PORTLAND – A former mayor of a town in Connecticut was found guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court of running an international wire fraud investment scheme.
Peter DiRosa Jr., who was mayor of Manchester, Conn., from 1987 to 1989, convinced a retired man from Kennebunk who is now in his 80s to invest $600,000 in 2008 for a real estate venture in Hungary called Castle at Polgardi, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
DiRosa, 65, and an associate, Thomas Renison, told the man the money would be used solely as collateral for a loan to buy the land in Hungary.
Renison, 58, of Glastonbury, Conn., was initially charged as a co-defendant, but the federal charge against him was dismissed in September 2011, and he testified in DiRosa's trial under an immunity order, according to the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff.
DiRosa is scheduled for sentencing before Judge George Singal on May 9.
He faces as much as 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and full restitution.
The victim was wired $60,000 in June 2009 for interest accrued on the $600,000 investment, but received nothing else, according to court records.
Investigators discovered that $225,000 of the money was wired in late 2008 from a bank in Austria to a Connecticut bank account in the name of DiRosa's wife, who was not charged.
DiRosa split the wired money with Renison, but told him it came from investors in Connecticut, court records say.
DiRosa's attorney, William Maselli, said he and his client were disappointed with the verdict after the three-day jury trial and that they will appeal.
"We feel there was quite a bit of reasonable doubt in the case," Maselli said. "I think both sides agreed Mr. DiRosa had good intentions."
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