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Man who tried to kill brother-in-law spared more prison time in bank fraud

By all accounts, Timothy C. DePetris had it all and, because of drugs, drinking and gambling, threw it all away.

Already in prison for trying to kill his brother-in-law, DePetris was sentenced again Thursday, this time for defrauding M&T Bank of about $177,500.

DePetris, 46, was given an additional 27 months in prison, but U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny decided the federal sentence should run concurrent with his 25-year state prison sentence.

“Enough time is enough time,” Skretny told DePetris.

DePetris pleaded guilty to attempted murder in connection with his March 2013 assault on his brother-in-law, Sandro Viola. Police say DePetris fired three shots from a handgun and that one of the bullets struck Viola in the right collarbone.

Four days later, DePetris’ was arrested and, according to prosecutors, he used phones in the Niagara County Jail to try to hire a hit man to kill Viola and the accomplice who was with DePetris at the time of the shooting. The man he hired was an undercover federal agent.

The fraud conviction is based on allegations that date back even further than the attempted murder. At the time, DePetris was owner of the now-defunct Electro-Dyne Choke Corp. in Niagara Falls and was experiencing financial problems.

Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse said DePetris defrauded M&T by cashing paychecks made out to himself and another person even though he knew the company didn’t have enough money in its account.

As a result, M&T lost $177,500.

“Everyday, I live with regret and shame,” DePetris told Skretny.

In seeking leniency for DePetris, Assistant Federal Public Defender Fonda Dawn Kubiak detailed his drug and alcohol use and gambling at local casinos, and suggested that he is a different man today.

“He has hurt the people closest to him,” Kubiak said. “He lives with that everyday. And it bothers him to his core.”

DePetris’ bank fraud conviction is the result of an FBI investigation.