Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Involving Embezzlement from Turnberry Associates
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 20, 2013|
LAS VEGAS—A man has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud for his role in the embezzlement of nearly $5.6 million from Turnberry Associates, the parent company that owned or developed the Residences at MGM, Town Square shopping center, Turnberry Place, Turnberry Towers, and the Stirling Club in Las Vegas, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Rocco Lazazzaro, 55, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 22, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro.
According to Lazazzaro’s written guilty plea agreement, from about May 17, 2007, to about January 12, 2012, he and Hope Ippoliti, 51, the former controller for Turnberry Associates, conspired to steal approximately $3.7 million dollars from Turnberry and its affiliates. 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 is approximately $5.6 million. According to Lazazzaro’s guilty plea agreement, he was directly involved in causing approximately $3.7 million of those losses.
In March, Ippoliti pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud resulting in total losses of $5.6 million dollars and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, 2013 before U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro.
Both Lazazzaro and Ippoliti face a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, criminal forfeiture, five years of supervised release, and are required to make full restitution to Turnberry Associates.
The case was jointly investigated by the FBI and United States Secret Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina M. Brown.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.