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Peroff's furniture or art works, a reference presumably to belongings left behind in Rome. Moreover, Peroff was forbidden to return to Italy. The final assertion in the seven-point memorandum noted that:
If the CI (Peroff] refuses to continue his services on behalf of the Customs Agency Service, he will not be utilized by any other federal agency and the federal government will not
intercede with any local authority in his behalf. Dos Santos gave this information to Peroff at his hotel at 6:30 p.m., an hour after his telephone conversation with Boulad. Peroff told Dos Santos the seven points were unacceptable. In turn, Dos Santos reported, Peroff demanded to know who was going to pay his bill here at the New York Hilton. Dos Santos said he then advised Peroff that it was up to Peroff to "meet his financial obligations with the hotel management."
Dos Santos, in his memorandum, said that he spoke with Peroff again the next day, April 4, and that Peroff advised him he had been in touch with three men that day—Conrad Bouchard, the Canadian racketeer; Vernon D. Acree, the Commissioner of Customs; and Jack Anderson, the syndicated Washington columnist.
Dos Santos said Peroff reminded him that the Hilton Hotel management was after him for payment and that he "intended to call all the local press and the White House and give them the entire story."
Dos Santos reported that the Customs headquarters then informed him to tell the hotel management that Customs would pay the hotel bill but Dos Santos was instructed to tell Peroff that "we assumed no further responsibility for him or his bills.”
To that, Peroff told Dos Santos that he was meeting with Customs Commissioner Acree in Washington "to renegotiate a new agreement." Dos Santos wrote in his memorandum that Perofl
' said his meeting with Acree would be at 11 a.m. Friday, April 6, 1973.
VERNON D. ACREE TESTIFIES
Testifying before the Investigations Subcommittee, Customs Commissioner Vernon D. Acree said he met personally with Frank Peroff at 11 a.m. April 6, 1973 (pp. 179, 185).
Acree said in his May 30, 1974 appearance (pp. 177-259) before the Subcommittee that Peroff began calling his office in early April of 1973. Peroff told Acree's secretary that the Customs Service owed him money. The secretary tried to refer him to the Customs' Office of Investigations, Acree said, but Peroff would have none of that. Peroff claimed to be “at his wit's end,” Acree said, and insisted that the only way to resolve the issue was to meet with the Commissioner himself. Acree said he agreed to the meeting (p.185).
Acree said the meeting was "very brief" and was the first and only time he faced Peroff (p. 179). Acree said that as a result of the meeting
... I arranged to have Mr. Peroff meet with appropriate personnel from our Oflice of Investigations in order that any financial obligations between the Customs Service and Mr.
Peroff could be settled (pp. 179,180). Acree said the head of the Customs Office of Investigations at the time of the April 6 meeting was Assistant Commissioner Harold
Smith. Acree said Smith attended the meeting. Afterward, on Acree's direction, Smith took Peroff to his office "and thereafter worked out the financial settlement."
Acree said Smith voluntarily retired from Customs shortly thereafter. Acree said he welcomed Smith's retirement as he “was less than enthusiastic about" Smith's management of the Office of Investigations. Acree said Smith's retirement bad nothing to do with the way the Peroff matter was handled by the Office of Investigations (pp. 218, 219). But Acree did make this observation:
At that time, very frankly, I was concerned over the management and direction and supervision of my Office of Investigations which prompted me to see Mr. Perofl personally ... and hear for myself firsthand from him whether there was any validity to his assertions that, using his terms, he was being given a bad time." I heard that which Mr. Peroll had
say and I directed that any financial obligations due and outstanding owed Jr. Peroff by the Customs Service be immediately worked out, and the then director of our Office of Investigations took Mr. Peroff in tow (p. 186). Acree was also critical of the way the Customs Service Office of Investigations kept its files under Harold Smith. Senator Iludilleston asked Acree if there was a central file at the headquarters office in Washington where Customs maintained its records on activities in the field. Acree said there was no such central file, explaining that "much to my amazement" there was no centralized filing syst:m at Customs when he took over in 1972. Acree said üles were sliterally scattered out" throughout the various Customs field offices. He said Customs was developing a central file system now (PP: 193, 194).
Acree said that former Assistant Commissioner Smith was not a consultant for the new federal Drug Enforcement Administration (p. 217).
Customs officials turned over to the Subcommittee records which showed that they paid Peroff $7,900 on April 12, 1973 for "yeritied expenses incurred while working as their informant. According to an April 12 receipt, Peroís was paid $7,900 in 20 $20 bills, 14 $50 bills and 69 $100 bills. The money was given to Richard Dos Santos, Ile turned it over to Peroff. Peroff signed the receipt for the money. In addition, a $2.847 bill of Peroff's at the New York Hilton was also taken care of by Customs, records showed.
THE 20-POINT AGREEMENT DESCRIBED BY BOULAD
Customs Agent Paul Boulad, working out of Customs headquarters in Washington, wrote a memorandum for Assistant Commissioner Harold F. Smith April 16, 1973. The Subcommittee obtained a copy of that document and it was made part of the hearing record. In the memorandum, Boulad said that on April 11, 1973 a 20-point agreement was reached between Customs and Peroff "clarifying several points of misunderstanding regarding the conditions of his [Peroff's] service."
Boulad wrote that attending the meeting at which the agreement was reached were himself. Peroff, Smith, Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner George C. Corcoran and Special Agent Richard Dos
Santos. Nowhere in the Boulad memorandum is there any indication that Peroff signed the agreement or that he formally approved it in any other way. Boulad said simply that the points were “discussed at great length and agreed upon.
Also lacking from the memorandum is any reference to per diem expense money to be paid Peroff. Boulad did say that Peroff vowed to “resume his role in the [Bouchard] case.” Boulad said Peroff promised to "proceed to Canada in a catalytic capacity to generate a speedier movement of the case.”
Boulad said Peroff acknowledged that in the future he would demand no expense reimbursements except those specifically authorized ahead of time by Customs officials. But, Boulad said, Peroff would be paid "all expenses incurred by him subject to verification of certain expenses, such as tolls." Boulad said Peroff agreed that any claims for expenses incurred while working undercover for other enforcement agencies would be filed with the affected agencies and not with Customs.
In addition, Boulad said, Peroff agreed he would testify in court at the conclusion of the Bouchard case but "only if his testimony would be required in the successful prosecution of the case.” Boulad said Peroff accepted the arrangements for the storage of his furniture left behind in Rome. These arrangements had been made by Customs Attache Mario Cozzi. Boulad said Peroff absolved Customs and Cozzi of "any responsibility with regards to the informant's furniture storage." Boulad said it was also understood that Peroff's family would be moved from New York to Puerto Rico.
In turn, Boulad said, the Customs Service also made a series of promises. Customs officials agreed to pay Peroff $7,900 for past expenses and his $2,847 bill at the Hilton. Next, Customs officials said that after the "successful completion" of the Bouchard case they would absorb the expense of relocating Peroff and his family—"wife, 5 children, 1 canine"--anywhere Peroff desired to live in the territorial United States. But, Boulad said, it was also understood that "the defendant”—presumably Peroff– would have to take the steps needed to change his identity legally, although he would be given advice by the Justice Department.
Boulad wrote that Customs officials said after the “successful conclusion" of the Bouchard case and after the Peroffs were relocated the government would "assume financial responsibility" for moving the family's belongings from Rome to their new home in the U.S. Customs Šervice officials went on to agree to pay for “adequate lodging" for Peroff's family while the Bouchard inquiry was open but for no longer than two months and for no more than $550 a month. But, Boulad said, Peroff had to promise to "supply his family with money for their support while in Puerto Rico” during this time.
Other promises Customs officials made to Peroff, Boulad said, included an agreement to reward him "only” $500 per kilogram of heroin seized in the Bouchard investigation; to grant Peroff protection if "the circumstances warrant it;" and to consider, at the conclusion of the inquiry, the possibility of rewarding Peroff with a "supplemental payment,” depending on the “merits of the case.” It was asserted by Customs, Boulad said, that the Customs Service
"would not intercede on behalf of the informant with any law enforcement agencies."
The April 16, 1973 memorandum also stipulated that Customs Agent Richard Dos Santos would "be the sole person the informant would contact for direction."
PEROFF'S UNPAID BILLS IN ROME
Now that Customs had paid his bills at the New York Hilton, Frank Peroff and his family could depart through the lobby of the hotel in good conscience, knowing their obligations had been met. On their departure from Rome a month earlier they had not left such a clean slate. When the Peroffs flew out of Rome headed for the United States March 16, 1973, they left behind some $10,000 in unpaid bills.
Olaf S. Bonde, general manager of the Cavalieri Hilton Roma, wrote to the American Embassy in Rome May 2, 1973 to complain that Frank Peroff and his “family of 10 persons” stayed at his hotel during the month of September of 1972 and ran up a bill of $4,280.04. A copy of Bonde's letter was made part of the hearing record.
Bonde said Peroff promised to pay but "we never had the pleasure of receiving any check from him." Bonde said Peroff's last known address was on Via Corrado Barballo in Rome but "he is no longer there and left no forwarding address."
Peroff's landlady at the Barballo villa also was asking the American government to help her locate the Peroff family. Mario Cozzi, the Customs Attache in Rome, wrote Richard Dos Santos in New York June 20, 1973 to report that the landlady, Mrs. Gina C. Sarao, was holding Peroff's unpaid electric bill and an $800 phone bill. In addition, Cozzi said, Peroff owed the Euromobilia Company of Via Pontina $1,000 in furniture bills.
The next item on the claims list, Cozzi reported, was $4,000 Peroff owed the Overseas School in Rome where his children had been taught.
Finally, Cozzi said, Peroff still owed the Esso Corporation for fuel used to heat the villa. Moreover, Cozzi said, the maid at the villa was still “looking to be paid."
Cozzi sent these bills on to the New York office with the understanding that they would be passed on to Peroff. A copy of Cozzi's letter was obtained by the Subcommittee. It is not known whether Olaf Bonde, Gina Sarao, the Peroffs' maid or the other creditors ever got
THE ISSUE OF THE WARRANTS IS RAISED
Even as he allegedly agreed April 11, 1973 to the 20-point stipulation with Customs officials, Frank Peroff was a wanted man, the subject of two warrants for his arrest in Florida for passing bad checks. The existence of the warrants was known at the highest levels of the U.S. Customs Service and officials there apparently were not concerned about them.
George C. Corcoran was then Customs Attache in Paris. He had worked with Peroff earlier in the year in Europe on the counterfeiting and narcotics cases. Corcoran was in Washington at Customs head
quarters April 11 and attended a meeting that day at which the Peroff warrants were discussed (p. 208).
Corcoran, now promoted to Assistant Customs Commissioner for Investigations, testified before the Subcommittee May 30, 1974 (pp. 177–355). He said that those attending the April 11 meeting included himself, Harold Smith, the then Assistant Commissioner for Investigations; and Special Agents Paul Boulad and Richard Dos Santos (p. 209).
Corcoran said the main purpose of the meeting was to work out some resolution with Peroff on his expenses. But the warrants were talked about. Corcoran testified:
During that [April 11, 1973] discussion the fact that there were warrants outstanding against Peroff came up. The decision was made that we would continue not to notify Florida authorities and have him arrested and that we would attempt to settle that matter after the investigation was completed (p. 209)