Federal judge Linda Reade
has set aside three whole days -- today, Thursday and Friday -- for the sentencing of Martin Sigillito
, a Clayton lawyer and American-Anglican bishop convicted by a jury last April for masterminding a $52 million fraud that fleeced the wealthy and working class alike.
It was the biggest Ponzi scheme in St. Louis history, the feds have said.
A three-day sentencing is "rare," said one former assistant U.S. attorney who declined to be named, adding that it "may reflect significant disagreement over the loss amount."
What's more, a little birdie told Daily RFT
yesterday that federal prosecutors are going to ask for a life sentence for the 63-year-old Sigillito.
We also hear that about a half-dozen victims will walk up to the podium and read impact statements.
We couldn't confirm whether Mary O'Sullivan
will do so. She's a secretary at the elite St. Louis Racquet Club
in the Central West End, where Sigillito was a member and solicited several victims. She has one of the worst stories.
As we reported when we broke
this story in August 2010, O'Sullivan:
lost both her brother and his wife to cancer in two years' time. Combining their life-insurance payouts with other family funds, she entrusted $900,000 to Sigillito. The hope was that it would grow and help her raise her two young orphaned nephews, who had come under her care.
She lost all of it when Sigillito's "British Lending Program" collapsed.
This is all part of the criminal case, by the way. A separate civil case is proceeding apace, according to Ohio-based attorney Sebastian Rucci
. He says he's representing 105 out of roughly 140 total victims in a lawsuit aimed at Sigillito, his former associate J. Scott Brown
) and other parties, including local businessman Paul Vogel
and Enterprise Bank.
"Other banks and professionals made money off Sigillito's scheme," Rucci says, "and but for them, he couldn't have pulled it off."
Sigillito's sentencing begins today in courtroom 3N at the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse downtown.
See our Bishop Sigillito archives here