‘America’s Greatest Bank Burglar’ Reveals
Details Behind Notorious ’72 Nixon Heist
Amil Dinsio Tells How He Stole Nixon’s ‘Dirty’ Millions –
and of the Laws Broken in the FBI’s Zeal to Convict Him
In a daring bank burglary -- one of the most elaborate heists in U.S. history -- a team of brothers and friends broke into the United California Bank in Laguna Niguel, Calif., in April 1972. They penetrated the building’s thick steel-reinforced walls, circumvented multiple alarms, and dropped down into the state-of-the-art vault, where they emptied hundreds of safe deposit boxes over the course of three nights.
Some of those boxes held $12 million of then-President Nixon’s money – cash, the burglary mastermind was told, that had been hidden away because it came from bribes and other underhanded dealings.
Amil Dinsio, described by the FBI as “America’s greatest bank burglar,” and the historic heist have been the subject of numerous documentaries and books. All of them, he says, got a lot of it wrong.
So Dinsio has written his own book, which begins with his and his brother James’ first bank crime – a robbery as opposed to burglary – when Amil was just 16. “Inside the Vault” (www.amildinsio.com), focuses on the Laguna Niguel heist, including how they did it, why, and what they found in those safe deposit boxes. It also offers a glimpse into the philosophy of an Ohio family man with a strict code of ethics and a genius for outwitting “impenetrable” banks.
“I am what I am and there’s no denying it,” Dinsio says. “However, my crew and I weren’t the only law-breakers. The government wasn’t smart enough to catch me honestly. They had to lie, steal, and plant evidence to convict me.
“Anyone who’s been framed by law enforcement knows exactly what I’m talking about. But most people don’t have a clue about the laws that are broken in the name of ‘justice.’ It’s time American taxpayers found out what they’re paying for.”
Dinsio says FBI agents and the US attorneys general committed theft, perjury and falsified evidence in their efforts to lock him away for seven years.
He offers these details of his notorious heist:
• Some of the sources of Nixon’s United California Bank stash: The men who tipped off Dinsio to the president’s safe deposit boxes told him the money came from underhanded dealings, Dinsio says. It included money from the dairy farmers’ lobby in exchange for a promise to increase the price of raw milk, he says. At least $3 million came from then-Teamsters Union head Jimmy Hoffa – money paid to have his prison sentence commuted by Nixon in 1971. Hoffa helped lead Dinsio to the vault in order to get some or all of his money back, Dinsio says.
• Interesting trivia from the heist: Nixon’s safe deposit boxes weren’t the only ones broken into. In addition to $12 million of the president’s money, the burglars got additional cash, gold coins, jewelry and bonds. Within a stack of bonds, they found an envelope with a note apparently written by the box owner. “The note said that if someone was reading this, he must be dead, and so he confesses to murdering his wife’s brother and begs for forgiveness,” Dinsio says. By the time they discovered the note, the bank heist had made headlines nationwide. The burglars guessed that whoever wrote the note would be panicking, and they joked about blackmailing him. “But we’d never stoop that low.” They flushed the note down the toilet.
• The many reasons why the FBI’s evidence doesn’t fit. They claimed to have found fingerprints on a flashlight battery, but Dinsio insists the burglars left no fingerprints. Instead, he’s convinced agents stole a battery from one of his home garages. A second piece of fabrication includes three coins, supposedly found in the getaway car, which was thoroughly cleaned out from top to bottom. He says agents could have easily planted them since the FBI had a large pile of valuables from the safety deposits in the bank vault. “But that’s just he tip of the iceberg,” he says.
About Amil Dinsio
Amil Dinsio, mastermind behind the greatest bank burglary in U.S. history, had committed scores of bank burglaries before stealing $12 million from President Richard Nixon in 1972. Because the law was unable to catch him, he says officials committed criminal acts such as perjury, falsification and burglary in order to secure a criminal conviction. “Inside the Vault” is his first book and the first insider revelation of the details behind one of the greatest heists in U.S. history.