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Mancini sentenced to 71 months in prison in securities fraud case

Published March 19, 2024

By Jane Primerano

NEWARK, N.J. (BRAIN) — Samuel J. Mancini is scheduled to report to the U. S. Bureau of Prisons in Colorado on Tuesday, April 2.

Mancini, who pled guilty to securities fraud, was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison after a day-long hearing in Federal court here on Tuesday. He was arrested in Denver in 2020 on fraud charges.

Mancini was accused of raising over $10 million from several investors to acquire legacy Italian cycling brands including De Rosa Cycles, De Marchi Apparel, Limar Helmets, and Gruppo Srl, the parent of Cinelli and Columbus. None of the acquisitions was completed and some of the investors said they never got their money back. Prosecutors said Mancini, the CEO of Outdoor Capital Partners, had engaged in a "Ponzi-like" scheme, using some funds earmarked for investments for personal use and to pay back earlier investors who were demanding their money back.

His case was filed in the New Jersey District because at least one of the fraud victims lives within the district. Others reside in Colorado and Florida. Mancini also is charged in a civil case filed in the same court by the Securities and Exchange Commission. That case has been stayed pending the resolution of the criminal case.

Judge Claire Cecchi presided over the hearing, saying she read a huge volume of paperwork on the Mancini case, including letters from victims of the fraud and letters from Mancini’s supporters. 

Mancini’s attorney, Timothy Donohue, a federal public defender, requested a reduced sentence because Mancini entered a guilty plea and had no previous criminal record. He also paid restitution of $100,000 to one of the victims.

Lead Federal Prosecutor Laura Repole asked for an enhanced sentence of 87 months because another victim, Mike Caplinger of Seasonal Tire in Denver, stepped forward in the weeks before the sentencing hearing. Caplinger, in a document included in the prosecution's pre-sentencing materials, said that while Mancini was employed at the tire business after his arrest he used a corporate credit card without permission for personal expenses, including a trip to Universal Studios.

Because Caplinger was not present at the hearing to verify his allegations, Cecchi refused to consider his claims in determining the sentence. She said 71 months is within federal sentencing guidelines.

In addition to the prison sentence, Mancini is required to pay back the 32 people he defrauded. The total is $10,615,000.  The repayment will start as soon as Mancini is incarcerated. While he is in prison, the Bureau of Prisons will deduct $25 every three months from his prison job wages. After his release, he will be expected to reimburse at a rate of $250 a month. He will send the money to the government and it will be distributed to the victims, Cecchi explained.

The defense is disputing the total amount. Mancini’s legal team claims that $3,067,000 in a bank in Italy — a deposit OCP paid to Limar before a planned acquisition that never happened — is part of the money taken from the victims that he can’t get out. Repole said the government could look into helping recover that money. Court documents indicate that Limar is willing to return the money but is waiting for an official communication to ensure the funds are returned to the correct parties. 

A Florida investor, Catherine Anne Hennessy, told her attorney she invested $5 million with OCP specifically for the purchase of DeRosa through an investment fund called Riolee LLC. Hennessy is listed as Senior Director of Best Buddies Ventures on the nonprofit's website. The organization produces Best Buddies charity bike rides and other events.

The one victim who spoke at the hearing was Aloysius McLaughlin, who has homes in Summit, N.J., and Telluride, Colorado.

McLaughlin said he informally represented seven of the victims. He said Mancini represented himself as a graduate of West Point and several West Point graduates that McLaughlin knows were interested in investing with a “classmate.”

Mancini attended the military academy but did not graduate. Some of the victims said they believed he was expelled for an ethics violation, but Donohue had an official document from West Point that said the reason was “academic deficiencies.”

The idea of being scammed by a former West Point student was particularly distressing to the grads, McLaughlin said. 

“It didn’t take us too long to discover he wasn’t doing what he said he was doing,” McLaughlin said. He also said despite Mancini’s claims of remorse, the victims don’t believe he was sincere. 

“There was no authentic remorse,” McLaughlin said. “Our biggest fear is he gets out of prison soon and does it again.” 

He also said Mancini’s LinkedIn profile still has him as a graduate of West Point. His defense team said that would be remedied promptly (as of Wednesday, Mancini's LinkedIn page does not mention West Point). 

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