Connie Apostelos

Wife of $70 million Ponzi scheme architect pleads guilty

Connie Apostelos pleads guilty to money laundering; to be sentenced Aug. 2

The wife of the Springboro man who admitted to a $70 million Ponzi scheme was found guilty of one count Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

Connie Apostelos, 51, said she was “guilty” when asked by the judge what her plea was to one count of money laundering as detailed in a superseding bill of information .

RELATED: William Apostelos pleads guilty in Ponzi scheme

Specifically, federal prosecutors alleged she knowingly attempted to deposit a check for $224,747.98 at Key Bank. The statement of facts said the money was taken from investors and was to be used for illegal purposes.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose accepted the plea agreement, which is 13 pages long and includes 17 provisions, but it does not include any deal for a sentencing range. Rose scheduled her sentencing for Aug. 2.

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The statutory maximum penalties for the count are 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of money in the illegal transaction.

Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion calculated his client’s non-binding advisory sentencing guideline at 33 to 41 months, but said that other factors could raise or lower that number.

RELATED: Attorney pleads guilty in Ponzi case

“The essence of this agreement is that Ms. Apostelos pleaded to a charge that made it clear that she herself was not involved with any of the fraud of her husband nor did she know about the fraud of her husband at the time he was committing it,” Rion said. “That’s a crucial distinction. So she was not a conspirator in his scheme.”

Rion said his client was aware of the fraud after civil cases were filed and that she gained from the improper transfer of funds. Rion said he will be seeking a minimum sentence far below the guideline range.

RELATED: Two plead guilty in Ponzi conspiracy

Assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi said Connie Apostelos “did not have detailed knowledge” of her husband’s financial dealings until after the scheme unraveled. Tabacchi said that by late 2014, she “knew or was willfully blind” to the Ponzi operation.

William Apostelos, 55, pleaded guilty in February to two of 27 counts related to a scheme that bilked nearly 480 investors out of $20 million — a Ponzi operation a federal prosecutor called the biggest in local history. Prosecutors said the other $50 million was cycled back to earlier investors.

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Tabacchi said Connie Apostelos’ role was that of the “quintessential money launderer” and that she benefited from the fraud. He said he’d wait until the pre-sentence report before deciding what kind of sentence he’d like her to serve.

William Apostelos will spend up to 15 years in federal prison if Rose accepts the plea deal struck between prosecutors and Apostelos’ federal public defender. His sentencing is scheduled for June 30.

All five defendants in the scheme are scheduled to be sentenced this summer.

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