Alfio Paulo Puglisi, 42, formerly of Melbourne, Florida, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, followed by 3 years supervised release, and restitution in the amount of $1,453,609.73. Puglisi pled guilty to the charge on August 31, 2010.
According to court documents, in May 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigation determined that 13 properties in Brevard County, Florida, were sold as part of a seller assistance program scam. Puglisi targeted properties for sale and convinced sellers to sign contracts that reflected an inflated sales price. The sellers agreed to kickback the excess sales proceeds at closing, usually in the form of a “fee” paid into an account Puglisi controlled.
Puglisi also located buyers with good credit and promised them a return on their investment for buying the properties in their names. Puglisi directed others to assist him in creating applications that contained false information and receiving wire transfers in interstate commerce from financial institutions. In total, Puglisi and others fraudulently obtained approximately $6,010,900. When Puglisi learned of the investigation, he fled to Italy. In May 2010, Puglisi traveled to Mexico, where he was denied entry and forced to enter the United States, where he was arrested. All the properties involved in the scam have liens placed on them, are in foreclosure proceedings, or have been the subject of a “short sale.”
U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announced the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge John Antoon II.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vincent A. Citro.