Elderly Ponzi Schemer Gets Eight Years

     (CN) – An 80-year-old businessman was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for his role in a $3.8 million real estate Ponzi scheme.
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     U.S. District Judge David Russell sentenced Joseph Angelo Sivigliano, of Oklahoma City, on Friday and ordered more than $2.21 million in restitution. In April, a jury convicted Sivigliano of 46 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.
     Sivigliano sold real estate “investment opportunities” in Helping Hearts and Hands Inc., based in Bethany, Okla. Prosecutors said he took $3.8 million from 67 investors, using new money to pay off earlier investors, and himself, his associates and his businesses, including Celebrity Limo and Valet Corp., MC Productions Inc., and Lansbrook Worship & Event Center, which is owned and operated by his daughter and grandson.
     In an April statement, prosecutors said that “Sivigliano held HHH out to investors as a legitimate 501(c)(3) charitable organization engaged in real estate investments to benefit philanthropic ventures such as its Christian childcare facility ‘Teaching Little Hearts and Hands.’
     “However, Sivigliano was not a registered investment advisor or broker-dealer in the state of Oklahoma and HHH was not registered as a licensed securities firm or otherwise authorized to sell securities in the state of Oklahoma.”
     Prosecutors said investors lost $1.7 million in the scheme.
     Sivigliano’s co-conspirators, Dwight Pimson, 57, of Shreveport, La., and Venus Marie Pimson, 43, of Yukon, Okla., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in November 2001 and agreed to testify against Sivigliano.
     In July, Dwight Pimson was sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $2.27 million in restitution. Venus Pimson was sentenced to 30 months and ordered to pay more than $2.77 million.

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