Criminal Justice

Lawyer ordered to repay $5.8M in alleged scheme to defraud; relatives were among the victims

A Long Island lawyer convicted of a scheme to defraud was sentenced to 15 months to four years in prison on Tuesday and ordered to repay $5.8 million to victims that included his relatives.

Lawyer Robert Cassandro, 47, was convicted of a first-degree scheme to defraud in May but acquitted of a more serious charge of grand larceny, the New York Times reports. The sentence imposed by Judge Gregory Carro was the maximum.

Prosecutors had alleged Cassandro obtained at least $11 million from relatives and friends to build 30 homes, even though he had already used the properties to obtain loans from other sources and had more money than needed for the construction, the Times says. Prosecutors also alleged Cassandro persuaded his wife’s parents and others to give him $4.6 million that he deposited into escrow accounts and used for a lavish lifestyle, according to the story.

Cassandro had maintained the project was a business deal gone bad when the real-estate market collapsed, and the escrow money was properly handled.

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