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BREAKING: Sigillito indicted for fraud, appears in court

Kelly Wiese//May 4, 2011

BREAKING: Sigillito indicted for fraud, appears in court

Kelly Wiese//May 4, 2011

St. Louis lawyer and cleric Martin Sigillito turned himself in to authorities today after being indicted. A federal grand jury indicted Sigillito on multiple charges, including numerous counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors say the scheme cheated people out of $52 million.

The indictment came down in late April but wasn’t unsealed until today, after Sigillito made his first appearance in federal court. Sigillito already faces lawsuits in state and federal court in which investors allege they lost tens of millions of dollars through a Ponzi scheme he ran. Prosecutors say the money involved makes this the largest Ponzi scheme in the history of the federal Eastern District of Missouri. They say Sigillito alone benefitted to the tune of $8 million, supporting a lavish lifestyle.

A message left for an attorney who represented Sigillito in the government’s forfeiture case against his property wasn’t immediately returned.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Western Missouri is handling the case. Sigillito’s wife has been a clerk for a federal judge in St. Louis.

Englishman Derek Smith and Kansan J. Scott Brown also have been indicted. They also played a role in the investment plan. Brown, who used to practice law, allegedly also helped recruit investors, and Smith was supposed to buy and sell English property rights for a large profit.

The litigation has entangled Missouri Bar President-Elect Lynn Ann Vogel and her husband, who’s also an attorney. They are both plaintiffs and defendants in some of the civil suits.  They too invested money and accuse Sigillito of using their names without their consent on legal documents. Neither was among those indicted.

The case is U.S. v. Martin Sigillito, 4:11-cr-00168.

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