A Slidell man was sentenced to 30 months in prison Wednesday after admitting more than a year ago that he pilfered $344,000 from a brokerage account that somebody else had opened in his name.
Richard Zanco, 44, admitted he became aware of the Fidelity Investments account that was opened using his name and other identifying information, and that he found out it contained valuable “collateral mortgage obligations,” a type of bond.
Zanco, a car salesman, “enacted a scheme to obtain access” to the account.
Over six months in 2013 he liquidated some of the assets, buying automobiles and boats with the proceeds, according to the “factual basis” that he signed on March 26, 2014, underpinning his guilty plea on a money laundering count.
His defense attorney, Vinny Mosca, said Zanco had known the man who swiped his identity and who had set up the account in his name.
“The poor guy gets his identity stolen, makes an error in judgment and becomes a defendant himself,” Mosca said.
Zanco got bad advice from another lawyer to go ahead and siphon off the interest that had accrued in the account, Mosca said.
He said the other man received his own prison sentence of more than three years.
Zanco also was ordered to pay about $290,000 in restitution.