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Kontogiannis Nephew Gets Year Term in $92 Million Fraud

A nephew of Thomas Kontogiannis, a New York developer who pleaded guilty to laundering bribes for former U.S. Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham, was sentenced to a year in prison for his involvement in his uncle’s $92 million real estate scheme.

John Michael, who cooperated with the government in the case, was sentenced today in Brooklyn, New York, by U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto, according to Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn. Michael participated in his uncle’s scheme to defraud lenders including Washington Mutual Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG’s DLJ Mortgage Capital by faking home sales, prosecutors alleged.

“Information provided by Michael was crucial in helping the government focus its investigation on certain targets in the early stages,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Jones said in a memorandum to the court.

As a “family insider,” Michael provided information to the government about Kontogiannis’s criminal activity, business empire and the roles different individuals played in his organization, Jones said.

Kontogiannis is serving a sentence of eight years and one month stemming from previous case in California charging he helped Cunningham launder bribe money and buy a $2.4 million mansion by using fraudulent mortgages. Michael also faced charges in that case and received a sentence of five years of probation, according to court filings.

In October, Kontogiannis was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court to 12 years and 10 months in the mortgage-fraud case. A lawyer for Michael, Raymond Granger, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

The case is U.S. v. Kontogiannis, 09-cr-360, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

To contact the reporter on this story: Christie Smythe in New York at csmythe1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fred Strasser at fstrasser@bloomberg.net

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