SAN DIEGO (CN) - Twin brothers were sentenced to 36 months and 33 months in federal prison for defrauding sports fans of hundreds of thousands of dollars, dumping them in cities without the tickets, hotel rooms and return trips they had paid for.
Tony and Leo Casias must return to court Feb. 8 to learn how much restitution they must pay, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
As an example of the cold-blooded scam, the U.S. attorney said, one football fan paid the Casias brothers up front to take his son from San Diego to the Bay Area, to watch the Chargers play the Raiders. The Casias' company, "L&T Sports. provided a one-way flight but nothing else. Stranded in the Bay Area on New Year's Eve 2011 with no hotel room, no game tickets, and no flight home, the two disappointed fans ended up driving back down to San Diego in a rental car and watching the game on TV," prosecutors said in the statement.
But wait, it gets worse: "The Casias brothers even arranged trips to the annual NFL game in London, England, offering special extensions to Paris and Rome. Some clients were stranded overseas with no hotel rooms, game tickets, or flight home. What is worse, according to sentencing documents, the Casias brothers used those clients' credit cards to rack up other charges while those clients were overseas in Europe."
They disappointed kids, too, prosecutors said: "Defendants collected over $275,000 in advance payment from schools, students, and parents, but used the funds to pay for prior business and personal debts instead of paying for the trips. One parent chaperone from that memorable trip informed the sentencing court in a letter that she accompanied 193 junior-high aged children on a trip to Washington D.C. The students held multiple fundraisers and had to complete projects, research, and presentations before they could go on the trip. She called it 'craven' that Leo and Tony Casias accompanied the group to the airport to see them off, knowing that the students would soon be stranded on the east coast thousands of miles from home, with no hotel rooms, local transportation, or return flights home. She recalls that the students ended up staying on cots in military barracks."
At sentencing, U.S. District Judge John Houston said the twins apparently swindled even their "mother's rosary group."
Anthony got three years and Leo got 33 months.