Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Seamless panties heiress thought she was saving husband from the mob–until he ran off with his girlfriend

Manhattan underwear heiress Candice Feinberg Lalicata, now 39, married a tanning salon worker in 2011. Now she’s alleging that husband Steven Lalicata, 30, bilked her out of over $700,000 that he told her he needed in order to pay off his gambling debts with the mob—but that he actually used to buy a series of over-the-top gifts and vacations for his New Jersey mistress, Diana Fernandez, 30.

Feinberg met Lalicata in 2010 at the Beach Bum Tanning Salon on the Upper West Side. She was divorced and raising a 5-year-old son—and she had just cashed in her trust fund from her father, financial and garment industry executive Herbert Feinberg, who had been instrumental in the invention of seamless panties. Lalicata proposed after just a few months of dating. But even after the wedding, he continued to disappear for nights at a time.

When Lalicata started hinting that he was in trouble with organized crime and needed help, his loving wife obligingly wired tens of thousands of dollars each time he requested it. His friend, Brian Martinez, backed up his sob story, texting Feinberg that he was “getting disturbing messages from some people” about Lalicata’s luck running out; a cousin also contributed to the masquerade.

When Lalicata asked for another $150,000 to give to Howard Beach mobsters, Feinberg, running low on cash, agreed to mortgage her home upstate in Sullivan County, but warned him that they would have to give up her East 65th Street pad and move up there. He agreed and even promised that they would start a family.  After stuffing $150,000 from a Manhattan TD bank into a duffel bag and staging a hand-off to give a “mob associate” the cash, Lalicata accompanied Feinberg upstate.

And then he disappeared.

Feinberg later figured out that her husband had run off to the Dominican Republic with Fernandez. She hired a private detective, who told her that Lalicata had not in fact been involved in debt to the mafia, but rather had been using his wife’s money to buy jewelry and other luxury goods from Armani, Cartier and Louis Vuitton for Fernandez, as well as splurging for trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere with his girlfriend.

Feinberg’s attempt to get his confession on tape in 2012 failed when he derailed the idea by seducing her. Shortly after that, Fernandez filed a harassment case against her; Feinberg was criminally charged, but the case was dismissed.

Now Feinberg is going through the Manhattan Superior Court for her missing $744,105, plus another $10 million in damages from Lalicata, Fernandez and friends who helped them carry out their ruse. She’s also seeking an annulment.

Through her lawyer, Fernandez has denied any involvement in the case. Lalicata has reportedly moved back to Queens and is living with his mother in her Astoria apartment.

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