Murder on Middle Beach (2020) s01e02 Episode Script

Tables and Rooms

What was your best recollection
of coming home?
Ali and I pulled up.
I see these cushions
up against the bushes--
So, you pulled back
the same cushion, what happens?
It's your mom.
I'm doing a, um,
documentary on Mom.
Your mother
was a very complicated person.
She had a life that
I had no idea she had.
I think the police
dropped the ball
on your mother's murder.
You can't get
an answer if you don't have
people looking in
the right places.
At the end of the day,
we're not investigators.
Hello, hello, hello.
It could be any of us that
you're talking to right now.
Somebody, somewhere,
knows something.
- There's Madison,
building his puzzle.
With Daddy helping.
- He does it all by himself.
- Hey.
- Hey.
- Very good, Madison.
- Yeah, I mean, I--
there isn't
a definitive answer
to this murder,
so I don't wanna lose you,
because I don't know,
you know?
- You don't think
they looked other places?
Yay for Madison.
Go show Mommy your puzzle,
- Ball?
- Oh, I see.
You want Mommy to get
your ball?
You want Mommy to get
your ball?
Good boy.
You wanna get in there?
You want me
to put you in there?
Then what do you want?
You want your ball?
That's a good boy.
Ours is a rich
and variant land.
We have bounties beyond those
known to the people
of any other day.
And as responsible
as anyone else
for the care of these bounties
is the woman
in the American home.
- WDRC-FM HD3 Hartford.
- So the topic today, Ray,
is gifting tables.
- Ah, Gifting Table.
That's right.
And I had a friend
involved in it.
In the beginning, I would just
hear her on the phone
talking about soup and salad
and appetizers
and entrées and dessert.
One time, I said, "Am I ever
gonna get an invitation
to this event
you're planning?"
She said, "No.
"This is
a women's empowerment group.
"It's just for women.
Pretend you never heard that."
- I hope I'm not
disturbing you
by any of the questions.
- No.
I mean, I don't wanna be
the one
to drop the bombs here,
you know?
- I'm ready for bombs.
You good?
- Good.
- Cool.
- There we go.
- Okay.
So what were
the Gifting Tables?
- We had dinner parties
once a week,
and everybody would
really get dressed
and put on their best clothes
and makeup and jewelry,
and we just had a great time.
It was just a club.
- Why didn't I know
about the Tables?
Why do you think
my mother kept that from me?
I didn't know
that you didn't know anything
about the Tables,
quite frankly.
So I don't know.
- Okay.
Let's go back a little bit.
How did you meet my mother?
- Your mom was a little girl
when I married Ed,
your mom's uncle.
We met in high school.
It was meant to be.
You know, he's the only man
of my life.
Your mom and I were
really, really close,
but I really met her more
as an adult
when she married your dad
and moved to Madison.
- What did you think
of my dad?
- I really like your dad.
I really liked him a lot.
Come on, Jeff.
It's funny,
'cause I always tell
all the people
who married into the family,
"This is one of the most
overwhelming families
you'll ever, ever meet."
- Ali!
- There's nobody crazier than
your whole family together.
I tried to see
how long I could go
without being
in the family photograph,
and your dad said,
"Well, you're in the family,"
and I said, "I've never been
in the family picture
and no one has ever noticed."
So your dad made me come down
and get in the picture.
We were the same age,
your father and I,
so I think that we had
a certain connection.
But I knew the good guy.
Didn't know the bad guy.
After the divorce,
that's when her drinking
started becoming a problem.
She started plunging downhill.
She said she was drinking
until she passed out
every night.
I looked at her and I said,
"Where's my Barbie?
"My Barbie
is a take-charge girl.
Where'd she go?"
- Yes.
Your grandfather,
Sandy, had it.
He was sober
for almost 50 years
before he died.
And all three of the girls,
and the boys, no.
Isn't that funny?
I don't have it.
You either inherit that gene,
I guess,
or you don't, you know?
It was a real surprise for me.
I didn't think
your mother had it.
But then I didn't think
Cathy had it either.
- Your mom was drinking a lot,
and she was arrested
for a DUI.
I guess she came out
of a blackout,
and she doesn't know
if she was driving the vehicle
or if someone else was.
Every night,
I would call your mom.
She would answer sometimes.
She wouldn't answer sometimes.
One night, she said,
"I'm gonna die."
And I said, "What do you mean,
you're gonna die?"
She said, "I need some help."
And I said,
"I'll see you in the morning."
So I took her to treatment.
And Grammy came
and took care of you,
and when your mom came home,
she was a whole new woman.
- How did you meet my mom?
- I met her in an AA meeting.
- What was my mom's
early sobriety like?
- Your mother
was the most
enthusiastic newcomer
that I've ever known.
She was magnetic, alive,
and compelling,
and a joy to be around.
Let's say she and I walked
into a room together,
I'd walk in behind her,
the reaction to her, it was
always incredibly welcoming.
- Really?
- Where Barbara was,
people wanted to be.
- How would you describe her?
- As a light.
A shining light.
She was instrumental
in my sobriety.
Very much so.
She was the best
and only friend
I really ever had.
- She really loved
the program.
She cared about people.
She loved sponsoring new girls.
I think she knew that
that was her purpose in life,
you know, to help others.
People don't realize,
when you lose one person,
how much it affects
so many other people,
you know?
- Do you think
we'll ever find out who did it?
- I hope in my lifetime.
You know, I'm 65 years old.
I don't know
how much longer I'm gonna live.
But I would really like
to know.
You have a lot more time
than I do.
You okay, man?
- Yeah.
This is just groceries.
Mommy got some milk,
some potatoes.
- That's the chicken
for dinner.
As she lives her life
as the woman American,
we often seem to charge her
with the responsibility
of getting more
out of the family purse
than is there.
Her art of working
with the family
helps provide us
with the daily necessities
and, perhaps,
some of our delightful
American privileges of life.
- When she got sober,
was my dad paying
any child support?
- No.
So she had nothing
to help you two guys with.
Nothing at all.
- So how was she paying for us
if she wasn't making money?
- Your mother had an IRA
that she was cashing out,
and that's how she tried
to make ends meet.
- Is that why she joined
the Tables?
- Yes.
She needed the money.
- How did you meet Donna?
- I became
really introduced to her
through the Gifting Tables.
At that time,
Donna was hosting
all the Gifting Table parties
at her house.
- A mark.
- I don't want you to hold back
because I'm the person
who's asking,
if that makes sense.
- Mm-hmm.
By the way,
I really loved your mother.
- Yeah.
- The whole thing was just
so stupid.
I mean, like,
I'm the last person
who's a fraud.
All right.
- Dude, you look fine.
- All right.
- How long have you known
my mom?
- I met her
early on in the Tables.
I think it was 2007.
I invited a woman
who invited Jill.
That's how I met Jill
and your mother.
And it was
a community of women.
And so I thought
it was a great thing.
It was a very large part
of my life.
We raised money
for so many people
to help them.
It was a good thing.
- Check this out.
This is the amount of money
that each woman made.
That's crazy.
- They are called
gifting clubs.
- Gifting circle.
- Ring leaders
are telling members
they can take in an extra
80 grand in cash annually.
- When women were invited
to these Tuesday night events,
which were typically in
someone's home,
they would be told
not to tell your husband,
not to tell anybody
about it afterwards.
It was just women
getting together,
and it was all cash-based,
and it was all
terribly secret.
- The talk was always about
how to get more people
into the food chain.
- Should I stop filming now
or can I keep going?
- Keep going.
- I have an appointment
with Detective Mulhern.
- Name?
- Madison Hamburg.
Thank you so much.
- Okay.
He's on his way out.
- Okay, great.
- Thank you.
- No, thank you.
- Hey.
- Good.
How are you?
- Good to see you.
- Where do you want me to sit?
- Cool.
- Madison's been in there
for two hours
when he was only scheduled
to be in there for one hour.
Hello. How's it going?
- Hi. How are you?
- Good. How are you?
- Come on in.
- Thanks.
- How you doing
on this hot day?
- Good.
Are we good to park over here?
- Yeah, you're fine.
- Cool.
- Yeah, come on in.
- So when did you become close
with my mom?
- When she moved
up here permanently.
I got closer with her,
when I went to a couple
of the Gifting Table meetings.
- Okay, so what is
a gifting table?
If you are going
to give a party,
plan that party
around a purpose.
- They called it a sisterhood.
It was beautiful.
It was like, you walk in,
everybody was, like--
greeted you and they were kind
and they were supportive.
Plan for refreshments
and entertainment.
- With the Gifting Tables,
you joined with a $5,000 gift
to a woman.
That put you
in a bottom row position,
which we had called
and then you were asked
to find one or two people,
preferably two, to follow you,
and then you, as an appetizer,
moved up to the next level,
which we called
the soup and salad level.
You already have
your two people behind you.
Your job is done.
You're just there to support
the people
that are behind you
and make them successful.
Now you move up
to the next entrée position,
and you needed to have
eight people
in the appetizer position.
And then you're
in the position
to actually receive
the eight gifts.
Five times eight.
Dessert is receiving.
It's when you get
your just desserts.
Make sure
the party is fun for everyone.
- The night
you would get gifted,
everybody was so creative.
One girl put all the hundreds
in a balloon
and then popped it,
and all the money flew.
One woman made a necklace
out of the money.
- I remember the first time
I brought cash home
and I showed it to Ed.
I just threw it on the bed
and the $100 bills were
just going all over the place.
He said,
"You mean this actually works?"
It was a lot of fun.
I mean, it really was.
Think about it.
Just raining $100 bills
all the time.
- Now the tables fall.
Everyone's gifted.
She goes off and follows
the person that brought her.
There goes her two women
behind her.
And then it starts
all over again.
So you have to bring
people in.
- Right.
- Otherwise, it's gonna die.
- You have to understand
the timing here.
- Now it's official.
We are in a recession.
- Jobless claims hit
a 26-year high.
- So this is the early part
of 2008.
Everybody needed money.
People were losing their jobs
left and right.
They were terrified.
How were they gonna make
ends meet?
They came on the Table,
they weren't afraid anymore.
I needed money just to pay
for your uncle's
health insurance,
and that was the main reason
why I was doing it,
because, you know,
we had to pay
$2,300 a month
just for health insurance,
and that wasn't
with medication.
I will have to say,
if you give a person hope,
you change their life.
I saw miracles happen.
Conway was a miracle.
- So who invited you?
- Your mother
and my aunt Jill.
I was, like,
coming into my own
for the first time in my life
and feeling a lot of support.
It was different from AA.
That's about staying sober.
This is about how to live life
and, you know,
be a strong, healthy,
happy woman.
- I gotta tell you something.
This is something
that most guys don't get.
It's really something
that women get.
Women get this,
but guys don't get this.
This gifting club and that
sorority kind of a thing,
they don't get it.
- Did Chris know
about the Tables?
- We did tell him.
He didn't like it at all.
- I'm like, "That is--
what are you doing?
You're gonna get in trouble
for that."
She's like, "Absolutely not."
And I assured him.
I said, you know,
"Honest, Chris,
it's totally legal."
He said, "I don't know.
I don't know.
It's kinda scary."
- Their MO was,
"What we're doing is legal,
but we don't want it
to become illegal,"
and so that's why they did
all these weird things,
like have codewords for stuff.
- We don't recruit.
We invite.
It is not an investment.
Don't ever tell anybody
it's an investment.
It's a gift.
- And my mom used to keep,
like, tens of thousands
of dollars
in the freezer at home in bags.
I remember that.
They were exercising
what they thought
was a tax loophole.
They're essentially
mini pyramids, more or less,
with the main difference being
you got in, you got out.
You got in, you got out.
You got in, you got out.
But in order for them to work,
more people had to join.
- So I'm a new member.
How do you introduce me?
Choose your guests carefully.
- I'll pretend
you're my sister.
You know that group of women
that I've been involved with?
Well, it'll be a great group
of women for you.
Very supportive.
She said, "Well, would I
actually make any money?"
I said,
"I haven't been in a table
that somebody
didn't make something."
- If they seemed excited
and didn't know
how to get the money,
suggestions were made.
Like, maybe you could
refinance your house
or their boat
or whatever they might have.
Is there equity in something?
- And then it made a leap
about three or four years ago
to Avon, Farmington, Simsbury,
Canton, West Hartford.
That's when I started to say,
"Oh, my gosh.
Someone's going
to get in trouble here."
- Your mom had a ton of people
that followed her,
and she had a ton of AA people
that followed her.
- Really?
- That caused, I think,
problems elsewhere.
- Within AA probably?
- Yeah,
I don't think that it was--
I think it was frowned upon
to bring that there.
- Did you know about
the Gifting Tables
after the murder?
- I knew about them
before the murder.
A number of people I knew
were involved.
At least one person felt
that your mom had
recruited people
that she knew
through the program.
- Your mom's group grew,
like, so large.
And then she became the Donna.
- Oh.
That makes sense.
- Because she was the one
that they would all follow.
Because they would split off,
then she was Donna
in that group.
The network was a big thing
'cause they wanted to grow.
You know,
'cause if it doesn't grow,
it's not gonna work, right?
- Did anybody realize
how big it was going to get?
- No, I don't think so.
It was so funny because, like,
you could drive down the street
on a Monday night
and you would be like,
"Oh, look at all the cars
at that house.
I bet you there's
a women's meeting there."
Like, people knew!
- Wow.
- You know, like,
that's how it was.
But then it got
out of control.
People were inviting
- It started to get scary
when the group got big.
I mean, there would be--
there was one night
where we had, like,
$90,000 in this house,
and it's a bad economy.
And I said, "You know,
people could start
getting hurt here."
And so there was more of a need
to be very cautious and quiet
about these parties
and who was being invited.
And so we didn't just
invite anybody to come.
- They tried to target people
who could afford the $5,000,
but if you think about that,
at some point,
the game has to--
if you want the game to go on,
you have to go to people
that don't necessarily have
the means,
and you're gonna end up
getting somebody
who really needed that $5,000,
and that meant
a lot more to them
than it means to someone
who's got it sitting around.
- Well, I then saw
an online alert
about something called
the Gifting Table,
and that it was
a pyramid scheme,
and there were those terms.
Appetizer, soup and salad,
entrée, dessert.
And all the pieces fell
in together
in just a microsecond,
and I thought, "Oh, boy."
- The money
that they are taking out,
the $40,000,
they're not paying taxes on,
and so many
of these conversations
about this pyramid scheme
taking place through e-mails
and over the phone.
- That's wire fraud.
Anyone who was
at the dessert level
in Central Connecticut,
they know who they are.
- Someone made a call
to the attorney general.
And then that's how
it all started.
- What was the announcement
on the TV?
- Oh, it was that there was
an illegal Ponzi scheme
running on the shoreline
called the Gifting Tables.
I was like, "Oh, my God.
Like, illegal"--
you know what I mean?
Like, I was floored by it.
I'm telling you, I think that
it just scared a lot of people.
- Thank you so much
for making time for us.
I've been making
this documentary
since my mother was murdered
ten years ago.
I've been making it
for the past six years.
- Yeah, I'm sorry
about your mom's death.
- Thank you.
- And I guess it still
hasn't really been--
- It's still unsolved.
- Solved, yeah.
- As you may know, she was
a part of the Gifting Tables.
So what sparked
the investigation
back in 2009?
- There were complainants.
There were enough complainants
that it was
really having an impact.
We felt strongly that we had
to act to protect others,
if only to warn them
that the likelihood
of their actually
making money here
was very, very remote.
What struck me
about the Gifting Table was
the abuse of trust.
Women were enticed to join
with this promise of sisterhood
and bonding,
and some of them
actually exploited friends,
perhaps unknowingly--
one who asked
her fellow AA members to join,
the urging
that people take
a second mortgage,
sell their car,
ask relatives
for early inheritance.
Really striking people
where they lived.
It had an emotional element
that was unusual
for a pyramid scheme.
- Did you see Jill's note?
- Yeah.
- Oh, really?
- This is November 14th, 2009.
We win as one.
I wonder who she is.
"Really, it's not even
a misdemeanor.
"Be happy.
All is good.
Love you.
Really, I do."
This is in response
to the attorney general
in Madison.
"What happened is the result
of a situation
"that was put into motion
some months ago
"by an anonymous woman
"who went to the attorney
general's office
"stating that
she had been scammed,
"lost money,
et cetera, et cetera,
"and showed that office
many of our sacred guidelines.
Blumenthal's office now feels
they must investigate."
- Once that attorney general
call went in,
I think everybody was like,
"See ya later."
- Really?
- Oh, I think a lot--yeah.
Yeah, I think a lot of people
were like, "No way."
They were afraid,
'cause then at that point--
- There was an investigation.
- I think people were
questioning the legality of it.
Because I don't think people
even thought about it before.
What happened was,
one of the women
complained about Barb.
- Ah.
- That group is the one
that called
the attorney general.
- My mom's?
- Yeah.
And then everyone
was mad at her.
- Your mother told me
that she wished
she had never asked
her friends from AA
to be a part of it,
because it got out of hand.
And there were some women
who were maybe not
healthy enough
to do the tables.
And then they got angry,
and then they started to--
you know, it became
a real quagmire.
And then the badmouthing
against your mom
for "preying" on women
in AA for this.
They really made a stink.
- So my mother was actually
one of the women
who was inviting people
through Alcoholics Anonymous.
Where is the line crossed
between people who are victims
and people who are,
I guess, criminals?
- Well, let me talk in general.
Pyramid schemes,
in the end,
they are doomed to collapse.
Someone is bound to walk away,
in effect, defrauded.
The people who knowingly
and deliberately
profit from the schemes
are criminal in their intent.
Others who are victims,
in effect,
are chewed up by them.
- Okay, everybody's--
come sit, honey.
Or get
a more comfortable chair
and bring it over.
- How do I share my screen?
- Yeah, I got it.
Do you see my beautiful face?
- "Log into Facebook
using the following code
as your password."
- Holy shit, dude.
This is insane.
Feels really weird
logging in as my mom.
I mean, just feel
like a mindfuck.
Oh, my God.
There's unread messages
from before she died.
So there's no way
the police have seen this,
dude, right?
- Correct.
- I wonder
what that message is.
"Cathy gave me 20 for"
I wonder if that had to do
with the Tables.
- Yeah.
- Am I, like, tampering
with evidence right now?
Did she ever express
any safety concerns?
- Yes, she did.
She said that
she felt
she was being watched
a lot, I wanna say,
those last couple months.
And your mom was
in the receiving position
when she was murdered.
So she was a dessert.
- Oh, wow, I didn't know that.
- Yep.
- Do you ever wonder,
like, who could've done it?
- Yeah.
- So I used to do repairs,
all that type of stuff.
Last thing I did was
put the mailbox up for her
the day before
all this happened.
Somebody had broke it off
and took it.
- What is this?
February 14th.
"Jill and I are split.
"She made it formal,
"and I just wanted
to keep it friendly,
"and so far, it doesn't appear
she does.
"Her other problem
"her other problem
and Shelley and I
"want to continue
to travel together,
and Auntie isn't happy
with that."
"Jill and I are split."
I went through
my mom's Facebook
Who is--or what is that?
- "She made it formal,
"and I just wanted
to keep it friendly,
and so far,
it doesn't appear she does."
Oh, yeah.
There was this big e-mail
that went out
that Barb's group is the group
of Madison.
Jill, like, cut her off.
Like, told her--like,
sent her on her own, kind of.
- Oh.
- Jill didn't tell you that?
- So why did Jill wanna split?
- Your mom and Conway decided
they wanted to invite Tracy,
my aunt,
Jill's other sister.
- Mm-hmm.
- She could never invite
a woman.
And that's what they were
getting mad at.
They felt that they were
just inviting anybody on
just to gift.
So Jill's whole holy side was
getting mad at Barb's side,
who was actually just trying
to get women
and bring 'em in and whatever.
- Yeah.
- And so it turned
into a big debacle.
Jill just then split.
- Wow.
What was your relationship
with Jill like?
- Who invited you
to the Tables?
- Tracy and I don't get along.
Never have.
I didn't think my sister was
appropriate for the Tables.
They had my sister
join their table,
and my mother was sort of
just trying
to push my sister along.
Yeah, I said,
"Mom, who does she know
that would be appropriate?"
She said, "Oh, nobody.
Her friends don't have
any money."
And I said, "And so,
she's gonna be successful how?
"She doesn't have a job,
"she's depressed,
"and she doesn't have
any friends with any money,
so how is she gonna be--
how's she gonna do this?"
You can't invite anybody.
It has to be somebody who has
a chance at being successful.
We're not just trying
to get money for people.
But as soon as they had
their way,
they could do anything.
They did what they wanted to do
to get the money.
- Jill was pissed.
Sent out a fucking e-mail.
Said, "Fuck it."
And it panicked
a lot of the girls who were
Jill's Tables
or Barb's Tables or--
everybody was kind of blended,
and so to split was weird,
and it caused a lot of fear
and confusion.
- Did my mom and Jill
ever, like,
talk after the split, or--
- No, I don't think they did.
So that e-mail was,
I think, in February.
- Oh.
- And Mom was in--
she was murdered in March.
- Right.
- Right. So March 3rd?
- Mm-hmm.
- Right?
So yeah, there wasn't
a lot of time
in between the e-mail and that.
- Where did my mom keep
her money?
- In the safe in the house.
- How much money
do you think was in the safe?
- I will say anywhere
from 5,000 to 20,000.
- Could it have been more?
- Sure.
- Did she ever move the money?
- I do remember your mom
digging a hole.
She said she put it in there.
But at some point,
she got paranoid that
that money was gonna
be taken from her.
- Why was she so paranoid?
Did something happen?
- Sheshe was with
someone from AA,
and I had heard
that they saw, like,
a guy wearing a ski mask
walk through the yard,
but they didn't call
the police.
- I heard that
you and my mom witnessed
a man wearing a ski mask
walk through our yard
on 44 Middle Beach?
- Right.
It was the day
before she was murdered.
- The day before
she was killed?
- Yes.
- That's terrifying.
- We were having a luncheon.
Out of my left field vision,
I saw a gentlemen
in a black ski mask
walk from the left
of the windows in the front
going towards East Wharf Road.
- Down the driveway or--
- Yes.
- And he was look--
he looked into the house?
- Right.
- Oh, my God.
- You know, Madison,
I gotta tell you,
you know,
when that fight happened
between Jill and Barb,
it really tore us apart.
- Did Aunt Jill and my mom
- They never made up
prior to that.
- Did you have anything to do
with the murder?
- I have to ask everyone.
- That's okay.
That was--it would've been
impossible anyway,
but no.
Because we were starting
a road trip on the third
with your grandmother.
And we decided we were
gonna get up really early
to avoid hitting any traffic,
and by 4:00,
we were in the car
and heading down there.
4:00 in the morning.
So we got to your grandmother
by 10:00 in the morning.
- Did the police
interrogate you?
- The police interrogated me
as soon as possible.
"And where were you?"
"Well, I was in a car.
You can check my Speedpass
if you want," you know?
But yeah, I think I was
their first major suspect
because of this
Gifting Table thing
and there's--being this
little rift between us
at that moment in time.
But it was very obvious
that I couldn't possibly
be there.
- Okay.
I'm gonna take a break.
- All right.
I can't believe you're asking
all these questions.
Oh, Maddy.
Quite the quest here, baby.
Don't know how you do it.
- Maddy!
- Barbara Hamburg--
- Was found dead on her lawn--
- Dead at the scene.
- Hi.
- No.
Why would I be up there?
- I didn't understand.
Give me a hug.
- Yeah.
When everything happened,
I was, like,
afraid of losing her.
I would practice
visualizing her face.
And I'd call her cell phone
just so I could hear
her voice.
- Snowflakes!
Look at those big blue eyes.
- Just desperate attempts
of not losing someone.
- What a beautiful boy.
What a beautiful boy.
- Anyone I could turn to as,
like, someone to lean on
or someone
to, like, help me through,
the person I'm turning to
could've orchestrated
or done this.
Could've ruined my life.
Sometimes, you just feel
kind of alone.
- Bye-bye.
I got a kiss.
- It was about 8:30
in the morning.
I was still in my pajamas
and bathrobe.
- It was in May,
and I was sleeping in bed.
My husband was on
a business trip.
- My nephew
looks out the window
and he sees
all these federal agents
coming to the house
with their flak jackets.
And they went,
"Is Jill Platt in the house?"
- He was banging at the door,
and I see all these men
out there
in uniforms or something.
I thought, "Oh, my God,
there must be a fire
or something."
And I went downstairs
and I opened the door
and I said, "May I help you?"
He said, "Are you Donna Bello?"
and I said, "Yes."
And then a group of men
came in
with guns and--
and bulletproof vests on
and they put handcuffs on me.
I was in shock.
- I said, "Don't you have any
real crime to fight?"
"This is a real cri"--
I mean, I could just see
I, like, stabbed him
in his eyeball
when I said that.
"This is a real crime."
- So I thought,
"This is so messed up."
You know?
"This is crazy.
"Like, what is going on?
This is
a women's gifting group."
- Bunch of women
having dinner parties,
giving each other money.
I can think of worse things.
- Do you think
if my mom was alive,
she would've been taken
to trial?
- If your mother
was alive today,
I don't know that any of us
would've been taken to trial.
The thing is,
when your mother was murdered,
they confiscated her computer,
and when they confiscated
her computer,
they saw this business
about the Tables.
So then they turned
all of this information over
to the IRS.
- Do you believe that
the murder was a catalyst
for the investigation?
- Yeah.
- Had you heard about
my mother's murder
before starting
the investigation?
- So--no.
Back in around March 2010,
there was a detailed article
published by
the "New Haven Register"
about the women's
gifting tables
that were operating on
the shoreline of Connecticut,
and that article
referenced this murder.
- Do you think
if my mother was alive,
she would've been
a part of the investigation?
- I can't say.
- She broke the law, I think--
I think,
by being a part
of these gifting tables
and possibly victimized women,
maybe even unknowingly.
If the women thought
what they were doing was right,
does that change
what they were doing?
- Well, the evidence
ultimately dictated,
you know, charges being filed
based on their statements,
their e-mails,
you know, everything
that we'd gathered
in the investigation.
- Two Guilford women convicted
of running
a Gifting Table pyramid scheme
were sentenced today.
Jill Platt will spend
4 1/2 years in prison.
Donna Bello will spend
six years behind bars.
- I couldn't figure out
how many years that was,
because I couldn't even
get to that point
where I was thinking years.
I just
And then I'm blank.
Then I went blank.
And I lost a lot of memory
after that.
- In tears, Bello and Platt
both apologized
in court today.
The two were found guilty
in February of wire fraud,
filing false tax returns,
and conspiring
to defraud the IRS.
- Well, I've lost my family,
my own family,
because I'm such a shame
to them.
That's because
they're ignorant.
They're all ignorant.
- What's up?
- Hey, man.
- Hi, Kim.
- Hi.
How are you?
- How's it going?
How's it going?
- Good. How's it going for you?
- Good.
- Yeah?
What? What? What?
- Oh.
- How have you been?
- Well, I got married.
That was, what, two years ago?
Mom's out of jail.
Mom went to jail,
and now she's out of jail.
Right now, everything's good.
Everybody's healthy.
- Banksy, my spoiled cat.
- You got out in November?
- I came back in November.
- Okay.
- I got out last May.
May 15th.
- So it's been over a year?
- Just.
- Wow.
- It's just a big adjustment,
you know?
My husband died
two months before the trial.
The last year of his life,
he was not well
and not taking his medication
for his heart.
- Whoo!
- I do believe
that your uncle died
because he was
so stressed out.
- Hello, beautiful.
- How are you?
- We were married 43 years.
So now, all of a sudden,
I am on my own,
have to figure it out,
but you know what?
I no longer--
I no longer worry about it.
It's like, que será, será.
What will be will be.
What do you think, Banks?
What do you think?
- What's really impactful here
are the human stories
of greed,
loss, remorse,
and destruction
of personal lives
and friendships
and relationships.
- So
I'm trying to wrestle
with the idea
of whether or not my mother
was a criminal, I guess.
I don't know
that she knowingly
she knew that the Tables had
the outcome
that they would have,
but, you know,
she made money off of--
- I wish I could help you
- Sure.
- Answer that question.
You know, I would also say,
just on a very personal level,
to you,
there are
gradations of culpability
when people break the law,
so it's complicated.
Life is complicated.
I learned as a prosecutor,
both as a U.S. attorney
and as state attorney general,
condemnation is easy,
but breaking the law involves
different degrees
of moral responsibility.
- Lucy, Lucy.
Hey, everybody.
- Hey, how's it going, Don?
Nice to meet you.
- Finally.
Yeah, it's good
to meet you finally, yes.
Yeah, what time was the call
to 911?
- Between 11:30 and 12:00,
maybe even 12:30.
- A rough estimate right now
would be,
we're looking at about
a two-hour window.
We don't know
if they were there waiting
or she was expecting someone
to come over.
- So here's the house.
- Mm-hmm.
- It's covered with trees.
There's a long driveway
with a neighbor here
and a neighbor here.
There's a golf course
right here.
- So this is the drive
right here, right?
- The--yeah, this second one.
- 34, here?
- You can't see it at all
from the street.
- No.
- I don't even--
- You had to know
that the house was there.
- Yeah.
- That would be
a high-risk point of entry.
- Oh, there--
that's the house right there?
- Yeah.
- Okay.
- It is wide open
from this angle.
- It is.
The focus should be, you know,
was there a third dimension
to this?
Was there something else
going on
in your mom's life
that nobody knows
or she kept a secret?
Was there something
that we're missing?
- Who was that?
- Yeah.
What is this document?
- It's an excerpt of testimony
to the grand jury.
- So this is something
that's sealed
that we couldn't get before?
- Yeah.
I have no idea
how Conway has this.
Because all testimonies
in the grand jury
are supposed to be sealed.
- "There were some
intimidating measures
"taken in the past few months.
"Members of the gifting tables
have come to the meetings
"and presented themselves
in intimidating ways.
"Conway Beach has come
to meetings several times
"and shared in a meeting
that there shouldn't be
"gossip, criticism,
and judgment,
"and discussion about things
that people don't know
anything about."
"Within the last week
and a half,
was Ms. Beach near
your residence?"
"Yes, sir."
"Explain to the members
of the Grand Jury
what happened there."
"As you sit here today,
are you afraid
of Conway Beach?"
"Yes, sir."
"Why is that?"
- As you're doing
this documentary,
I worry about you the most,
because you're finding out
so many things
that I tried
to protect you from.
And I just worry.
I hope you can process
all of this
And still love me.
As I will always love you.
- Watch out for the--
- Happy Thanksgiving.
Hazards are behind you.
- Some people can get
to a point,
I don't care who it is,
where they can snap.
- Did you snap?
- I snapped.
- Flowers?
You gonna get the flowers?
Get the flowers.
Pretty flowers.
Pretty flowers.
I'm so sorry.
Why are you sorry?
I haven't been back
here in six years.
How has it effected our family?
I definitely do feel
like there's a rift
because of the murder.
When your world is ripped apart
it can do things to you.
If the person is
still alive who did this to mom,
would you wanna say anything?
No. Do you wanna say anything
to them?
I'm coming for you.
Previous EpisodeNext Episode