Before their downfalls, Mafia Cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa had to be on the lookout for all kinds of threats: Prosecutors, FBI agents, disgruntled mobsters, even fellow cops. But even in their worst nightmares, the rogue detectives never would have dreamed that they would be brought down by an upper middle class suburban housewife from Milford, Connecticut.
Milford is a 90-minute ferry ride from Long Island's north shore, and an hour's drive from New York. To our knowledge, the rogue cops never did any work there -- for the mob or the NYPD.
But the cozy bedroom community is the home of Susan Patrick, who proved to be one of the real unsung heroes behind the convictions of the so-called Mafia Cops.
This is not meant to diminish the tireless work of so many law enforcement officials since 1994, when the FBI first learned the identities of the rogue ex-NYPD detectives.
But after all is said and done, Eppolito and Caracappa might well still be living large across the street from each other in Las Vegas enjoying the spoils of their murderous ways, if not for the rage that drove Patrick when she and her family learned in 2002 that they had been betrayed by one of their closest friends.
Patrick's role was so well-hidden that her name is never mentioned in any of the four books written about the historic prosecution of the two most despicable detectives ever to work for the NYPD.
By all accounts, Susan Patrick is a mover and shaker who gets things done. She's 47, lives with her husband, son, and three daughters. A businesswoman, she sits on the city's Economic Development Commission, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Milford Fine Arts Council.
Patrick never met Eppolito or Caracappa, or even knew who they were during the 1980s and early 1990s while the killer cops were selling out their badges for $4000 a month and working for the mob.
Back then, she was doing almost all of the heavy work in raising her four kids. Her husband, then-ESPN sports commentator Dan Patrick, was often away two-to-three weeks at a time as he worked his way up the ladder in the very competitive TV-sports business.
Last month, as Dan Patrick returned to television after a two year absence following his departure from the all-sports cable network, the 52-year-old sportscaster stated for the first time that he left his envied spot as a co-host of "Sports Center" to spend more time with his family.
"I made (the move) for the right reasons," he told the St. Louis Dispatch. "I told my wife I was just coming home. I missed out on 15 years with my children. They were born during my career at ESPN. My oldest is 17. I worked second shift for 15 years."
But through those tough times, Susan recalled earlier this year, the Patricks counted on their close friend, Stephen Corso, who was also their accountant, to help them navigate the rough spots.
"We celebrated his marriage, his first home, the birth of his children, baptism parties," said Susan Patrick. "He and his family were part of our milestones. We exchanged holiday gifts and cards. We would cook him lunch when he came to prepare our taxes. Having Steve handle the taxes made one thing a little easier, and we trusted him because he was our friend."
That all changed in 2002, however when the Patricks thought that their friend -- by then a big-time CPA "who didn't need our small account" -- wasn't taking full advantage of "potential tax savings" they had and retained a new accountant. Corso, they discovered, had stolen more than $800,000 from them. Although insurance coverage reimbursed the Patricks for the money that Corso stole, it didn't settle their feelings of betrayal.
Corso admitted the thefts to her husband, even promising to pay them back if they didn't tell authorities. That's what Susan stated in Connecticut Federal Court in February, when Corso, who had pleaded guilty to stealing $6 million from clients, got a year and a day in prison.
At the proceeding, prosecutors credited Susan Patrick with alerting them to the huge theft, and helping them investigate it, according to a transcript of the session. That task cost $46,000 in lawyer's fees, which the Patricks are slated to receive back from Corso at the rate of $4000 a month when he completes his term -- a total of about seven months -- at a low-security prison camp.
But the monetary loss was not the worst part. It was the treachery of a close friend, Patrick said as she implored the sentencing judge to throw the book at Corso, despite his cooperation: "The emotional toll on my family is irreparable. We have trouble trusting anyone. My husband, ho
Indeed, Dan Patrick, the hard-nosed radio-TV sports reporter who now writes a weekly column for Sports Illustrated, did not respond to repeated requests for comment from Gang Land. Susan Patrick told Gang Land that she and her family had put the entire matter behind them, and declined to comment.
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