Fla. man must repay $12M in credit card scam
Vail, CO Colorado
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. ” A man accused of orchestrating a scheme to sell bogus credit cards was sentenced to 13 years in prison and must repay the nearly $12 million he scammed from tens of thousands of customers.
Peter Porcelli II, 55, of Oldsmar, Fla., pleaded guilty in May to all 19 conspiracy and fraud counts related to the telemarketing scheme. U.S. District Judge William Stiehl also ordered Monday that he spend five years on supervised release after his prison term.
Prosecutors alleged Porcelli offered consumers a MasterCard credit card for a fee ranging from $160 to $500. Those charged the fee were sent offers that usually were already available for free to the public, along with an “acceptance form” for what amounted to a prepaid card, which cost consumers an extra $15.
Authorities say Porcelli defrauded or tried to dupe at least 165,000 Americans, many with poor credit histories.
The U.S. government alleged that Porcelli carried out the scam through several Florida-based companies beginning in June 2001, using call centers in several states and outside the U.S.
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Porcelli has been free on $1 million unsecured bond since shortly after his federal indictment in March. A message left Tuesday with Porcelli’s attorney, Ronald Cacciatore of Tampa, Fla., was not immediately returned.
The scam ended when the Federal Trade Commission sued Porcelli and others in August 2002. A federal judge later barred Porcelli and other defendants from telemarketing and selling credit-related products, and ordered them to pay more than $12 million in restitution.
Porcelli, who filed for bankruptcy in 2003, has insisted in a previous court affidavit that he did nothing wrong.