James C. Cilenti, a 47-year-old Leesburg accountant, was sentenced to 64 months in prison for his part in a fraud scheme to obtain $500,000 in life insurance proceeds.
Cilenti and lawyer Christopher Agresto, 36, pleaded guilty on Nov. 4 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, a charge with a 20-year maximum prison term. Cilenti also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two-year sentence.
He will follow up his sentence with three years of supervised release and was ordered to $465,748 in restitution. Agresto will be sentenced on Feb. 24.
The pleas were heard by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady and announced by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride and the FBI’s James W. McJunkin.
According to court documents, the duo tried to defraud a Texas-based company out of the $500,000 life insurance policy of Cilenti’s late wife.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office had identified Cilenti as a person of interest in his wife’s death, so the insurance company declined to pay him the proceeds, making his adopted daughter the beneficiary. Then, authorities say, Cilenti retained Agresto, an attorney, to create a trust for Cilenti’s adopted daughter on which Agresto was trustee.
Court documents show the men falsely represented to the insurance company that Cilenti would neither control, access or benefit from the account and the insurance company paid the $507,000 to the trust.
Within a week, Agresto wrote checks for $300,000 and $100,000 to Cilenti, records state, and he deposited them into his business account.
Agresto made out additional checks to Cilenti and made wire transfers from the account totaling $40,000 over the next five weeks, all of which went into the business account.
Court records state Cilenti spent nearly all the funds from the trust account, “very little, if any of which, benefited his adopted daughter.”
But Cilenti also applied for Social Security survivor benefits on his adopted daughter’s behalf, using her Social Security number and forging her signature without her knowledge. Court records show Celenti benefited approximately $7,600 in survivor payments, the groundwork for the aggravated identity theft charge.
Cilenti was arrested in May 2010 on embezzlement, fraud and money laundering charges.
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