Financial Crime: Sick house: Florida man gets 8 ½ years for using Covid relief to buy lavish 12-acre estate, fleet of luxury cars

by | Jan 12, 2023 | Stock Market

He’s going from one big house to another. A failed lawyer and movie executive from Florida has been sentenced to 8 ½ years in prison for stealing $7.2 million in Covid-19 relief funds that he used to buy luxury cars and a 12,500-square-foot mansion on a 12-acre estate.

Don Cisternino, 47, of Chuluota, Fla., pleaded guilty in September in federal court in Orlando to wire fraud and identity theft charges for the scam in which he submitted applications for pandemic aid programs. Cisternino claimed he had a film and theater production and marketing business that had 441 employees, when in reality it had none.  Using stolen social security numbers, prosecutors say Cisternino made phony claims that his company, MagnifiCo Inc., had a monthly payroll of over $2.8 million. The U.S. government approved him in 2020 for an emergency loan of $7.2 million, prosecutors said. Cisternino then used the pandemic aid money to purchase the $3.5 million home. He lived in the seven-bedroom mansion complete with a full movie theater, five-stable horse barn, tennis court, swimming pool and an English-style pub, with his girlfriend. Prior to receiving the loan, court records showed that Cisternino had been living …

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