Former Connecticut attorney gets 45 months for defrauding investor of $1.3 million, prosecutors say
Register Citizen, The (Torrington, CT)
Sep. 17—HARTFORD — A former Wethersfield attorney was sentenced to 45 months in prison Thursday for helping defraud a would-be investor of $1.3 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Connecticut.
Mark Pagani, 61, of Bolton, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of tax evasion, officials said.
Pagani, in concert with another, now-deceased individual, conspired to steal the funds from the would-be investor, who believed they were acquiring mortgages on properties, including locations in Middletown and Springfield, Mass., officials said.
Pagani "drafted documents to memorialize certain investment deals, accepted funds from the victim and held the funds in accounts he controlled, and he transferred funds to entities controlled by (the deceased individual) and others," officials said.
Defense attorney Andrew Bowman, representing Pagani, argued for a sentence of less than 30 to 37 months, contesting the level of responsibility his client bore for the failure of the investments.
Bowman also argued that Pagani should receive a lesser sentence due to his efforts to take care of his elderly in-laws, as well as his close relationship with his children and wife, who submitted testimony on his behalf.
"Mark has provided the strength to their family and extended family, which has always come first to him in sharing a positive attitude throughout this stressful period in their lives," Bowman said. "He is the guiding light for their children and for her who look to him for strength and guidance. He spreads kindness and love to everyone who knows him."
U.S. Attorney Leonard Boyle, along with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Laraia and Michael S. McGarry, argued for a sentence of 60 months.
"While it is undisputed that Pagani was not the primary beneficiary of the fraud, Pagani should be held responsible for his conduct and the resulting loss to his elderly victim," prosecutors said. "To be clear, for each of the purported investments ... whether Pagani believed at the outset that a legitimate deal would occur (which should be met with skepticism), (the) victim lost his money."
Pagani had previously been convicted of other federal offenses on two other occasions, the prosecutors noted.
"While (the other individual) is no longer living, Pagani's penchant for involvement in dishonest dealings creates a risk that he would again be willing to offer his services without scrutinizing the transactions he participates in. He should not be emboldened by another lenient sentence," prosecutors said.
Pagani also "paid for personal and other expenses using his law firm account and underreported his income on his federal tax returns, resulting in a tax loss of $181,702" to the Internal Revenue Service, officials said.
Pagani was ordered to report to prison on Jan. 13, 2023, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Connecticut.