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Boston, Massachusetts - A federal jury in Boston has found Ariel Legassa, 51, of Burlington, Connecticut, guilty of conducting a fraudulent scheme against his former employer, New England Sports Network (NESN), resulting in the illegal acquisition of over $500,000. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani has set the sentencing for December 20, 2023. The conviction came after Legassa's indictment and arrest in February 2022.
- The fraudulent activity took place from December 2020 to January 2022, involving a scheme where Legassa set up a sham company.
- In 2021, he negotiated a contract for web development services between NESN and a legitimate New York company, simultaneously creating a counterfeit business with a matching name.
- Legassa approved legitimate invoices from the real company and also funneled funds to his fraudulent company through eleven fake invoices, totaling $575,500.
- The ill-gotten funds were used for personal luxuries such as a private plane, high-end vehicles including a Tesla, a BMW, a Land Rover, and to pay off credit card debts.
- He further transferred the fraudulently obtained money into other accounts he controlled.
- Legassa has been convicted on seven counts of mail fraud and three counts of unlawful monetary transactions.
- The mail fraud charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or double the gross gain or loss, whichever is higher.
- The charge of unlawful monetary transactions can lead to up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of the same amount as the mail fraud charge.