Hot-Handed Oldie Gets Jail:
Eighty-one-year-old former Bayonne, New Jersey financial advisor Louis Cortellessa couldn't keep his gambling habits from corrupting his business — or depleting his clients' accounts. A state superior court in Morristown, N.J., sentenced Cortellessa to three years in state prison for stealing $627,350 from six clients and using the money to gamble in Atlantic City. Cortellessa told a judge he has no assets with which to pay the six victims back, but when asked by the judge how he planned to pay off his gambling debts he replied that he already had. “I'm just annoyed he's going to get free housing and medical care. We're all paying for him, and he'll be out in nine months,” said one victim, Edward Tomaszewski, who lost $46,000 intended for his daughter's college education to Cortellessa. Meanwhile, Tomaszewski's 81-year-old mother lost $100,000 to Cortellessa's gambling habits. According to some victims, Cortellessa kept his investors' curiosity at bay concerning the whereabouts and status of their funds by cloaking his replies in mystery: “You don't want to know,” is what the son of another elderly victim says Cortellessa told his mother, implying a criminal element was involved that was best steered clear of.
$32 Million Affinity Scam
Two Southern California men, 58-year-old Robert Jennings and 53-year-old Henry Jones, were found guilty in Los Angeles Federal court in July of money laundering and fraud. The two men, along with Arthur Simburg of Portland, Oregon — who previously pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing — ultimately cost investors $32 million. Jennings, a pastor, faces up to 180 years in prison while Jones could get 250 years. Prosecutors say the men convinced more than 500 people to invest in a bogus coal-mining venture with a “divinely inspired” bonus: a piece of the profits from a transaction of 20,000 tons of gold between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Solicitation of investor money was done with nightly call-in telephone conferences in which investors were promised 200- to 300- percent returns on their investments within 60 days. Many of the calls included group prayer, and investors were assured that the gold transaction was “divinely inspired” and that God's will ensured that it would come to fruition. Jones, a record company executive in Marina Del Ray, used $21 million to fund his record company as well as purchase a house, a condominium, a Ferrari Spider and a Porsche Cayenne. Simburg and Jennings also used investor funds to support themselves. Amen.