Real Estate Scammer Claimed|He Had An In With The Pope, Feds Say

     MANHATTAN (CN) – An Italian man defrauded investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars by claiming he had connections with the pope and the Vatican that enabled him to buy Catholic Church properties in the United States at a great discount, federal prosecutors say in a 12-count indictment.

     Raffaello Follieri, 29, of Foggia, was arrested Tuesday on wire fraud and money laundering charges. Prosecutors say he spent his victims’ money on an opulent lifestyle, including a Manhattan apartment he leased for $37,000 a month, medical expenses for his girlfriend, a “house call” from a doctor that cost $30,000, and charter flights to “various locations around the world.” He wired his victims’ money to a bank in Monaco to hide it, the indictment states. Follieri was arrested Tuesday, apparently in Manhattan.

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