Ponzi Schemer Martin Sigillito Dodges 325-Year Sentence; Will Still Die in Prison

Dec 21, 2012 at 11:31 am
Sigillito in his full church regalia.
Sigillito in his full church regalia.
More than two years after Riverfront Times first broke the story of the biggest pyramid scheme in St. Louis history, the man behind the fraud now knows his fate.

Martin Sigillito, an attorney and American Anglican bishop who bilked some 100 investors out of more than $50 million in a bogus overseas venture known as British Lending Program, will effectively spend his life in prison. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Linda Reade sentenced the 63-year-old Sigillito to 40 years in prison, and did not mince words in meting out the punishment.

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Wrote the judge in her ruling:
Sigillito's criminal conduct was calloused and calculating, causing fear and anguish to the people who trusted him. Sigillito has not taken responsibility for the economic and emotional damage that he has caused to his victims. The majority of the victims of this scheme are of an age and station in life where they will never be able to earn their way back to where they were before they got mixed up with the BLP.

It is a certainty that proceeds from the forfeiture of the assets of Sigillito and his co-conspirators will not begin to make the victims economically whole. It has become necessary for many victims to scale down their lifestyles, which had never been extravagant before they invested in the BLP. Sigillito had many years of prestige, luxury and comfort at the expense of the victims. A significant sentence is appropriate to reflect the nature and circumstances of the offenses and the seriousness of the offenses, provide just punishment to Sigillito, promote respect for the law and serve as a deterrent to Sigillito and to others who might be tempted to engage in similar conduct.
Reade concluded that although she could have imposed a longer sentence, there was really no need as Sigillito is unlikely to be out of prison before he expires of natural causes.

"To impose a term of imprisonment of the maximum of 325 years would serve no purpose other than to provide a dramatic headline," wrote the judge.

I don't know. I feel our headline made do with what we were given.