Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Married A Mobster: Recap of Episode 1 “Cheryl & Philly: A Love Story”

The women of this new show break the mob rule of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” In “A Love Story,” Cheryl accepts a dinner invitation from Phil even though she was engaged to another man. Phil was very taken by Cheryl and he asks to see her ring. He takes the ring off her finger, throws it across the restaurant and tells her you aren’t engaged any more, you are with me. And that’s how the “Love Story” begins.

Philly brings Cheryl presents every time he picks her up. He romances her. He owns a successful printing business in Manhattan. He never tells her he worked for the Colombo crime family as part of Sonny Franzese’s crew, or that he did printing for Sonny. Philly also laundered money for the mob. They were paying him $150,000 a week. That’s how he made the money that allowed them to take trips to the Bahamas, buy a four bedroom house and he even had car painted pink for her.

One day he calls Cheryl and tells her they are going furniture shopping. Philly picks up Cheryl and he brings her a single red rose. She is so busy talking about the furniture they are going to buy that she doesn’t realize that inside the rose is a 3.5 carat diamond engagement ring. Philly tells her to smell the rose. That’s how he proposed to her. They married and went on honeymoon, taking a 7 day cruise to the islands. Eight months later they had a baby girl, Melissa, and Philly gives Cheryl one million dollars. Two years later they have another daughter. Cheryl says her life was always picture perfect and always full of surprises.

This was far from the life Cheryl had known. Her father abandoned the family when she was five years old. Her mother had to raise four children by herself. Cheryl had three brothers and her hand me downs left a lot to be desired. So Philly’s romancing had swept her totally off her feet.

On September 22, 1993, after three years of marriage, Cheryl had to kiss her fantasy good bye as she woke up to a nightmare. The Feds were after Philly. One day, when he stops to fill up his gas tank, he is surrounded by law enforcement agents and taken into custody. A detective calls Cheryl to let her know. Cheryl says they really wanted to get Sonny Franzese and wanted Philly’s cooperation. They tell him that Sonny is his ticket out of jail and into the witness protection program. But Philly clamed up and gets his father to bail him out of jail. Cheryl still knows nothing about why Philly is in jail. He tells her time and time again not to worry, it’s not serious. Philly thinks he is protecting her by not telling her why he is in trouble. If she doesn’t know anything she can’t say anything. But in the end, Philly ends up being convicted of drug trafficking, racketeering and wire fraud.
Phil Caruso

One day, before he leaves the house, Philly takes off all his jewelry, puts it in his jewelry box and kisses Cheryl good bye. She gets a bad feeling. She decides to go down to the courthouse and arrives for what is the last day of his trial. She walks in during the judges sentencing and hears him read a list of crimes and then pronounce sentence, 15 years to life. That is all Cheryl heard. She didn’t know what to do. Philly was handcuffed and taken away and she was told to go home. The children were in day care for a couple of hours so she knew she needed to pick them up. Philly did not “flip” and refused to talk, so he ended up getting a long sentence. He was a “stand up” guy.

The news media were calling Cheryl, they were saying Philly was pushing cocaine. She didn’t know what to believe so she locks herself up in her house with her girls. Her fairy tale ended and everything after that was hell. She had no income, no money and the bills were coming in. Cheryl went into survival mode and got three jobs, working practically around the clock, 17 hour days, waitressing, hostessing and bartending, while her mother watched her children. She waited for 5 years and even drove the 11 hour trip to the prison, near the Canadian border, to talk to Phil and get answers, but he never told her about his involvement with the mob. She says, she couldn’t do it any more; she couldn’t handle his pain and hers. She stopped going to the prison and didn’t have time to read and answer the ten letters a day he was writing to her.
Reenactment Scene

While Philly was serving time, Cheryl was busy becoming financially independent and stable. She didn’t need Philly any more. When he is released in February 2000, after serving 7 years, he expects to be able to return home and take over, but Cheryl says no, it’s not happening. When they first met she says she was naïve, quiet and fun loving. She didn’t know anything. But, after everything that happened, she now understood everything and she could never go back to the way things were with him. She even gets an order of protection.

Philly felt rejected and he decides to teach her a lesson “mob style.” One day, at 8:00 at night, two sheriffs show up at her door. She thinks Philly has gotten into more trouble and tells them Phil is not there. They tell her they are there for her. Phil’s lawyer convinced a judge that she was abusing her children. They removed Cheryl from the home. She had to prove her innocence and the judge was livid. She also started her divorce case, which lasted five years. Philly was never allowed to come home again.

I found Cheryl’s story interesting. I have heard some skepticism about her claiming she didn’t know Philly was in the mob or where all the money was coming from. But, after watching this episode twice, I really tend to believe Cheryl. She was never involved in the mob or been around that lifestyle as far as we know. Phil had a successful printing business in Manhattan which could have afforded them a lavish lifestyle. I don’t think she had much reason to suspect him of being connected except for one thing which might have been a red flag. She asked about his business associates and he told her that they used to be connected, but weren’t any more. Most people know you do not just “retire or quit” the mob after you’ve made your money. But maybe she was naïve about things like that. It just goes to show she knows nothing about mob life.
The other thing that troubled me was that a year into their marriage, after she had their first child, Philly gives her one million dollars. I would love to know what happened to all that money? He was arrested two years later and she says there was no money, no income. But they already had the house, the furniture, the cars…so where did the million dollars go? I know it would be easy to spend all that money in two years, but Philly was still making money and supporting the family up until his arrest. It’s just a question that nagged at me after I watching the episode again.

I don’t think Cheryl is you typical mob wife. She didn’t “wait” for Philly, she drove to the prison to get answers, and she didn’t let him back into her life when he got out. She just seems to have “fallen” into the mob world, clueless and then pulled herself out for the sake of her girls. I think she did a damn good job.

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Picture Credit: Investigation Discovery


Mob Mistress said...

Cheryl had grown accustomed to pretty, lavish things. I know I could spend a million easily without having to pay one bill. It wouldn't take me two years either to do it.

Harleys Angel said...

I enjoyed the episode in that it was very different than Mob Wives. I like that they emphasized how hard it is for the ones left behind when men go to prison. In my world it was always feast or famine. That’s why it’s hard for me to believe the ladies can afford the homes and luxuries they have. I realize VH1 affords them a lot but they came into this living very comfortably.

I took the show at face value not factual. I’m just not buying the babe in the woods routine. And if she was truly that naive than why didn’t her mother or brothers question this guy’s story. As soon as I heard him open his mouth I thought…He’s got gangster written all over him. And Please women, you’re married 3 years and didn’t know how much money your husband makes or see bank statements? Not to mention Uncle Sam, who most likely looked at the books of this business and their joint tax returns? And the million for the baby…Chiara and I both curious.

The working 3 shitty restaurant jobs and depending on Grandmom is how a lot of us get by but even that was a bit exaggerated IMO. Come on, NOBODY can work 3 jobs for 5 years with 2 kids. But I’m sure she got lots of attention with her “woe is me” story bartending, not to mention tips. It works for her. I give her credit for not going back to Philly but can’t help but to wonder why she would turn her back so quickly on a man she “loved so much”. It seems once the money was gone so was she.

Mob Mistress said...

I respect others' opinions most of the time. But I do take issue w/ judgemental opinions based off one's own personal experience.

My mother worked 3 jobs with 3 children. I've seen my mother walk into our home kiss her kids, shower, take a two hour nap and get right back up to go to another job. My grandmother was there for her daughter. So I know women who do hold their families down working multiple jobs.

Also, I was involved with someone who had ties to the mafia. I did not know and had no clue. For me to have a clue would be equal for someone to put a French novel in front of me and ask me what is it about. I couldn't tell them. I don't know the French language just as I didn't have a clue about mafia culture. If you are ignorant about something you can't be expected to read the signs.

Finally, I know a woman who makes six figures a year. She has no clue of how much is saved or in the checking accounts. Though that would not be me. I know plenty of women who do not know anything about their family's financial situation.

Harleys Angel said...

Oh Boy Mistress I lit someone’s fire this morning. If I sounded judgmental then that was not my intention. And I worked my ass off to get to where I am today too. With 3 kids and help from my mother, aunts, and cousins. I get that…I just felt it was a little embellished. And who doesn’t do that, right?

2 jobs, 3 jobs that irrelevant...there are only so many hours in a day. I’ve worked from 7am to 2 or 3 in the morning too in an office and in the local watering hole but not every day. If I did I’d be useless at both.

But it’s just too hard to believe she had NO CLUE. IDK, maybe I’m jaded. But after 3 years of marriage…come on. Dating someone and living with someone for 3 years is different. It’s easy to hide things when you live separately. AND let’s say I believe her story, than how does that explain why nobody else questioned things. Because only young girls who have literally been sheltered in the burbs or convents could be that unwise to the world.

And I’m just going to point one other thing out…She was engaged to a man when she met Philly. Yet, still decided it was okay to date another man? What happened to the Fiancé? It seems she went with whoever had the biggest package (no pun intended). And her mother was okay with all this? She held on to Philly like he was the love of her life…and what? That quick she fell out of love when he went to jail? She is not stupid or ignorant….OH HELL NO! She knows how to play the game.

Mob Mistress said...

She was 19. He was twice her age. I've seen women educated and with twice her life experience be bamboozled.

Oh and the guy I dated, I did practically live with him. I kept my own place because I am smart like that, HAHAHA! But I did spend a lot of time with him.

And my mother did work 6 to 7 days a week for years.

A lot of people are naive, ignorant or don't ask questions. Though Cheryl's take that she didn't know may be far fetched to many, it's quite possible.

Harleys Angel said...

19 Years, I missed that. Cough Cough...Daddy Issues! And I know there are educated established women who get bamboozled by men.

Oh Mistress...LOL, you killin me today women. So the engaged little girl starts running around with an older man? Who comes bearing lavish gift and mommy is ok with it? Not buying that one...can't. I'm sure mommy was liking the little benefits of Philly's generosity too? Because a normal parent not be ok with any of this nonsense. And how quickly she leaves when the going gets tough.

Mob Mistress said...

The story isn't about her mother. However, I can share when I dated a doctor my mother was over the moon. She saw it as a opportunity for me to have a better life than she without the struggle. Cheryl's mother was also a German immigrant.

As a mother of a 23 year old daughter. I can tell you now I was very unhappy with one of her boyfriend choices. However once an individual is out of your house and an legal adult you cannot force your will on them.

I don't think staying married to a man for seven years after his lies come out is leaving too quickly. While she drove up to visit him, he would not tell her anything that was going on. He would not explain anything in the letters he wrote. I love my husband very much. However 5 years of him not telling me the real deal would be the end of our marriage.

Phil "Philly" Caruso clearly backs up her claims that she knew nothing. And that he refused to tell her anything. He told her his normal when she asked him questions, "I'll take care of everything. It'll be okay."

Good for Cheryl for divorcing him in the end. There is no way I'd take back a man who refused to answer my questions about things I'd need to know. There is no way in hell I'd stay married to a man who bitter would lie to the police about my abusing our children; have me arrested without consideration for the welfare of our children.

Harleys Angel said...

YAY...We agree today on something. Philly is a low life for having her arrested.

Youre right it's not about her mother but my point goes back to her being so clueless for all those years. There had to be some tell tale signs things weren't on the up up. If Cherly was so she bought into his story, surely someone close to her had to question things and ask her about it.

And hey, more power to her...good for her for taking a stand. she did the right thing by divorcing that scum waffle. after all she was smart enough to leave after 7, i was dumb enough to stay for almost 15 years.

And hey, it is quite possible I'm completely wrong in my assumptions.

Anonymous said...

Serves her right! She left her fiance, for another man, who simply took off her ring, threw it behind him and say your no longer engaged! She's a low down Biatch!

Harleys Angel said...

Thank you Anonymous. Karma is a biotch too! I think she still likes to play the game by her "woe is me" boo hoo, "i was just a naive little girl", batting of the eyelashes take on her unfortuante marriage to a guido.

Andrea said...

This lady had to be there for her husband, hope he is happy today and having new life with woman which deserve him much more !!!!
Andrea - Slovakia