by Virginia McCullough © 2007

This writer has received many emails requesting the latest information on two individuals that I have written about extensively in the past.  Two intriguing men, each unique in his own right, have captured the imagination of countless readers around the world.  On the surface the two individuals are as different as night and day.

Michael Riconosciuto is a fifty-nine year old, self-acknowledged informant who has been instrumental in revealing details of methamphetamine operations in the California counties of Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Riverside, Alameda and Sonoma.  Riconosciuto names as participants in these operations such people as Richard Knozzi, Jim DeSilva, Ben Kalka and others.  Several of the people this man has informed on served long jail sentences.

Riconosciuto keeps one foot firmly in the drug culture and the other foot securely planted in the world of covert operations.  Those who wrapped themselves in the secrecy of black ops were also named by Riconosciuto.  He exposed the activities of Robert Booth Nichols, Al C. Holbert, "Dr." Earl Brian and others.

When lawyers, judges, reporters and law makers questioned Riconosciuto's credibility he would rely on the support of old friends with law enforcement backgrounds such as former FBI agent Ted Gunderson and former New York City Police Detective James Rothstein.

"Magic Mike" as Riconosciuto calls himself became known as "a high tech genius", "a prophet who could predict world-wide terrorism" and/or an "inventor of weapons of mass destruction".  (Click. Michael Riconosciuto -- Prophet, Patriot, Player, or Phony?)

In 1992 a national scandal involving the United States government's alleged theft of the proprietary software program called Promis belonging to a company called Inslaw was constantly in the headlines.  Congressional hearings were ultimately held to get to the bottom of the issue.  The man of mystery named Riconosciuto projected himself into the center of the debate.  In a sworn declaration he stated that he back doored the Promis software as part of a covert operation so that the United States could spy on its friends and enemies alike.

Shortly thereafter Riconosciuto was convicted of drug violations in Washington state that resulted in a jail sentence that will keep him in prison until June 3, 2017, unless some type of deal is struck for an earlier release.   On March 30, 2005 Michael Riconosciuto wrote a letter to Judge Eddie Keller at the Superior Court of California in Placerville, El Dorado County.  Amazingly this drug informer, intelligence operative, disinformation specialist, was now inserting himself in the middle of what should have been a case of domestic violence.  A former prosecutor and defense attorney Richard Hamlin was being tried for torture in the beating of his wife Susan Hamlin.  Riconosciuto wanted to appear at both the Hamlin trial and the upcoming murder trial of the man he considered his arch enemy, Philip Arthur Thompson.  (Click. Michael Riconosciuto Explains Why HIs Testimony is Essential in the Cases or Richard Hamlin and Phillip Arthur Thompson.) Judge Keller declined Riconosciuto's and Hamlin's request to have "Magic Mike" transferred to El Dorado County to appear as a witness for the defense.  A second letter sent to the court by Michael Riconosciuto was returned unopened by Judge Keller.

So now, two unique men, different as night and day, are united through a wife beating case in rural El Dorado County, California.  Insuring the pair would become a cohesive whole was former FBI agent and friend of Michael Riconosciuto, Ted Gunderson.  Richard Hamlin's defense was that a vicious Satanic cult, headed up by Susan Hamlin's father Dr. Sid Siemer, was not only responsible for the beating of his wife but this cult had put out a contract on Hamlin's life when he sought to save his beloved wife from the incest and abuse heaped upon her by the cult members.

A friend of Richard Hamlin's located private investigator Ted Gunderson on the internet and defendant Hamlin hired him as private investigator for the defense.  Ted Gunderson, in turn, contacted his business partner and associate Michael Riconosciuto.  Riconosciuto wrote a detailed letter filling in the holes about Dr. Sid Siemer and others he claimed were involved in evil doings.

However, the effort failed and, after a lengthy trial, Richard Hamlin was found guilty by an El Dorado County jury on January 10, 2006 and sentenced to life in prison by Judge Eddie Keller on September 29, 2006.  Shortly before Thanksgiving Richard Hamlin entered the California State Prison System.  He was sent to Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, California where he remained until he was transferred to Calipatria State Prison in June 2007.

As Hamlin was moved from new home to new home, Michael Riconosciuto remained in a Federal Correctional Institute in White Deer, Pennsylvania.  Then, as the trial of Philip Arthur Thompson in the 36-year-old murder of Betty Cloer drew closer, Michael Riconosciuto found himself transferred back to the west coast for the first time in fourteen years.  In April 2007 "Magic Mike" found himself back at Terminal Island in San Pedro, California.

This writer has written several articles about both fascinating gentlemen.  Both men possess superior intelligence.  Both have strong beliefs in their own version of the world. Both must be excellent chess players to have survived this long in such hostile environments.  The two men also leave people who interact with them feeling as though they are walking on quicksand.  For example if a reporter is too inquisitive and asks too probing a question or challenges either Michael Riconosciuto or Richard Hamlin regarding any essential element of their defense, the investigator becomes the enemy and is walled off from any further communication.  So it is with this reporter. 

For at least the past four years Michael Riconosciuto used a woman who identified herself as a cousin by marriage as his third party spokeswoman.  She is a resident of Vancouver, Canada and her name is Anita Langely.  Michael Riconosciuto would use Anita Langely to deliver messages to this reporter and to others.

This woman assumed the role of intermediary between the imprisoned genius and those whose help he sought and whose opinions he sought to influence.  Extensive paperwork documents Langely's efforts as do numerous phone calls supported by long distance phone bills.

Michael Riconosciuto terminated all communication with this writer after Anita Langley wrote a two-page letter with twenty attachments dated March 20, 2006.  The letter was addressed to Trish Kelliher, the El Dorado County prosecutor in the murder case of victim Betty Cloer.  Philip Arthur Thompson is the defendant in this murder case.  The letter followed up a phone conversation between Anita Langley and Deputy District Attorney Kelliher.  The purpose of the letter was to establish communication between DDA Trish Kelliher and Michael Riconosciuto who wanted to testify for the prosecution.  When Anita Langley emailed this reporter a copy of that letter on April 17, 2006, I wrote to Riconosciuto pointing out that the wording of the letter tended to implicate him in the open homicide of a woman named Valerie MacDonald.  Surprised and concerned, I wrote to Riconosciuto asking if he had dictated the wording of the letter to Anita Langley or if she had composed this letter without his input.  Michael Riconosciuto ceased all communication with this reporter at that point and this writer ceased all correspondence with Anita Langley.

Following Richard Hamlin's transfer to the state prison in Calipatria, Hamlin sent this reporter both lease and business agreement papers showing that his former father-in-law Dr. Sid Siemer had a business relationship with a woman accused of murdering her husband in Fresno, California in July of 2003.  (Click. Recent Larissa Schuster news.)   Hamlin suggested that Dr. Siemer and Larissa Schuster had a more extensive relationship than that supported by the documentation he supplied.  This reporter absolutely disagreed to support his interpretation of the relationship and Hamlin then ceased to communicate.  The writer has not heard from Richard Hamlin since late July 2007.

Both men are in precarious positions.  When current news stories touch on issues these two prisoners brought to the public's attention, they often enter my thoughts.  I hope they are both safe and I wish them well.  To the many readers who email me asking about these two, I urge you to write them at the two addresses listed below.  Tell them hello for me and give them my best wishes.

Richard Hamlin #49561
Calipatria State Prison Post Office Box 5007
Calipatria, California  92233

Michael Riconosciuto #21309-086
FCI Terminal Island Post Office Box 3007
San Pedro, California 90731

by Virginia McCullough © 10/3/07