Florida man gets 2 years in prison for 'Shark Tank' investment-turned-fraud
A former New York wine merchant who sold a one-serving glass of wine on Shark Tank was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for wire fraud.
60-year-old Joseph Falcone previously pleaded guilty to stealing more than $ 500,000 from investors, the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York said. Falcone used the money to buy a house in Florida, where he now lives, and to fund his online securities trading account.
Falcone previously operated Vino LLC of Long Island wine and liquor retailer 3G. One of the company's products was a sealed glass with a single serving of wine that was once featured on the TV show "Shark Tank" as a potential product for prominent investors, prosecutors said.
"Falcone's victims were wrapped up in his 'Shark Tank' pitch, but with today's verdict the defendant is now hooked for his crimes," US attorney Seth DuCharme said in a written statement.
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It was not clear what single serving wine product Falcone was alleged to be dealing with. At least two have appeared on the show, including one that Kevin O’Leary pledged a $ 2.5 million investment.
Falcone tried to invest in 3Gs between September 2014 and November 2015, promising investors that their money will be used to fund the business and one-serving wine product, prosecutors said.
Instead, Falcone stole more than $ 527,000 of the roughly $ 872,000 three investors had paid him according to court records.
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Investors who lost money to the program included a Falcone employee and the employee's sister, Newsday reported. The employee had closed a bank account and fell behind with his mortgage.
"I'm very sorry ... It haunts me every day," Falcone said before the court ruling, the report said.
Falcone was in prison for up to 20 years, the authorities said earlier.
In addition to his two-year sentence, a judge ordered Falcone to repay $ 1.8 million to 3G investors.
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