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Former Turnberry controller pleads guilty to stealing $5.4M

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Updated: 3/25/2013 12:06 pm
LAS VEGAS – A woman who was employed as a controller for Turnberry Associates, the company which owned or developed the Residences at MGM, Town Square shopping center, Turnberry Place, Turnberry Towers Condominiums and the Stirling Club in Las Vegas, pleaded guilty today to stealing approximately $5.4 million from the company over a five-year period, announced Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. attorney for the District of Nevada.

Hope Ippoliti, 51, of Las Vegas pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11.

The co-defendant charged in the case, Rocco Lazazzaro, 55, of Las Vegas is scheduled for trial on April 23. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 24 counts of wire fraud, and one count of attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence.

According to the plea agreement, from about May 17, 2007, to about Jan. 12, 2012, Ippoliti and Lazzaro conspired to steal approximately $5.4 million from Turnberry Associates and its affiliates. Ippoliti created fund transfer requests containing false, fraudulent and material misrepresentations that the funds were intended for business-related purposes when she knew that she and Lazazzaro intended to withdraw the funds for personal use.

Ippoliti then 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 cashiers checks drawn on Bank of America bank accounts belonging to Turnberry Associates and its affiliates. Ippoliti and Lazazzaro knew that they were not entitled to the funds, and that the funds were derived from wire fraud, resulting in losses to Turnberry Associates entities in the amount of approximately $5.4 million.

Ippoliti faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She has also agreed to pay full restitution to Turnberry Associates.

The case is being jointly investigated by the United States Secret Service and the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina M. Brown.

-- From news release
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