BULLETIN: Church Bishop/Attorney Martin T. Sigillito Found Guilty In $52 Million Ponzi Scheme; ‘One Of The Largest Fraud Schemes In Missouri History’

BULLETIN: Martin T. Sigillito, the ordained priest, American Anglican Bishop and attorney, has been found guilty of all 20 counts brought against him in a $52 million Ponzi and fraud caper.

A federal jury in St. Louis that deliberated for about six hours found Sigillito guilty of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money-laundering, the office of Acting U.S. Attorney David M. Ketchmark said.

Sigillito, 63, of Webster Groves, Mo., was taken into custody immediately after the verdict was returned today and potentially faces decades in prison. Prosecutors described him as the chief conspirator within the so-called British Lending Program (BLP) investment opportunity.

In reality, BLP was a real-estate scheme that had been corrupt for years and duped investors into believing they were making loans for legitimate deals, prosecutors said.

“This massive Ponzi scheme collapsed under its own weight, as such schemes inevitably do, but not before conspirators stole tens of millions of dollars from their unwitting victims in one of the largest fraud schemes in Missouri history,” said Ketchmark.

One investor plowed $15 million into the scheme, prosecutors said.

Coming off a divorce and bankruptcy, Sigillito became temporarily rich through the BLP Ponzi. Prosecutors said he plucked about $6.1 million and began a life of luxury, rubbing elbows at The Racquet Club in St. Louis and at the Boone Valley Golf Club, flying first class, acquiring expensive things and developing expensive tastes.

The enterprise effectively served as a “fee-generating machine” for Sigillito and co-conspirators James Scott Brown, 67, of Leawood, Kan., and Derek J. Smith, 68, of Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom, prosecutors said.

Like Sigillito, Brown was an attorney. Both Brown and Smith pleaded guilty and became witnesses for the government.

 

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