Member Of The Scripps Media Family Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison For Stealing Millions From Family
Financial Advisor Also Sentenced to Prison for His Role in the Scheme
PHILADELPHIA – A member of the Scripps Media family was sentenced today to 108 months in prison for embezzling $3.6 million from members of his family to fund his lavish lifestyle, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Michael Scripps, 36, of Detroit, was convicted by a jury on April 12, 2013, following a one and a half week trial before U.S. District Judge Legrome D. Davis. Scripps was convicted of all seven counts of wire fraud charged in the indictment on which he was tried. Also sentenced today was Richard Gleeson, 37, formerly a Merrill Lynch financial advisor in Media, Pa., who previously pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud for his participation in the scheme and testified at the Scripps trial. Judge Davis sentenced Gleeson to a year and a day in prison.
The case was prosecuted in Philadelphia by Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey as the former office was recused from the case. Judge Davis imposed the sentence today in Philadelphia federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
From November 2001 through October 2006, Michael Scripps persuaded his uncle and mother to transfer millions of dollars in trust funds to the Merrill Lynch Trust Co. and brokerage firm. With the assistance of Gleeson, Scripps used fraudulent authorizations to transfer his uncle’s and mother’s money to his own account at Merrill Lynch, resulting in $2.9 million in losses. Scripps also fraudulently transferred $727,500 from the refinancing of the victims’ Michigan home to another bank account belonging to Scripps.
The jury heard testimony that Scripps used some of the ill-gotten gains to lead a playboy lifestyle, including by purchasing expensive jewelry. He bought Tiffany earrings, a diamond ring and a Cartier necklace. He also used some of the stolen money to purchase a car for his girlfriend, four properties in New Orleans and for luxury travel across the U.S.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Davis sentenced Scripps to serve three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $3,634,019 in restitution. Judge Davis also sentenced Gleeson to serve three years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Philadelphia FBI, Newtown Square Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko, with the investigation leading to today’s sentence.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terri Marinari and L.C. Wright of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Defense counsel: Mark Durant Esq., Philadelphia; Paul W. Broschay Esq. and Michael R. Dezsi Esq., Detroit