a criminal background check and that sort of thing, wouldn’t you?”
Sands, stammered for a couple seconds; ignored the question and continued with, “Frank Amodeo, consistent with his brain disorder, spent the money on…world domination, he’s going to be some sort of an emperor [and] there is a cooperative economy system…under the sponsorship of Frank Amodeo, who has basically taken the place of the United Nations.” Sands goes onto describe his client as a “megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur when not properly medicated.” Amodeo was in fact, so delusional he “believed that he could take money from the
federal government and use it for other purposes to create the biggest corporation on earth.”
Despite being given bad advice by the accountants and attorneys, the testimony of the polygraph examiner, and psychologist, Judge Antoon took no pity on Amodeo.
“There’s no dispute that the defendant suffers from a mental disorder,” said the judge. However, Antoon doubted that the illness contributed to “his mental capacity.” He then sentenced Amodeo to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for twenty-two years and six months. Disregarding all of the evidence to the contrary, the judge closed out the sentencing with “The offense was committed out of greed.”
Although the government portrayed Amodeo as the leader of a vast group of conspirators, following his conviction, not one other “conspirator” was ever charged. The only explanation, in Amodeo’s mind, is the government wanted him contained. And they’ve been fighting to keep him contained ever since.
Directly following his sentencing, he was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals and promptly placed back on the anti-psychotics, keeping him in a zombie like state, mentally comatose. It took several years for Amodeo to convince the psychologist at the prison to take him off of the medication.
Immediately afterward, he began filing motion after motion in a manic attempt to overturn his sentence. Since that time, the government has conceded that Amodeo’s attorney was conflicted and his sentence should be overturned. However, inmates only have one year in which to bring a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, therefore the U.S. attorney’s office is now saying that, due to the “time bar,” they refuse to release him.
“MR. AMODEO CONTINUES to experience manic and depressive episodes, delusional beliefs, and grandiose ideation,” says Dr. Dexter James, a psychiatrist at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex. James notes that Amodeo is not taking any prescription medication. However, the structure and routine of the prison environment provides stability for Amodeo and “this likely helps with management of his disorder.”
SITTING IN THE PRISON’S library, during one of our many conversations regarding his story, I ask Amodeo, “How long did you think it was gonna take—using the Capital Genesis business model—-for you to conquer the world and become emperor?”
He pinches his nose and brow together in confusion, and says, “You keep speaking in the past-tense; I’m going to do this.” His facial expressions and body language tells me he’s having a bad day. His mood is teetering between polarities. “I will be emperor,” he mumbles emphatically. “I will be emperor.”
I point out to “the emperor” that should he end up serving the remainder of his sentence, he might not have enough time to conquer the world. The government seized nearly $15 million of his money, the private jets and the multi-million dollar businesses he had built using the IRS’s money. “I’m just saying, you’ll be seventy years old Frank. There might not be enough time…”
“There’s still time.” Amodeo’s expression erupts into a bright, jovial smile and he laughs, “Moses started when he was eighty.” Suddenly, he clenches his jaw and his face becomes pink with rage; and I think, Oh shit here it comes. “When I walk out of those gates (he points toward the prison’s cafeteria, which is nowhere near the front gates), my legions and I will march on Washington, burn the miserable Constitution and the President will kneel at my feet.” He goes on for several more seconds, ranting about “attack helicopters” and his “hordes of peacekeepers.” I’ve heard it all before. “My flag will fly above every city in this country and then, the world!”
And so, the cycle will begin again…
IT’S INSANITY: SOURCE MATERIAL LIST
Extensive interviews with Frank L. Amodeo between May 2017 and August 2017
FEDERAL COURT DOCUMENTS (Case No. 6:16-cv-0565-Orl-JAK):
Indictment Frank L. Amodeo v. The United States; August 6, 2008
Arraignment and Miscellaneous Hearing; September 22, 2008
Change of Plea Hearing Transcript; September 23, 2008
Sentencing Hearing Transcripts; May 12, 2009; May 13, 2008; May 14, 2008; May 19, 2009; May 26, 2008
Appellant’s Motion To Supplement The Record On Appeal; 2017
FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT DOCUMENTS:
FBI-302 Form, “Frank Amodeo Bankruptcy Fraud;” November 22, 2006
BOOK, ARTICLES, AND BLOGS:
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, By Tim Weiner; 2007
The Associated Press, “Congo Deports Nearly 3 Dozen Foreigners,” by Anjan Sundaram; May 29, 2006
Congo Vision, “U.S. Citizens Released Without Changes In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo,” by Staff Writer; May 31, 2006
Orlando Sentinel, “Secretive Orlando Firm Works To Free Men Held In Congo,” by Jim Leusner; May 27, 2006
Orlando Sentinel, “Congo Drama Unveils Enigma,” by Jim Leusner; July 2, 2006
Orlando Sentinel, “Grand Jury Investigates Mirabilis,” by Jim Leusner; March 4, 2007
Orlando Sentinel, “Amodeo On Tax-Fraud Plea: ‘This Was Stupid’,” by Amy L. Edwards; June 24, 2009
Orlando Sentinel, “Ex-CEO Amodeo In prison–But IRS Still After Mirabilis In Payroll-Tax Fraud,” by Richard Burnette; July 1, 2010
Tampa Bay Times, “Frank L. Amodeo Could Be 70 By The Time He Steps Outside A Prison,” by Michael Hinman, May 27, 2009
Tampa Bay Times, “Latest Episode Of ‘How Trump Tower Turns’,” by Times Staff Writer, November 22, 2006
Tampa Tribune, “Donald Find Himself Trumped On Trump Tower Project,” by Shannon Behnken, December 2, 2006
Reuters, “Congo: 32 Charged In Coup Plot Being Sent Home,” by Staff Writer, May 30, 2006
“The Deep Throat Of The Mirabilis Conspiracy Speaks,” by Anonymous Author; March 8, 2007, Ron’s News Blog
“The Secret Service Journal: Kevin Billings: The Rogue Secret Service Agent;” May 31, 2006, Ronald Barbour’s News Blog
“Mirabilis Lost At Least $220M;” December 17, 2007, Orlando Sentinel’s Discussion Blog
Diagnostic & Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), Fourth Edition, by American PsychiatricAssociation Evaluation Of Capacity; April 10, 2017
 For the sake of the narrative the overlapping private security firms will be referred to as “Tactical.”
 Rapid cycling occurs in approximately 10% to 20% of individuals with bipolar disorder.
 Nancy Grace would go on to host her own CNN talk show.
 Although, Amodeo incorporated similar business under various names—AQMI Strategy Corporation, Nexia Strategy Corp, Matrix Network Orlando, LLC, among others, for the benefit of simplifying the narrative I will condense the entities using “AQMI” only.
 The acronym SPECTRE stands for Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion; it is the organization Fleming created to replace James Bond’s original enemy SMERSH, a contraction of Smert Shpionam—Russian for “Death to Spies” and the name of a short-lived Soviet intelligence agency founded in 1943. The original organization was bent on spreading Communism throughout the globe; the latter on total global domination.
 Amodeo declined to give the groups official name, therefore, the pseudonym “InterOps” is being used for the purposes of the narrative.
 On March 21, 2016—in an unrelated incident—General Bemba was convicted in the International Criminal Court in Belgium, of two counts of crimes against humanity and five counts of war crimes. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
 In truth, the funds used to back Mirabilis were redirected payroll taxes meant for the IRS.
 Amodeo declined to comment on the nature of the operations, stating national security issues.
 Amodeo declined to give the men’s names, however, in February 2007, Total Intelligence Solutions was founded by Cofer Black, the chief of the CIA’s counterterrorist center; Enrique Prado, chief of counterterrorism operations; and Robert Richer, second in command at the clandestine agency.
 Footnote: Mr. Big is a reference to the Bond villain, Buonaparte Ignace Gallia, also known as “Mr. Big,” in the novel Live and Let Die and the film by the same name. Mr. Big was a Soviet agent, a member of SMERSH—an organization committed to the Communist takeover of the world—and had a number of henchmen.
 Amodeo claims Assistant U.S. Attorney Gold sent his attorneys an email stating that if Amodeo didn’t plead guilty the government would move to forfeit over $1 million of their legal fees.