SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 29, 2012

Man gets three years in swindle

SALEM — A former North Shore ambulance company owner, already serving four to five years in state prison for swindling a disabled Lynn man out of at least $50,000, will spend another three years after that in federal prison, a federal judge ordered yesterday.

Antonio Zappa, 50, formerly of Gloucester, received the three-year sentence yesterday during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., after pleading guilty earlier this year to his role in an investment fraud scheme.

Another man, James Massaro, 70, of Boxford, was sentenced last week to seven years and three months in federal prison as the mastermind of the scheme, which involved using forged letters and emails purporting to be from banks in Europe, offering lines of credit.

At least 20 investors gave Massaro almost $7 million to invest in the complex scheme.

Zappa acted as a translator, writing the letters and maintaining an Internet domain name that appeared to belong to an Italian bank, but which was bogus, prosecutors said.

Zappa’s lawyers had urged the court to impose a sentence that he could serve at the same time he serves his sentence in Massachusetts for stealing the Lynn man’s identity, but United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee opted to run the sentences one after another, meaning that Zappa will have to complete the Massachusetts term before he begins serving his federal sentence.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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