Chapter 36

NO RELEASE had ever gone as smoothly. Eva walked out of the detention center a free woman at 8:30 A.M., in the same jeans and button-down she'd worn into the place. The guards were nice; the clerks were surprisingly efficient; the supervisor even wished her well. Mark Birck whisked her to his car, a handsome old Jaguar he'd scrubbed inside and out for the occasion, and nodded to their two escorts. "Those are FBI agents," he said to her, pointing with his head at two gentlemen waiting in a car nearby.

"I thought we were through with them," she said.

"Not quite."

"Am I supposed to wave hello or something?"

"No. Just get in the car." He opened the door for her, closed it gently, for a second admired the fresh wax job on the long, sloping hood, then scampered around to the driver's side.

"Here's a letter faxed to me from Sandy McDermott," he said as he cranked the engine and backed away. "Open it."

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"To the airport, general aviation. There's a small jet waiting for you there."

"To take me where?"

"New York."

"And then to where?"

"London, on the Concorde."

They were on a busy street, with the FBI agents behind them. "Why are they behind us?" she asked.


She closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead, and thought of Patrick in his small room at the hospital, bored, with little to do but think of places to send her. Then she noticed the car phone. "May I?" she said, lifting it.

"Sure." Birck was driving carefully, watching his mirrors as if he were chauffeuring the President.

Eva called Brazil and, switching to her native tongue, had a tearful reunion with her father, via satellite. He was well, and so was she. Both were liberated, though she didn't tell him where she'd spent the last three days. Kidnapping wasn't such a harsh ordeal after all, he joked. He had been treated superbly; not a single bruise. She promised to be home soon. Her legal work in the United States was almost over, and she was very homesick.

Birck listened without trying to, though he couldn't understand a word. When she hung up and finished wiping her eyes, he said, "There are some phone numbers in the letter, in case you get stopped again by customs. The FBI has lifted its alert, and they've agreed to allow you to travel under your passport for the next seven days."

She listened but said nothing.

"There's also a phone number in London, if something happens at Heathrow."

She finally opened the letter. It was from Sandy, on his letterhead. Things were proceeding nicely, and rapidly, in Biloxi. Call him at the hotel suite when she arrived at JFK. He would have further instructions.

In other words, he would tell her things Mr. Birck here shouldn't hear.

They arrived at the busy general aviation terminal on the north side of Miami International. The agents stayed with their car as Birck escorted her inside. The pilots were waiting. They pointed to a handsome little jet parked just outside, ready to take her anywhere she wanted. "Take me to Rio," she almost said. "Please, Rio."

She shook hands with Birck, thanked him for being so nice, and boarded her flight. No luggage. Not a stitch of extra clothing. Patrick would pay dearly for this. Let her get to London; give her a day along Bond and Oxford. She'd have more clothes than this little jet could carry.

AT SUCH an early hour, J. Murray looked especially tired and disheveled. He managed to grunt a hello to the secretary who opened the door, and he said yes to coffee, strong and black. Sandy greeted him, took his wrinkled blazer, and showed him to a parlor where they sat and reviewed the property settlement agreement.

"This is much better," Sandy said when he finished. Trudy had already signed off on the deal. J. Murray couldn't endure another visit by her and her slimy gigolo. She and Lance had fought yesterday in his office. J. Murray had been doing dirty divorces for years, and he'd bet good money that Lance's days were numbered. The financial strain was gnawing at Trudy.

"We'll sign it," Sandy said.

"Why wouldn't you? You're getting everything you want."

"It's a fair settlement, under the circumstances."

"Yeah, yeah."

"Look, Murray, there's been a significant development involving your client and her lawsuit with Northern Case Mutual."

"Do tell."

"Yes, there's a lot of background which is really not relevant to your client, but the bottom line is this: Northern Case Mutual has agreed to drop its lawsuit against Trudy."

J. Murray just sat there for a few seconds, then his bottom lip slowly departed from his top. Was this a joke?

Sandy reached for some papers, a copy of the settlement agreement with Northern Case Mutual. He had already blacked out sensitive paragraphs, but there was plenty for J. Murray to read.

"You're kidding," he mumbled as he took the agreement. He scanned past the blackened lines without the least bit of curiosity, and came to the heart of the matter, two paragraphs beautifully untouched by censors. He read clear and precise language which called for the immediate dismissal of the lawsuit against his client.

He didn't care why it was happening. An impenetrable shroud of mystery surrounded Patrick, and he wasn't about to start asking questions.

"What a pleasant surprise," he said.

"I thought you'd like it."

"She keeps everything?"

"Everything she has left."

J. Murray read it again, slowly. "Can I keep this?" he asked.

"No. It's confidential. But a motion to dismiss will be filed today, and I'll fax you a copy."


"There's one other item," Sandy said. He handed J. Murray a copy of the Monarch-Sierra settlement, equally as censored. "Look on page four, third paragraph."

J. Murray read the sentences establishing a trust to be funded to the tune of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, for the benefit of little Ashley Nicole Lanigan. Sandy McDermott would act as trustee. The money was to be used only for the health and education of the child, and any unused funds would be paid to the child upon her thirtieth birthday.

"I don't know what to say." But he was already thinking of how this might play back in his office.

Sandy waved him off as if it were nothing.

"Anything else?" J. Murray asked with a bright smile. Any more goodies?

"That's it. The divorce is settled. It's been a pleasure."

They shook hands and J. Murray left, his step a bit quicker. He rode the elevator alone, his mind racing wildly. He'd tell her how he'd played hardball with the rascals, how he'd finally just had it up to here with their outrageous demands, how he had barged into the meeting and threatened a vicious trial unless they yielded and made concessions. He had tried many such cases, was in fact known to be quite a courtroom brawler.

Damn the adultery charges! Damn the nudie pictures! His client was wrong but was still entitled to fairness. There was a poor innocent child to protect here!

He'd tell her how they'd broken and run in full retreat. He had demanded a trust fund for the child, and Patrick had collapsed under the weight of his own guilt. Here, they insisted, take a quarter of a million dollars.

And he'd fight like hell, fight them forever to protect the assets of his client, who had done nothing wrong by taking the two point five million. Out of fear, they had folded and scrambled to find a way to save Trudy's money. These details were murky at the moment, but he had an hour's worth of driving to work on the story.

By the time he got to his office, it would be a magnificent victory.

EYEBROWS WERE RAISED at the Concorde counter at JFK because she had no luggage. A supervisor was called and a huddle ensued as Eva fought to control her nerves. She couldn't take another arrest. She loved Patrick, but this was far above and beyond the call of romance. Not long ago she'd had a promising career as a lawyer in a city she loved. Then Patrick came along.

Suddenly there were warm British smiles everywhere. She was directed to the Concorde lounge, where she had coffee and called Sandy's number in Biloxi.

"Are you okay?" he asked when he heard her voice.

"I'm fine, Sandy. I'm at JFK, en route to London. How's Patrick?"

"Wonderful. We've cut the deal with the federal folks."

"How much?"

"A hundred and thirteen million," he replied, and waited to hear a response. Patrick had been perfectly noncommittal when he'd been told the size of the repayment. She followed the same script.

"When?" was all she said.

"I'll have instructions when you get to London. There's a room at the Four Seasons in the name of Leah Pires."

"That's me again."

"Call me when you get there?"

"Tell Patrick I still love him, even after going to jail."

"I'll see him tonight. Be careful."


WITH SUCH HEAVYWEIGHTS in town, Mast couldn't resist the opportunity to impress them. The evening before, after they had taken possession of the documents and tapes, he'd arranged for his staff to call every member of the sitting grand jury and inform them of an emergency session. With five of his assistant U.S. attorneys, he had worked with the FBI in scouring and indexing the documents. He had left his office at three in the morning, and returned five hours later.

The federal grand jury meeting was at noon, with lunch provided. Hamilton Jaynes decided to hang around long enough to sit through it, as did Sprawling from the Attorney General's office. Patrick would be the only witness.

Pursuant to their agreement, he was not transported in handcuffs. He was hidden in the back of an unmarked Bureau car, and sneaked through a side door of the federal courthouse in Biloxi. Sandy was at his side. Patrick wore large khakis, sneakers, a sweatshirt; clothing Sandy had purchased for him. He was pale and thin, but walked with no visible impairment. Actually, Patrick felt great.

The sixteen grand jurors sat around a long, square table, so that at least half of them had their back to the door when Patrick walked through with a smile. Those not facing him quickly turned around. Jaynes and Sprawling sat in a corner, intrigued by their first glimpse of Mr. Lanigan.

Patrick sat at the end of the table, in a chair used by witnesses, and seized the moment. He needed little prodding from Mast to tell his story, or at least some of it. He was relaxed and lively, in part because this panel could no longer touch him. He had managed to free himself of the tentacles of any federal law.

He started with the law firm, the partners, their personalities, clients, work habits, and slowly built his way to Aricia.

Mast stopped him, and handed over a document which Patrick identified as the contract between the firm and Aricia. It was four pages long, but could be reduced to a basic agreement of the firm getting one third of anything Aricia got by filing his claim against Platt & Rockland Industries.

"And how did you get this?" Mast asked.

"Mr. Bogan's secretary typed it. Our computers were interfaced. I simply pulled it off."

"Is that why this copy is unsigned?"

"That's correct. The original is probably in Mr. Bogan's file."

"Did you have access to Mr. Bogan's office?"

"Limited," Patrick answered, and explained Bogan's zealousness for secrecy. That led to a digression about access to the other offices, then to the fascinating story of Patrick's adventures in the world of sophisticated surveillance. Because he was very suspicious of Aricia, he set out to gather as much information as possible. He educated himself on electronic surveillance. He monitored the other PC's in the firm. He listened for gossip. He quizzed secretaries and paralegals. He went through the wastepaper in the copy room. He worked odd hours in hopes of finding open doors.

After two hours, Patrick asked for a soft drink. Mast declared a fifteen-minute break. The time had gone so fast because the audience was enthralled.

When the witness returned from the rest room, they settled in quickly, anxious to hear more. Mast asked some questions about the claim against Platt & Rockland, and Patrick described it in general terms. "Mr. Aricia was quite skillful. He set up a scheme for double billing, yet was able to pass the blame on to people in the home office. He was the secret moving force behind the cost overruns."

Mast placed a stack of documents at Patrick's side. He took one, and with only a glance knew everything about it. "This is a sample of the fictitious labor New Coastal Shipyards was paid for. It's a computerized labor summary for one week in June of 1988. It lists eighty-four employees, all bogus names, and gives their wages for the week. The total is seventy-one thousand dollars."

"How were these names selected?" asked Mast.

"At the time, there were eight thousand employees at New Coastal. They selected real names that were common-Jones, Johnson, Miller, Green, Young- and changed the first initial."

"How much labor was falsified?"

"According to Aricia's filing, it was nineteen million dollars over a four-year period."

"Did Mr. Aricia know it was falsified?"

"Yes, he implemented the scheme."

"And how do you know this?"

"Where are the tapes?"

Mast handed him a sheet of paper on which the tapes of over sixty conversations had been cataloged. Patrick studied it for a minute. "I think it's tape number seventeen," he said. The assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the box of tapes produced number seventeen, and inserted it into a player in the center of the table.

Patrick said, "This is Doug Vitrano talking to

Jimmy Havarac, two of the partners, in Vitrano's office, on May 3, 1991."

The player was turned on, and they waited for the voices.

FIRST VOICE: How do you pad nineteen million dollars in bogus labor?

"That's Jimmy Havarac," Patrick said quickly.

SECOND VOICE: It wasn't difficult.

"And that's Doug Vitrano," Patrick said.

VITRANO: The labor was running fifty million a year. For four years it was over two hundred million. So they were just tacking on a ten percent increase. It got lost in the paperwork.

HAVARAC: And Aricia knew about it?

VITRANO: Knew about it? Hell, he implemented it.

HAVARAC: Come on, Doug.

VITRANO: It's all bogus, Jimmy. Every aspect of his claim is bogus. The labor, the inflated invoices, the double and triple billing for expensive hardware. Everything. Aricia planned this from the beginning, and he just happened to work for a company with a long history of screwing the government. He knew how the company worked. He knew how the Pentagon worked. And he was shrewd enough to set up the scheme.

HAVARAC: Who told you this?

VITRANO: Bogan. Aricia's told Bogan everything. Bogan's told the Senator everything. We keep our mouths shut and play along, and we'll all be millionaires.

The voices went silent as the tape, well edited by Patrick years ago, came to the end.

The grand jurors stared at the tape player.

"Could we hear some more?" one of them asked.

Mast shrugged and looked at Patrick, who said, "I think that's a marvelous idea."

With Patrick's play-by-play commentary and sometimes colorful analysis, it took almost three hours to listen to the tapes. The Closet tape was saved for last, and played four times before the grand jurors would let it go. At six, they ordered dinner from a nearby deli.

At seven, Patrick was allowed to leave.

While they ate, Mast discussed some of the more telling documents. He addressed the various federal laws involved. With the voices of the crooks captured so vividly on the tapes, the conspiracy was laid bare.

At eight-thirty, the grand jury voted unanimously to indict Benny Aricia, Charles Bogan, Doug Vitrano, Jimmy Havarac, and Ethan Rapley for conspiring to commit fraud under the False Claims Act. If convicted, each could face up to ten years, and be fined up to five hundred thousand dollars.

Senator Harris Nye was named as an unindicted co-conspirator, a temporary designation that would most likely change for the worse. Sprawling, Jaynes, and Maurice Mast fashioned a strategy of first indicting the smaller fish, then pressuring them to cut a deal and squeal on the big one. They would aggressively go after Rapley and Havarac because of their hatred of Charles Bogan.

The grand jury adjourned at nine. Mast met with the U.S. Marshal, and planned the arrests for early the next morning. Jaynes and Sprawling found late flights from New Orleans back to D.C.