Back in the glory days of the Marked for Death and Out for Justice era, Steven Seagal's best pal and financial backer was Julius Nasso—a Bensonhurst tough guy with ties to the Gambino crime family. The two were so close that Seagal bought the mansion next door to Nasso's on Staten Island; Nasso served as associate- and executive- director on many of Seagal's films; and the two went so far as to frequently dress alike.
"What can I say... it was like fatal attraction without sex," Nasso once told a Vanity Fair reporter.
You would think that as Seagal's best friend, Nasso would've known that Seagal was the reincarnation of a 17th century Buddha named "Tulka"—but he was as oblivious to this fact as Seagal was. In 1997, Seagal's spiritual advisor delivered the good news about the actor's transcontinental, millennia-spanning spiritual heritage. He also advised the then-svelte actor that it would be bad karma to continue making violent movies, and warned him that he was endangering his chances of getting reincarnated as a higher being if he went ahead with the four-picture deal that Seagal had signed with Nasso.
Being not only a reincarnated Buddha, but also a savvy businessman, Seagal called his old friend and told him that their business relationship was now "under siege!"
Imagine how crushed you'd be if your best friend called up to say that, since he's a reincarnated Buddha, he's decided against fulfilling your four-picture contract. You can probably sympathize, then, with Nasso's decision to turn to his friends in the Gambino crime family.
Sometime during February of 2001, Seagal was minding his own business, when Julius Nasso and his brother threw him into a car. He was driven to an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, where members of John Gotti's crew were waiting to have a little sit-down with His Holiness. The mobsters allegedly told Seagal that he would, in fact, be paying Nasso for his breach of contract, while generally intimidating the actor, using the classic "Look at me when I'm talking to you" line. Through an unrelated investigation, the FBI has eavesdropping tapes of the mobsters later discussing their brush with fame, where the (obviously lying) gangsters laughed about Seagal's less-than-heroic reaction to their extortion.
As always, though, Seagal got the last laugh—Julius Nasso served nine months in prison for his role in shaking $700,000 out of his former best friend. It's a good thing that in Seagal's world, $700,000 is only, like, four dollars to you and me.