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Press Release

Connecticut Man Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Prison for Corporate Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant convicted of defrauding New England Sports Network of over $500,000

BOSTON – A Connecticut man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for fraudulently obtaining over $500,000 from his former employer, New England Sports Network (NESN). 

Ariel Legassa, 52, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Legassa was also ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture of $580,000 and a $1,000 special assessment. In November 2023, Legassa was convicted of seven counts of mail fraud and three counts of unlawful monetary transactions following a five-day jury trial. 

“This was brazen fraud driven by the defendant’s greed. Mr. Legassa violated the faith NESN placed in him as a senior executive to game circumvent the company’s internal controls and line his own pocket. This type of criminal conduct is not just about the stolen money. The abuse of trust inherent in these types of sophisticated white collar schemes leaves a trail of victims,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy.

“Supplementing your paycheck by scamming your employer is a really bad career move. But Ariel Legassa did exactly that, taking advantage of the trust NESN placed in him to steal over $575,000 which he used to fund a lavish lifestyle,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “Justice demands that financial fraudsters like Legassa be held accountable for their crimes and today’s sentence ensures that he will pay for what he did with prison time and restitution.” 

From approximately December 2020 to January 2022, Legassa orchestrated a scheme to defraud NESN. In early 2021, Legassa negotiated a contract with a New York company to provide web development services for NESN. At the same time, Legassa created a fake business under the same name as the new vendor. He then used this company to receive fraudulent payments from NESN.  

During the life of the contract between the New York company and NESN, in addition to approving legitimate invoices from the New York company, Legassa created and approved 11 fake invoices from his fake business. In total, NESN paid Legassa’s fake company over $500,000. Legassa spent the funds on personal expenses, including a private plane, a Tesla, a BMW, a Land Rover and credit card bills. He also transferred the funds into other accounts under his control.

Acting U.S. Attorney Levy and FBI SAC Cohen made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin A. Saltzman and Mackenzie A. Queenin of the Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit and Carol E. Head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated February 27, 2024

Financial Fraud