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Trio Sentenced For Ponzi Scheme Hatched In Prison

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John Cody. John Cody
John Cody is a veteran reporter for Newsradio 780.
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Three con men who met behind bars were headed back to prison for a $3.5 million Ponzi scheme involving comic books, movies and collectibles.

Federal prosecutors said 62-year-old Daniel Parrilli, 48-year-old John Lauer, and 57-year-old Christopher Anderson met at the minimum security prison in Oxford, Wis.

Assistant US Attorney Ed Kohler said, after leaving prison, they set up Sundown Entertainment Incorporated to distribute comic book rights and films and raised $7 million from 150 investors.

Kohler said, at some point, there were actual comic books and movies produced, but the trio was unable to pay back the investors the sky-high rates promised, and kept raising more money to pay off early investors until the scheme collapsed.

“There were comic books, there were movies, there were collectibles, but the revenues weren’t sufficient to pay the promised returns on the promissory note,” Kohler said. “They were promising as much as 150 percent return in a very short period of time. They didn’t have the revenues to justify that. There was no way that they could pay those types of returns without essentially operating a Ponzi scheme.”

All three pleaded guilty to fraud charges brought against them in 2010.

Parrilli, of Carol Stream, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for the scheme last week.

Lauer, of Chicago, was sentenced earlier to 31 years in prison, and Anderson, of Downers Grove, was sentenced to 95 months.

Parrilli was ordered to pay more than $3.65 million in restitution, and to begin serving his sentence on Aug. 1. Lauer was ordered to pay $457,367 in restitution, and to surrender on June 12. Anderson, who has started his sentence, was ordered to pay restitution totaling more than $3.7 million.

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