Man awaiting sentencing in fraud is targeted again

Federal court documents say he used same scheme he pleaded guilty to in '01

May 03, 2002|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

For a time, Carl A. Glorioso appeared to be leading the heady life of an A-list entertainment promoter. Investors gave him hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote concerts for the likes of the Backstreet Boys, Amy Grant and Jimmy Buffett. He promised big profits and doled out perks like front-row tickets.

But, as Glorioso later would admit, he had no ties to the superstar performers and no role in their events. Rather than helping organize major concerts in 2000, the Frederick County man was juggling a precarious shell game, court records show, where he tried to avoid detection by paying back his first unwitting investor, Baltimore magazine publisher Stephen A. Geppi, with money from others.

When he pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges last spring, Glorioso promised to make amends. Instead, federal authorities say in court papers that he ran the same scheme again - collecting at least $347,000 from individuals who believed they were investing in music video productions, and then using that money to repay other victims.

Glorioso has not answered the government's latest allegations. Defense attorney Douglas K. Thornton of Frederick has said his client would respond in court, where he is due this morning for sentencing and where federal prosecutors are expected to argue that Glorioso's track record calls for jail time.

"Mr. Glorioso is a menace to the investing public," Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara S. Sale said in court papers. "Any postponement of his sentencing (and commitment) would be a license for him to continue to rob Peter to pay Paul."

Glorioso, 31, could receive up to five years in prison for his guilty plea in June to one count of wire fraud. Thornton is expected to argue that the government has overstated the amount of money investors lost in Glorioso's scheme. In court papers, Thornton also has said that Glorioso "recently entered into several new legitimate business transactions which will permit him to make additional payments to all of the victims."

In a letter last month to Chief U.S. District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin, one of the duped investors said he was hopeful that Glorioso could make restitution and worried that payments made several years from now - after a prison term - would be of little use.

"I wish to state that I have complete confidence in Mr. Glorioso's ability to make full restitution given sufficient time to do so," said Walter Y. Goodwich, who was one of the original investors and who has declined to comment further. "I believe that he is working diligently so that the necessary payments will be forthcoming in the near future."

But authorities say many of the victims who lost money are not aware of the extent of the scheme.

Bank records show that Glorioso partially repaid Goodwich with money collected from the more recent scheme alleged by prosecutors, who say he took in at least $347,000 from seven new investors after his guilty plea last year.

Glorioso told the new investors that he had a contract with MTV to produce and direct music videos, according to court papers. But an MTV representative who examined a faxed copy of the contract "pronounced it to be a `cut-and-paste job,'" and said the music video channel produces all of its clips in-house, prosecutors said.

No new charges have been filed. But the latest scheme alleged by prosecutors appears to be a repeat of the one Glorioso admitted to last year.

Court records describe Glorioso as a modestly successful entertainment promoter who saw a chance in 1999 to expand his business through an introduction to Geppi, the wealthy, self-made Baltimore comic book mogul who is the owner and publisher of Baltimore magazine and a part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Geppi, who did not respond to a request for comment on Glorioso's case, was a friend of Glorioso's family and agreed to invest $590,000 to help Glorioso underwrite a Backstreet Boys concert in the Washington area, court records show.

Glorioso never had ties to the group, but federal authorities say he put up a good front. He paid top dollar to a private distributor to get premium, front-row seats for another Backstreet Boys event, "which had the effect of lulling Mr. Geppi into believing that he was in fact an important promoter of their concerts," the government said.

To repay Geppi, investigators charged, Glorioso created new events to lure new investors. A group of investors called Backers Inc. eventually gave Glorioso $880,000 to promote a Christmas concert for the popular Christian singer Amy Grant. Other investors gave more than $1 million to help underwrite a Jimmy Buffett concert and other film and entertainment activities Glorioso claimed to be promoting, court records show.

Prosecutors say in court papers that "none of the monies were applied as promised."

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