A Connecticut doctor awaiting trial on charges of writing fraudulent opioid prescriptions allegedly tried to hire the Hells Angels to murder a witness who was planning to testify against him.
Already under indictment for illegal distribution of oxycodone and health-care fraud, Anatoly Braylovsky, 50, is now also charged with obstruction of justice for the alleged murder-for-hire plot, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.
This month, a former FBI employee contacted a current agent with an urgent lead: A tipster said Braylovsky had come to see him at work “looking for help regarding witnesses” associated with his case, the complaint states. According to the unnamed informant, Braylovsky said the five days he spent in the New Haven jail before being released on bail in 2020 “were the worst five days of his life,” and that he did not want to go back.
“Braylovsky asked if [the tipster] would talk to his/her ‘brother,’ who Braylovsky believed is the president of the Hells Angels,” the complaint states. “Braylovsky specifically referenced ‘a guy who was mic’d up’ that would testify against him and said ‘This guy’s gotta go.’ [The tipster] understood this as Braylovsky asking [the tipster] to help him find someone to intimidate or kill this witness.”
The tipster told Braylovsky that he needed to think about it, and told him to come back on Aug. 24 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. In the meantime, the FBI readied an undercover agent to be at the tipster’s business when Braylovsky returned. On the 24th, an eager Braylovsky showed up a half-hour early for the meeting. The tipster wasn’t there, but his child told Braylovsky that he’d be back at 11. Braylovsky told the tipster’s wife that they had a plan to meet that day. She said the tipster was actually out of the country but didn’t want anyone to know, and Braylovsky left.
Later that day, the undercover FBI agent called Braylovsky at home. They were supposed to meet between 11 and 1 that day, the undercover agent told him. What happened? Confused, Braylovsky said that’s not what he had been told by his pal who had apparently skipped town. The undercover agent told Braylovsky that he was only in town for a short time, and if Braylovsky wanted to meet, they could get together at a nearby Home Depot.
“Can you give me 15 minutes?” Braylovsky asked, according to the complaint.
At about 12:30 p.m., Braylovsky arrived in the Home Depot parking lot driving a Dodge pickup truck. He circled the lot “more than once,” then got into the undercover agent’s vehicle, the complaint states. An FBI surveillance team was staked out nearby, and the undercover agent was wearing a wire. “So [the tipster] reached out through a mutual friend, all right?” the undercover agent told Braylovsky. “Said you had a problem. I drove up here. What can I help you with?”
Braylovsky said he got nervous when the “hitman” called him at home, saying, “So, I’m just, you know, in a fucked-up place… [I]t’s hard for me to trust anybody,” adding that he wanted to be sure he wasn’t being set up by law enforcement.“Well, understand this is what I do,” said the undercover agent. “I am a professional, all right? And if I need to find somebody, I find them, OK? Now, my mutual friend said I was going to meet somebody there between 11 and 1. I went there at 11 and I waited.”
When Braylovsky insisted that he had been there, and started asking questions about how the undercover agent knew his contact, the agent turned the tables on him.
“Now... understand, I don’t trust nobody either,” the agent said. “That’s why you asking where I’m from, I’m not going to tell you where I’m from. I’m not going to tell you my name, I’m not going to tell you anything about me. Matter of fact, when this meeting is done, this truck is gone, everything else is gone. The phone I contact you on gets burned. All right? Because not only do you have to have trust in certain individuals, you have to know to protect yourself.”
Braylovsky said he understood. The undercover agent pressed on, explains the complaint.
“So when we find this person and you decide what it is you want to do… how long do I have to wait around here?” the undercover agent said. “I’m only here for a short period of time. I’ve got other people I’ve got to go meet and talk to.”
The undercover agent said he’d be changing his phone number in a day or two, and that he was ready to finish the job, according to the complaint.
“[Y]ou reached out to [the tipster] and [the tipster] reached out to us all right?” said the undercover agent. “We’re here now.”
“I understand what you’re saying but I—have to uh, I have to talk to [the tipster],” Braylovsky replied. “You got to understand, you know?”
“This is costing me time and money,” the undercover agent responded.
“Understand that this is costing me my life,” said Braylovsky.“I don’t know about your situation, I don’t know what's going on with you,” said the agent. “I don’t want to know. All right? I don’t want to hear whatever your issue is... I know why I’m here and I know what my job is, all right? So, is this something that uh you’re having second thoughts on? What—what’s the deal?”
“Yes,” said Braylovsky.
“My guys are committed, you know when I get the phone call, people I go talk to are committed,” said the undercover agent. “This is why—this is why I’m here. All right? So, I don’t like coming up here—”
“No, no, I totally understand,” said Braylovsky. “And I’m not trying to, um, step over your toes you know, or to bring you here for no good reason. It’s just this—this is out of the blue for me. I was not expecting this. I thought this was—”
After some more back-and-forth, Braylovsky told the undercover agent that he needed some more time to think about things.
“I don’t know if this is an ex-girlfriend, ex-wife, I have no idea,” said the undercover agent. “I’m not concerned with that. I take a job, I take, I fix it and I move on… [D]o whatever the fuck you got to do. Square that shit away. I’m here for another day, that’s it, I’m moving on. You’re going to miss your opportunity. OK? Fair enough?”
Braylovsky kept asking questions, apparently concerned about the undercover agent’s story. Instead of continuing to talk in circles, the undercover agent finally told Braylovsky—in so many words—to shit or get off the pot.
“So, you’ve got my number,” the undercover agent said. “Like I said, I’ll be in town here.”
After a few more questions from Braylovsky about exactly how the undercover agent got his home number, the two parted ways. The FBI then rearrested Braylovsky on Aug. 27.
Ordinary people who try to hire hitmen regularly fail, often because the purported killer is actually an undercover cop. Last year, a New York mom paid $1,000 to a detective she thought was a contract killer in a wild scheme to have a man murdered who was planning to testify against her son. In June, a Pennsylvania woman was busted after allegedly negotiating a weekly payment plan with an undercover cop to assassinate her husband. In 2019, the FBI arrested an NYPD police officer who paid an undercover agent $7,000 in gold coins to have her estranged husband and her new boyfriend’s daughter killed. In one particularly notable case, a Washington State college student tried unsuccessfully to have her lover’s wife knocked off by a dark-web scammer posing as a hitman who later contacted the FBI.
Jury selection in Braylovsky’s case is scheduled for Oct. 5. Braylovsky’s attorney, James Glasser, did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.