A Long Island has been arrested and charged with stealing more than $100,000 given to him $50 at a time by thousands of victims who thought they were buying a raffle ticket to win the man’s million-dollar waterfront home, prosecutors said today.
Cicerone, 32, of North Babylon, was arrested this morning by DA Investigators and charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree and 21 misdemeanor counts of Petit Larceny.
Rice said that in 2004, Cicerone and a business partner purchased a home on Lincoln Place in Massapequa for $566,500. They decided to make extensive renovations and ultimately refinanced the house, taking out a loan of $1 million with the intent of reselling the property after completing the renovations.
But by 2008, amid the housing crisis, the pair was unable to find a buyer, and they defaulted on the loan.
That's when Cicerone resorted to the raffle scheme, selling tickets at $50 a pop --even going on tv to tout the contest -- to people who thought they were bidding on the mansion, authorities said.
Some 2,000 tickets were puchased, officials said.
“That Mr. Cicerone actually went on television to solicit victims for his scam makes this case all the more distasteful, Rice said.