Judge orders Fontana man to pay $376,740 in fraud trial
ELKHORN A Fontana Township man was ordered Friday to pay $376,740 in restitution after pleading guilty to theft by fraud from a family trust.
Ronald F. Sassetti, 64, of 663 Shabbona Drive, Fontana, was sentenced to five years probation by Walworth County Judge Robert Kennedy. If restitution is not paid by the end of Sassetti’s third year of probation, he must serve a year in county jail, Kennedy said.
Sassetti appeared in court wearing a button-down shirt and no tie. He declined to make a statement in his defense.
Sassetti was accused in a 2010 criminal complaint of borrowing $60,000 from the James and Mary Green Family Trust after convincing its trustee that the money would be used to buy a second-hand veterinarian nuclear camera that his firm would refurbish.
The complaint continues:
The rebuilt camera was to be leased to SouthPaws Veterinary Clinic in Fairfax, Va. The lease was supposed to provide the income to pay off the loan with interest.
Sassetti contacted the trustee of the Green family trust, Michael Green, in 2005 about the potential deal. Green, a Madison lawyer, agreed to pull $60,000 out of the trust after he verified with SouthPaws its interest in leasing the nuclear camera.
The clinic was to pay $1,350 per month for 60 months to Sassetti’s firm, Veterinary Equipment and Technology Supply. The firm, based in Sassetti’s home, would then pay the trust a total of $81,000 with the first payment due Aug. 1, 2005.
Michael Green told Fontana police that the trust received no payments from August 2005 to September 2006.
Green said he contacted Sassetti several times about payments not being made. Sassetti told Green the camera was installed at the clinic but the monthly payments were held up over a service agreement. After the agreement was reached, the clinic would begin making monthly payments, Sassetti told Green.
On Sept. 13, 2006, Green learned from a SouthPaws official that the camera had not been installed and that the clinic was no longer doing business with Sassetti.
Green told police he contacted Sassetti the same day. The defendant admitted that the camera was never installed, and the $60,000 was used for “other purposes.”
Sassetti told Fontana police the clinic cancelled the camera contract over a disagreement about the service contract.
He denied ever telling Green that the camera had been installed.
Sassetti also told police that he considered the $60,000 to be an investment and not for the purchase of a camera lease. The money, he said, was used to pay business expenses.
During a second meeting, Sassetti told police he had falsely informed Green about the installation of the nuclear camera at the clinic.
The $376,740 in restitution was ordered to reimburse Green for the matters prosecuted in the criminal case and judgments ordered in civil court.