March 13, 2010

'Career con man' sentenced to 4 yearsLOCAL & STATE

TREVOR MAXWELL

— By

click image to enlarge

Jonathan Carroll Rosenbloom, D.O.B. 11/14/1958, from Cumberland County Sheriff's Office jail mug.

Staff Writer

Richard Hunt trusted Jonathan Rosenbloom with every penny of his savings.

Hunt thought the $109,000 was going toward a solid real estate investment. He planned to use some of the return to pay for his daughter's wedding and his son's college education.

Instead, Rosenbloom used Hunt's money and $100,000 from other victims to support his lifestyle of fine wines, restaurant tabs and cashmere suits.

The con game caught up to Rosenbloom on Tuesday when the 50-year-old was sentenced to four years in prison.

''There was a significant breach of trust,'' Justice Thomas Warren said before handing down the sentence at Cumberland County Superior Court.

Rosenbloom pleaded guilty in July to felony theft and securities fraud. He had used a variety of schemes to con six Mainers out of $205,000. In one of the schemes, the chef and wine expert lured investors into phony Italian real estate deals. In another, he posed as a successful day trader and used the personal information of his marks to obtain credit cards.

Warren said Rosenbloom's prior conviction for similar misconduct in New York, the devastating impact on his victims, plus his likelihood of re-offending demanded a harsh sentence.

''I could see that he might easily fall back into'' a pattern of criminal conduct, Warren said, given Rosenbloom's ''ability to charm and manipulate.''

The sentence is tougher than others handed down recently in theft cases. John D. Duncan, a former partner with Verrill Dana, was sentenced in September to 28 months for stealing roughly $300,000 from his clients and his firm. In May, former bookkeeper Rebecca McGilp got two years for stealing $538,000 from a natural foods store.

Warren ordered Rosenbloom to repay the $156,000 that he still owes, although his lawyer said Rosenbloom has no assets.

Calling his behavior ''reprehensible,'' Rosenbloom apologized on Tuesday.

''I do recognize and deeply regret the consequences that my poor choices have had for others,'' he said. ''I hope to someday be worthy of forgiveness.''

Rosenbloom's family is well known in the sports world. His uncle, Carroll Rosenbloom, was an owner of two professional football teams -- the Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams.

In the early 1990s, Jonathan Rosenbloom worked as a chef at the Troutbeck resort in Amenia, N.Y. He got the owners of the resort and other acquaintances there to invest $200,000 in a dessert company. Rosenbloom took the cash and moved to Italy. He was indicted in 1996 in New York, but was already out of the country. In 2001, Rosenbloom was arrested when he went to Florida to visit his mother. He was sentenced to the three months he had served in the county jail, plus restitution.

Rosenbloom moved to Maine around 2004 and lived in several towns, including Falmouth and South Portland. In late 2005 and early 2006, he wrote a column about wine -- called Cellar Dweller -- for Mainetoday.com, a division of Blethen Maine Newspapers, publisher of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

Michael Colleran, the assistant attorney general who prosecuted Rosenbloom, described him as ''a career con man.''

Patrick Badcock traveled with Rosenbloom to Italy to scout out real estate deals.

''Jonathan is an exceptional liar,'' Badcock told Judge Warren. ''Even when I realized I was being conned, I found it difficult to believe that everything he told me was a lie.''

Heather Shields, a real estate broker and single mother from Camden, said Rosenbloom befriended her and convinced her to invest in an E-Trade Financial account. She lost $20,000 -- all of her savings.

''Trusting Jonathan Rosenbloom was the biggest mistake of my life,'' Shields said. She now has no financial security for her 8-year-old daughter.

''Not only did Mr. Rosenbloom rob me of my savings,'' she said, ''he robbed me of my ability to trust.''

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

tmaxwell@pressherald.com

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