MANHATTAN (CN) – A New Jersey man who stole nearly $1 million through a “work at home” scam was sentenced Monday to 8 years in prison. Philip Pestrichello ran his latest scam while on supervised release after serving 3 years in prison for his previous one.
Pestrichello, 38, of Bayville, N.J., was arrested in February and pleaded guilty to mail fraud in July.
Pestrichello called him “program” a “mortgage accelerator” – whatever that may be presumed to mean – but simply took the money, federal prosecutors said.
“Pestrichello repeatedly preyed on those who were already among the poorest and most vulnerable in our society – unemployed, homebound, and financially desperate individuals, including stay-at-home mothers, the elderly, and the disabled,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “He heartlessly scammed these victims out of what little money they had, and gave them false hope of earning a living wage. The sentence imposed on this financial predator truly fits the crime.”
Pestrichello charged his victims $45 to $90 up front, and claimed they would earn $1 for each postcard they addressed at home and returned to him. Then he said they had to send him more money to get more postcards. And he “sent threatening letters to victims who publicly complained that [his business] was a scam,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
In 2003, Pestrichello was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for a similar scam, and he had been enjoined from running such scams since he was caught the first time, in 1992, prosecutors said.