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FINANCIAL SCAM NETS PRISON TERM

Francis Paul Muccigrosso II, a self-styled investment adviser from Lancaster, was sentenced Tuesday to four to eight years in state prison for defrauding 11 clients and CharterOne Bank out of almost $228,000.

Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio also ordered him to pay $60,000 in restitution within 10 years of leaving prison.

Free on bail since his guilty plea to fraud charges last May 10, Muccigrosso, 46, was taken in handcuffs from the courtroom, crowded with family members and his victims -- largely elderly persons -- and their friends.

During sentencing, Muccigrosso said he considered his own family "the biggest victims" in his criminal case.

The judge noted that no one in Muccigrosso's family lost any money while many of his victims were former parishioners at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament church in Depew, where he once headed the parish council. She told him she would have been more lenient had this been his first financial crime.

The judge pointed out that she had spared him a prison term on his plea seven years ago to similar investment frauds of about $30,000.

John C. Doscher, chief of the district attorney's White Collar Crime Bureau, said the $60,000 Muccigrosso was ordered to repay "is the most we expect him to eventually be able to come up with."

Doscher said Muccigrosso illegally cashed two checks, including one that was forged, at aCharterOne Bank branch last year.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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