The word scam derives from the French “escamote”, which was a magician’s ball. When the mark watched the magician shift the hidden ball, his “escamoteur”, or accomplice would “escamoter”- or steal away with the mark’s purse. Think about that the next time someone tells you to “keep your eye on the ball”
ANTHONY DE ANGELIS is 48, roly poly, wears ill-fitting suits purchased off the rack- a man looking to be overlooked. A mastermind with a whiny voice, who is never far away from his heart medicine.
INT- ALLIED OFFICES- DAY
(Tino makes a persuasive phone call from his office for Haupt Company to trade for him on the New York Stock Exchange. After the call, he takes most of his STAFF of 22, to steak dinner in a FINE MANHATTAN RESTAURANT
You all know I hate fancy restaurants, ’cause when I’m in them I’m always tryin’ to impress a buyer. But all of you know the best thing about Allied isn’t this joint- it’s you guys”
(the Allied staffers toast, stand, and applaud a choked up Tino- as DINERS’ heads turn in their direction)
Tino is giving you all $1,000 bonuses
(the group erupts in applause, infused with some teary eyes)
EXT- MANHATTAN STREET- DAY
(Tino’s ALLIED STAFFERS on shopping sprees, some of the women in groups of two or three, in Tiffany’s, Macy’s, Van Cleef & Arpel’s, Bergdorf Godman’s, Saks Fifth Avenue. STORE CLERKS and CABBIES pack their boxes either in YELLOW TAXIS, or the trunks of Tino’s employee’s CADILLACS. A MALE SALES CLERK brings Tino’s ‘social hostess’. LILLIAN PASCARELLI five pearl gray silk ties. She nods her approval.
INT- DOCTORS OFFICE- DAY
(Tino undergoes his annual physical, dressed in sleeveless undershirt and enormous, striped boxers and socks. MALE PHYSICIAN, early fifties clings to clipboard
It’s important you try to avoid fried foods.
(Tino drops his head)
Try to avoid highly stressful situations. For your age, your heart is alarmingly weak. You think you can cut your schedule, and lose maybe thirty pounds?
Don’t see how. I have a big trader with me, and I got a bunch of new opportunities overseas. Everybody’s depending on Tino.
If you don’t make some major changes, you’ll be dead within a year
NEW YORK CITY- MONTAGE
(LILLIAN PASCARELLI, dripping in mink, entertains the WIVES OF FOREIGN BUYERS- Polish, Egyptian, Spanish, in lavish New York hotel SUITED AND PENTHOUSES with panoramic views, posh nightclubs like the Copacabana, Broadway plays, and live tv show audiences. Tino escorts THEIR HUSBANDS to BAYONNE to see the REFINERY TANKS, and HIS OFFICE to sign contracts for tens of millions of dollars)
INT- ALLIED OFFICES
Tino meets with an AGRICULTURE OFFICIAL from the Spanish government in his office, and the buyer explains to Tino why Spain rejected 14,000 tons of fish oil, cottonseed oil and coconut oil they were shipped instead of salad oil, and 13,000 tons the official says was contaminated. Tino fumes, threatens to tell the FBI that his deal was sabotaged by the Spanish Catholic society Opus Dei, who he says is biased toward a rival commodities company in Chicago. He dials the FBI in front of the client, though the phone is really answered by Tino’s cousin who sold the contract. Tino barks conspiracy theories into the phone, before kicking the Spaniard out of his office.
INT- NEW YORK CITY BANK- DAY
(At a MANHATTAN BANK, ALLIED MESSENGER picks up a cashier’s check for $1 million, and delivers it to officials at an Allied lender called Bunge. In exchange, he gets Allied oil receipts back. At BUNGE, a guy named JAMES CATERINA in their financial department. When the check is handed off to Caterina for depositing, he leaves his office and meets up with the messenger in the men’s to give the check right back to him. Tino has an inside man! The messenger races back to the issuing BANK and cancels the check)
EXT- PHONE BOOTH- EVENING
(A guy named TAYLOR, rugged early thirties, who identifies himself as an Allied night shift employee, calls American Express, telling their warehouse department they’ve fallen victim to a hoax. He demands $5,000 from AmEx, and says Allied’s Bayonne tanks have a concealed device below the sampling hole inspectors use, which can be dropped by a weight to the level where there is either a thin layer of salad oil coating water, or all water. CUT TO AMERICAN EXPRESS’ CEO, who is skeptical of these claims, especially because of the bribe, but orders a surprise inspection of Bayonne)
EXT- CONSTABLE HOOK TANK YARDS, BAYONNE, N.J- DAY
The inspections at Bayonne, BANK OFFICIALS, ALLIED STAFF in tow, Tino’s COUSIN LOUIS who handles the AmEx account, Tino following. Tino boasts he singlehandedly helped all the AmEx Warehouse department branch managers “…meet those crazy sales quotas they had, and then some!”. When the group reaches a partially full or empty tank, an unseen employee uses underground valves to transfer “oil” into that tank from another. At the end of the inspections, the AmEx reps tell Tino they will send their collected samples to Allied’s chief chemist. Handshakes all around. Tino and Louis bid the reps goodbye.
INT- AMERICAN EXPRESS WAREHOUSING- DAY
(Tino visits American Express with Lillian, she bearing a bouquet of flowers for their RECEPTIONIST. Tino tells Lillian he’ll meet with a manager by himself. Tino is accompanied by a SECRETARY to an office, where she assures him the chief warehousing manager will soon be in. “Yeah, I know,” Tino winks, “Guys got a tv in somebody’s office watchin’ the World Series”
The secretary says, “I’m sure he’ll be back when the commercials come on”, and exits. Tino pokes around the office, checks around the door once. On the desk he sees a pad of blank warehouse receipts. He places the pad in his inside breast pocket.
INT- ALLIED- DAY
A New York Stock Exchange Authority investigator surprises Tino with an office visit, demanding to see his books. Tino tells the investigator why he declared bankruptcy “The Department of Agriculture had everybody thinking foreign grain sales would be up the rest of the year. You saw the reports! This is how our business runs. The government spooked everybody last week when those damned senators blocked the wheat sale to Russia. These clowns have no idea what they’re doing. Guy like me, no lobbyist, no political contacts- where does that leave me?! Nobody can cover these margins. Chicago screwed me again.” Tino leaves the investigator in an accounting office with the ledgers. Tino walks to a storage room, and turns the thermostat down from 70 degrees to 64.
On the Exchange floor, Tino’s brokers wait for the afternoon buy order phone calls. The phones sit silent, the Allied brokers shake their heads. On the big board, futures prices drop. An Allied broker curses. “The wife and I already spent the Christmas bonus we won’t be getting now. Trip to Miami. Jesus!”
Tino’s office, Tino, Joe Lomuscio, and cousin Louis. Joe tells Tino “Heaven is a place where the police are Brits, the chefs are Italian, the car mechanics are German, the prostitutes are French, and the bankers are Swiss. You gotta disappear some cash. How much can you get your hands on?”
Jeez Joe I dunno- half a mil?
INT- NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE HEADQUARTERS- DAY
LEGEND- 11:15 A.M.- TUESDAY NOVEMBER 19
JOHN WYDEN, 56, the New York Stock Exchange specialist handling all the sell orders in American Express stock stands by A BANK OF YELLOW TELEPHONES on the trading floor, holding a black “limit order book”.
Phones ring at a panicked pace, as Wyden answers call after call after call of sell orders of AmEx because of Tino’s scam. He pops Certs breath mints like peanuts.
INT- OVAL OFFICE- DAY
9:31 a.m. Wednesday, November 20, 1963
President Kennedy’ secretary EVELYN LINCOLN’s phone RINGS
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY DOUGLAS DILLION (O.S.):
The president please
Doug, how’d the wheat hearing go?
SECRETARY DILLON (O.S.)
An honest mess. The senators don’t understand this could add $300 million in foreign exports. The only way Russia can afford it, is to sell gold on the London bullion market. We pick up a pretty good share of that. But the farm states are the most anti-Communist.
INT- OVAL OFFICE
President Kennedy’s WALL CALENDAR has the word “TEXAS” marked across NOVEMBER 21-23
Can we sell it as a one shot operation, a benefit to farmers who have surpluses?
That’s what Hubert is pushing.
Well keep pushing.
We’ll do our best. Leaving for Japan at midnight
Yes- you’re off to Japan- and I’ve got to go to Texas.
DILLON LAUGHTER O.C.
God I wish we could change places!
INT- HAUPT & CO. BROKERAGE HOUSE- EVENING
6:30 in the evening in late November 1963, managing partner Mort Kamerman of Haupt & Co. leaving the office for the day, dons topcoat. Passes a conference room, sees a group of subordinates working late – talking excitedly. Kamerman ducks into the room. A Haupt man is on the phone with Tino. Commodities man tells Kamerman “He’s on the phone with our biggest customer.” Tino (V.O.- shouting) “You’re putting me out of business and yourself out of business too” A Haupt partner is on another phone trying to find someone who would buy huge quantities of soybean oil in a hurry. Still others are rifling worriedly through the firm’s books, crunching numbers. Kamerman sits down, hangs his coat, then his jacket over a chair. CUT TO- next morning, Kamerman surrounded by staffers, all looking sleepless. The commodities manager tells him Haupt is insolvent – obligated for some $18.6 million of debts incurred by De Angelis, who told them he is bankrupt.
10) SUPER- FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1963-
Wall Street brokerage houses in panic, clerks and runners scurrying on floor, traders yelling into furied, brief phone calls. American Express plummeting. Bank of America way down. Rumors that more brokerage houses will be suspended from the floor, traders on phones telling their clients how to react- fast. Buzzing that the Securities And Exchange Commission might get involved. Tino, Lillian Pascarelli, and cousin Louis huddled by his desk in Tino’s Bronx home. New radio is playing. At Merrill, Lynch’s office, a young research trainee leans against his company newswire, a bulky teletype machine. The machine spits out the letters “F”- “L”- “A”, “S”, “H”. Its bell rings four times. The trainee perks up, as do his young co-workers. “I bet another brokerage house went bankrupt in this salad oil mess” he says, they all nod. They crowd the machine. Deliberately, it spells out, letter by letter, the words: “UPI REPORTS KENNEDY SERIOUSLY WOUNDED. PERHAPS FATALLY BY ASSASSIN WHO SHOT AT HIS MOTORCADE IN DALLAS”
In the De Angelis home, New York news radio has a bulletin about the supposed shooting. Lillian rushes to turn on the floor model tv. The three of them watch the tv bulletin, until Tino leaves the room, pads to the bathroom, and takes his heart pills from the medicine cabinet, gulps two, and washes them down. He waddles to his closet. Every suit hanging there is gray. Every necktie on his shelf is pearl gray. Tino rifles through the suit jackets in frustration. Throws his arms up in resignation as more assassination updates are heard from the tv in the next room. Tino turns away. Lillian is standing a few feet behind him, a black suit draped over her forearms, and a black necktie across a shoulder.
EXT- NEW YORK CITY-DAY
Footage of New Yorkers on Manhattan streets, shocked by news of the assassination, some crying, some gathered by stores that have tv’s in their display windows, other by car radio’s or listening to pedestrians’ transistor radio. Footage of an NBC reporter asking people within a crowd on the street their reaction to the news, including a white teen and a Negro schoolgirl, who says, on the verge of tears, clearly in shock, “I just don’t know what to do”. Back at the Exchange, the clock shows 2:07 p.m., when a PA system announcer states that trading has been suspended for the day, and because it is a Friday, the week.
Jersey US Attorney’s office, U.S. Attorney DAVID SATZ, late thirties, meeting with two even younger assistant AG’s. Photo of President Kennedy, and degrees from Harvard and Penn on his wooden office wall. One of the assistant attorneys general says to Satz: “I don’t get it. This little putz in gray glasses, gray suits, gray ties- hell- even the tanks are gray- why is he hiding money? He lives with his mother-in-law. He drives an old car. Why is he so greedy?”
Because he can get away with it. He’s been addicted to fraud since he was twenty. The bigger the con, the bigger his high.
OTHER ASSISTANT AG
So nothing will stop him?
Arrests haven’t. Money hasn’t. Fear of getting caught hasn’t. His only challenge is his previous scams.
AG NUMBER ONE
How do you get to a person like that?
I’m going for contempt
Assistant AG’s look at each other cluelessly
De Angelis filed for bankruptcy- but he’s got a bundle stashed in Swiss banks.
INT- OUR LADY OF VICTORY CHURCH- NEW YORK CITY FINANCIAL DISTRICT- SAME DAY
INT- CONFESSIONAL BOOTH
Tino folded inside booth kneeling. A couple beats. SNIFFLING SOUND. Tino is composed, silent. SOBBING NOISE. It is coming from the other side of the booth.
PRIEST: (struggling through sadness)
I- don’t know how to say this because I’m not sure what it is
None of us knows the Lord’s mysterious way. We can pray for the pre-, the president’s family and for our nation.
Hail Mary, moth-
This is gonna sound- I have to say it. The mystery of life, death- something has been going on. It’s been going on for a long time, and I could’ve done something to stop it- a long time ago. For a long time, there was nothing I could do. Now, because of something that is horrible for- millions of people, I’ve been given a small chance. Time. I’ve been, the country has been given a little time.
This hateful act, we all feel some share of the blame
Most people will never know, but I have to figure out why I’ve been saved from causing the stock market to crash. It’s still a mystery, but some time was bought.
Tino walks out of the booth.
EXT- NYSE HEADQUARTERS- NEXT DAY- FLAG OVERHEAD FLIES AT HALF STAFF
INT- NYSE HEADQUARTERS- DAY
Exchange president KENNETH FUNSTON, his officers, Haupt management, a bunch of attorneys powwow- how to make Haupt’s clients whole, how to avoid an ocean of lawsuits the coming Tuesday when the Market opens, how much is owned national and foreign banks? The Exchange holds a vote- it will take from its own reserves to reimburse Haupt account holders. Haupt will be permanently suspended from trading. FUNSTON tells them all to go home to their families, but call him if they need anything or think of anything new- and that they can all only hope that the European banks, especially London’s, will accept the solution their creditors will be restored when Tino’s probably hidden millions are discovered. “But they don’t have to”, says Funston.
NEW YORK CITY- Christmas week 1963. Department stores decorated, marionettes in Macy’s windows, watched by pedestrians and children. Caroling music. Inside a midtown hotel, Tino holds a press conference. He blames the government for his recent frenzied buying of futures contracts, which he says caused “…the carrying charges of which were enormous and resulted in irreparable injury to the company.”. A reporter asks if Tino was trying to juice the market with the frantic purchasing, and he says the Department Of Agriculture gave everyone the indication that European sales would be brisk in 1964.
I do right by my people. With fifty of my boys, at least, I was engaged in seeing that they were settled in a solid way in New Jersey communities.
(Amid a cacophony of questions and flashing camera bulbs, a perspiring Tino closes the presser
Merry Christmas everybody
TINO AT A COURT hearing with Lillian. U.S. attorneys’ table piled with hotels bills, phone bills, bank deposit slips, flight information, pay phone records, bank statements, photos, tax returns and American Express receipts. On easels, large photographs of the Bayonne tanks, and diagrams of the secret oil transfer valves.
I wanted to do one thing in life – make a success. Even as a little kid, I partook very little of the gay life. The nuns at Cardinal Hayes told me and my parents I’d never be anything.