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Scam artist who defrauded elderly man sent to prison

LOCKPORT – Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon ran out of patience Wednesday with a Niagara Falls man’s failure to pay restitution to a Lewiston man he defrauded of at least $400,000.

David L. Marsh, 55, of 10th Street, was sentenced to one to three years in state prison for violating the terms of his probation on his guilty plea to fourth-degree grand larceny. When Marsh pleaded guilty three years ago, he said the $400,000 amount was “way less” than the amount he actually stole from his victim over a six-year period. Marsh originally had been accused of taking $600,000 and losing it at the Seneca Niagara Casino. The lesser figure was agreed to by the victim, now 76, as a means of speeding up the process without holding a detailed hearing to try to account for every penny.

Marsh, who will still owe the $400,000 when he is released from prison, hasn’t made a restitution payment since March 2015, Assistant District Attorney Heather A. Sloma said. At a previous court appearance, Sheldon told Marsh to come up with $100,000 by April 15. He didn’t.

Marsh, owner of a roofing company, had his fiancée forge legal-looking documents to convince the victim that he needed money, and also to convince him it would be quickly repaid because the woman’s children were to receive $17 million in a lead-poisoning lawsuit. The woman, Tennille Pelfrey, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, had won $75,000, not $17 million, court records showed.