Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rocco Lazazzaro Sentenced to More Than Four Years in Prison for #Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

A man who conspired with a former controller to embezzle millions from the company that owned or developed the Residences at MGM, Town Square shopping center, Turnberry Place, Turnberry Towers, and the Stirling Club in Las Vegas was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $3.7 million in restitution, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Rocco Lazazzaro, 55, of Las Vegas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro. Lazazzaro pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to his guilty plea agreement, from about May 17, 2007 to about January 12, 2012, Lazazzaro and Hope Ippoliti, 51, the former controller for Turnberry Associates, conspired to steal more than $3.7 million from Turnberry and its affiliates.

“Through this embezzlement scheme, Mr. Lazazzaro and Ms. Ippoliti victimized not only Turnberry Associates in the amount of $5.6 million but caused irreparable harm and financial damage to the many victims and business entities employed and supported by Turnberry Associates,” said United States Attorney Bogden. “It is truly sad that the greed and self-indulgent criminal conduct of Mr. Lazazzaro continues to result in harm to so many other innocent victims.”

Ippoliti created fund transfer requests containing false information that the funds were intended for business-related purposes when she and Lazazzaro actually intended to withdraw the funds for personal use. Ippoliti faxed or e-mailed the fund transfer requests from Nevada to Turnberry Associates in Florida to cause the transfer of funds into Bank of America accounts over which she had signatory authority. Ippoliti and Lazazzaro deposited and cashed checks and cashier’s checks drawn on Bank of America bank accounts belonging to Turnberry Associates and its affiliates.

The total losses to Turnberry Associates and its affiliates are a total of $5.6 million. According to Lazazzaro’s guilty plea agreement, he was directly involved in causing approximately $3.7 million of those losses. The sentencing memorandum filed by the government states that Lazazzaro used the stolen monies for gambling and drug use.

Lazarro has four prior felony convictions and numerous misdemeanor convictions, many of which involved violence or threats of violence against others through the use or threatened use of fire, knives, or blunt objects. In 1986, while on probation for a 1980 felony grand theft conviction, he was convicted of committing five robberies in addition to vicious assaults and was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. He was discharged from parole one year before committing the Turnberry embezzlement crimes.

Ippoliti pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit wire fraud resulting in total losses of $5.6 million and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 19, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro.

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