Real Estate Fraudster Gets 85 Years

MANHATTAN (CN) – A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced the executive vice president of Cobalt Real Estate Services to 85 years in prison for defrauding hundreds of people of $23 million. A jury convicted Irving Stitsky, 55, of Milan, N.Y., and two co-defendants, after a 3-week trial.

     Stitsky also was managing partner of Cobalt Capital Funding. He took the $23 million from more than 250 victims, allegedly for private placement real estate offerings, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood said in sentencing him. Judge Wood also ordered him to forfeit $23.2 million and pay $22.1 million in restitution.
     Also convicted were Mark Alan Shapiro, 50, of Avon, Conn.; and William B. Foster, 70, of East Hampton, Mass. Shapiro will be sentenced on July 29, Foster on July 26.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara summed it up in a statement announcing the sentencing: “Irving Stitsky is a recidivist fraudster who stole millions of dollars from hundreds of investors through trickery and deceit. He preyed on vulnerable victims, including widows and retirees, by falsely promising guaranteed returns on their investments in Cobalt’s South Beach, Florida-based real estate scam.”
Bharara added that Judge Wood found Stitsky to be “just as the government describes, an inveterate con man.”

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