"I want the court to know I was not raised with bad values," says the convicted con man
Raffaello Follieri – who pleaded guilty in September to 14 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy – was sentenced in Manhattan federal court Thursday to 4½ years in prison.
At the request of his attorney, Flora Edwards, the Italian-born Follieri, 30, is likely to be imprisoned either at Fort Dix, N.J., or in Otisville, N.Y. The bureau of prisons will decide the level of security under which he’ll be placed.
His next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12.
While there is to be no fine, Follieri was slapped with a $1,400 special assessment to be paid to the United States. In addition, he will also receive three years of supervised release.
Through an interpreter, Follieri delivered a statement, in which he said, “The most important thing I want the court to know is I was not raised with bad values. I started off with good intentions, determined to run an honorable business and make everyone proud of me.”
But, he admitted, “What I did was wrong and there is no point in making excuses. I will never be able to wash away the shame. I just hope that someday those who have been hurt by my actions will forgive me.”
He started with good intentions, said his attorney, but then he “sunk and sunk into a quagmire of his own making.”
Follieri, who conceivably could have faced up to 265 years in prison, had agreed not to appeal a sentence less than 63 months in prison.
Follieri was arrested in June and, in papers filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, accused of lying to investors by claiming to be the CFO of the Vatican and using swindled funds for a trip to the Dominican Republic over New Year’s 2005-06 with his “then girlfriend” (Anne Hathaway) and another couple.
According to the complaint, Follieri also used the funds for his $37,000-a month-apartment rent, medical bills for himself and his “then girlfriend,” as well as for orthodontist bills for his father.
Follieri and Hathaway, 25, dated for four years but split in June just before his arrest. Earlier this month, as she hosted Saturday Night Live, Hathaway poked fun at the incidents, saying, “I broke up with my boyfriend, and two weeks later he was sent to prison for fraud. I mean, we’ve all been there, right, ladies?”
• Reporting by RYAN PIENCIAK
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