The feds are comin' after Bishop Marty
We get asked about this almost weekly since publishing the feature, White Collar Crime
, last summer, so here goes:
Federal authorities have NOT yet indicted Anglican American Bishop Marty Sigillito
, who stands accused by dozens of folks for running a multi-million-dollar ponzi scheme.
But the FBI
has indeed seized tons of his fancy stuff (country home in Marthasville, Persian rugs, rare books, etc.) And to justify that seizure -- which Sigillito's lawyers have called a "frightening" abuse of power
-- the FBI filed a declaration
last month that pretty darn well resembles an indictment.
This is the first time the feds have laid out what they think the Bishop has wrought, and it looks worse than RFT
Highlights of the allegations:
- Sigillito acted in league with a Kansas-based attorney, J. Scott Brown.
- Out of the $50 million they collected from investors, only "a fraction" ever went to where they said it was going, specifically a U.K.-based real-estate speculator named Derek Smith.
The real juicy stuff involves the Bishop's personal journey. The guy reported an average annual income of only $27,700 for the 14 years before getting involved. But while the scheme was underway, he reported an average annual income of $415,300.
"His lifestyle improved dramatically," the filing says, including:
- A one-week trip in 2005 with his wife to Acapulco, Mexico that cost $65,000.
- A family trip to Greece in 2008 that cost $50,000.
- Rare book and map/print purchases exceeding $425,000
- Liquor expenditures of $37,000
- In January 2007 alone, Sigillito purchased about $21,000 worth of wine and liquor in a two-week period.
"Sigillito's activities were complex and numerous actions were interrelated," writes Special Agent Kevin Cosentino
of the FBI. "The investigation...is continuing. When the scheme was discovered in May, 2010, victims were owed over $65,000."
Meanwhile, the civil trial has been delayed until the autumn, upon the Bishop's request: short of money, he's been doing legal work for a lot of clients lately.