$91M trust fraud gets two 14 years


CHICAGO (AP) – Two executives were sentenced Friday to 14 years each in prison for fraud in a $91 million trust failure that wiped out the retirement money of more than 20,000 investors.

“It’s an appropriate sentence in light of the massiveness of the disaster,” U.S. District Judge James B. Moran said in imposing the sentence, which included forfeiture of $58 million in assets.

Defense lawyers for Jack Hargrove, 64, and Lawrence Capriotti, 62, had argued 14 years was so long at their age that it might as well be a life sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Kent said the sentence had to be stiff, noting that the two men threw lavish parties with money they looted from two companies and that Hargrove bought two yachts.

Prosecutors say the two men took money from two companies they controlled – Intercounty Title Co. of Illinois and Independent Trust Co. of Illinois, known as Intrust – to make up for other business losses and to pay for their lavish lifestyles.

Stolen money was also used to pay credit card debts, put friends and relatives on company payrolls and even develop a suburban golf course, prosecutors said. The fraud went on for 12 years as the men shifted money from one account to another.

Capriotti pleaded guilty and Hargrove was convicted by a jury last September.

Moran ordered them to start serving their sentences Aug. 29.

Jurors were deadlocked on a third defendant, Michel D. Thyfault, 59. A retrial is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Two other defendants who cooperated with federal prosecutors are to be sentenced later.