Former Turnberry Controller Sentenced To 37 Months In Prison For $6 Million Embezzlement
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The former controller for the company that owned or developed the Residences at MGM, Town Square shopping center, Turnberry Place, Turnberry Towers, and the Stirling Club in Las Vegas, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $5.6 million in restitution, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Hope Ippoliti, 52, of Las Vegas, who pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro. Ippoliti was permitted to self-report to federal prison by Jan. 14, 2014.
“This was a significant amount of money that was embezzled over an almost five-year period,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Ms. Ippoliti victimized not only Turnberry Associates in the amount of $5.6 million, but caused irreparable harm and financial damage to the many victims and business entities employed and supported by Turnberry Associates.”
Ippoliti worked as the Western Regional Controller for Turnberry West Realty, a subsidiary of Turnberry Associates, LLC. In that capacity, Ippoliti had signatory authority and access to certain Turnberry bank accounts. From about May 17, 2007, to about Jan. 12, 2012, Ippoliti and a co-defendant, Rocco Lazazzaro, conspired to steal from Turnberry Associates and its affiliates. Ippoliti created fund transfer requests containing false information that the funds were intended for business-related purposes when she and Lazazzaro actually intended to withdraw the funds for personal use. Ippoliti faxed or emailed the fund transfer requests from Nevada to Turnberry Associates in Florida to cause the transfer of funds into Bank of America accounts over which she had signatory authority. Ippoliti and Lazazzaro deposited and cashed checks and cashier’s checks drawn on Bank of America bank accounts belonging to Turnberry Associates and its affiliates. The total losses to Turnberry Associates and its affiliates were $5.6 million.
Lazazzaro, who had a lengthy criminal history, was sentenced on Aug. 22 to 51 months in prison.
The case was jointly investigated by the FBI and the United States Secret Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina M. Brown.
Today's announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys' offices and state and local partners, it's the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.