Brian J. Weiss, South Florida Scammer, Killed In NYC As Police Investigate Mob Ties

Categories: Crime

Last Thursday, a 31-year-old named Brian J. Weiss was holding a meeting in a Hilton hotel near Kennedy International Airport when a man pulled out a .380 Baretta and shot him five times in the head. That man, Gary Zalevsky, then killed himself as four others in the room dove for cover. 

The brutal crime, which has made waves in NYC, hasn't hit the papers in Miami just yet. But investigators this morning say the trail leading to Weiss's murder leads right back to South Florida, where the victim ran a fraudulent dietary supplement company -- and where he may have gotten on the wrong side of the Russian mob.

"We're not ruling anything out, but right now we simply don't know," New York's police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, tells the New York Times.

Here's what police do know about Weiss: He was president of a Hollywood-based company called FWM Laboratories that raked in cash by promising customers "free" samples of wrinkle creams and diet pills, and then billing them monthly for shipments they never ordered.

The company amazingly racked up more than 4,000 complaints with Florida's Better Business Bureau. Then, in 2009, Florida's deputy attorney general, Robert Hannah, ordered FWM to repay $34 million to slighted customers.

Local 10 talked to consumers in 2009 who had been ripped off in the scam and reported that a dumpster behind the company's office was full of returned orders from around the country. 

(Weiss also racked up federal lawsuits over the firm, including one by celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, who claimed he was using his image without permission, the Times reports.)

Which is all a long way of saying that New York detectives have a hell of a list of suspects who may have felt slighted by Weiss.

But police are considering a Russian mob angle to the killing, Kelly says. The names of the other men in the meeting haven't been released, but all live in South Florida and all were heard speaking a language that may have been Russian.

The men have since hired lawyers and aren't giving police much to work with, the Times reports.

"The story is, supposedly, there was some discussion about establishing some sort of vitamin or food supplement business," Kelly tells the paper. "We're trying to determine, precisely, what the nature of the dispute was and what the business relationship was."

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.


My Voice Nation Help
9 comments
iTroll
iTroll

To "the truth", where's your compassion? This man had a wife, a kid, a family. You think he deserved to die because he owed you 4 weeks pay? That's a shame. Well, I forget, most of his employees were ex-cons though, so I'm betting you're worse than you say he was. And after reading your comment, you seem to be illiterate, as well. And bitter. Having been around him and his partners, I saw a lot of bitterness from the people who did not have the money they did. There's a lot of haters out there, it was tough on me not to not hate the guys, too. But I didn't. What's the point? Their car payments were more than I make a year, but I was just as happy as they were. Money isn't everything. Anyways, I hope you see that. Hope you get past this anger. I also hope you never find yourself so angry that you want to take another persons life because of your own mistakes. But right now, you're scum for talking to his family like this. You also look like you’re damn near evil for laughing at the person you think is his sister. I mean, don’t you see that’s an evil reply? You’re disgusting. I hope you see that. And to his family, my thoughts and prayer's go out to you. I know Brian was just a regular guy.

Randesg
Randesg

This article is filled with lies. The only criminal, besides the evil Gary Zalevsky, is Tim Elfrink and his atrocious reporting. Tim, if you do not know how to report the truth, then perhaps you should find a new job. Mr. Weiss did not scam anyone, he was not connected to the mob. You state that amazingly there were 4,000 complaints, yet you do not state that he had hundreds of thousands of customers. 4,000 complaints compared to hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers? The only scammer here is you Tim and the New Times for capitalizing on the murder of a loving and good man. Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you

Silversurfer
Silversurfer

Sir- Maybe YOU should learn how to read! The article did not call Brain a criminal. Omitting that he had hundreds of thousands of customers is not lying anymore than you not acknowledging the relevant facts of his business.I don't what business you are in but no one gets sued by the FTC, Florida AG, pays hundreds of thousands in fines for amongst other things, false claims, deceptive advertising and making it next to impossible for people to cancel their monthly "subscriptions" then pays 34MIL back in refunds who is running a legit business. This isn't some massive case of negligence or an accident. It was in Mr. Weiss' business model to defraud people. In this country, we refer to that as a scam. It should in fact be a crime but none of these guys ( look up Jesse Willims) go to jail. They hire expensive ex-ftc lawyers, pay huge settlements, promise to be nice boys and then go find another way to defraud consumers. On a personal level it is quite possible that he was a loving man to his friends and family and in no way did he deserve his fate no matter how many millions he earned and lost fraudulently. It is tragic. But lets not confuse personal and business. I'm quite sure he treated his family better than his customers and unfortunately its seems like he got mixed up with some people that exercise their own brand of justice. 

EWeiss
EWeiss

Brian was not a scammer. Calling abusiness fraudulent IS calling a business criminal. The government never fined him;he had to pay attorney costs (administrative fees). He was actually found to becompletely compliant. It was his business model to run a long lastingsuccessful company. His terms and conditions were clearly stated on hiswebsite. It seems to be the norm in this country to be lawsuit hungry and blameothers for our ignorance. He did not scam anyone. You, sir, should not believe99 % of what is written in the news. A majority of it is false. He treated hiscustomers very well, though unfortunately, you can't please everyone. I highlydoubt there is one company that has 100% satisfaction. Personally, I find theMiami New Times, and Tim Elfrink especially, to be despicable. This entirearticle is filled with lies. Brian was not in any way connected to the Russianmob and Brian was not a scammer. It is sad that the Miami New Times has toreport lies in order to create a story to gain traffic to their site. Pathetic that people ignorantly believe it all as well. 

The truth
The truth

He was a scammer and a scum bucket to rob consumers friends and family . His family knew also. that last post must be his sister .ha I hope the truth comes out on ur brother and the things he did to consumers his own employees and just about everyone he knew. I was a employee still owed for 4 weeks but damn sure he was driving a new Ferrari . Dirt . And let's not talk about he so called partners mike malinsky dee the list goes on he stole from everyone . Period that's the truth I just hope someone helps the ones he screwed .

Basil Vanessa
Basil Vanessa

You are absolutely incorrect about this being an honest pubication. I am sure you are not familair with Brian Weiss as an indiviual and therefore should not deem him a criminal.

Miguel Torres
Miguel Torres

Basil Vanessa..... I knew Brian Weiss....he was a criminal. anyone who knows him knew, anyone who worked for him, and everyone who he owed money to knew it.

michael wind
michael wind

perhaps this is the most honest publication,these people were criminals not businessman.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...