It was too good to be true. A Long Island man is accused of selling more than $100,000 worth of raffle tickets for a million-dollar waterfront home, then reneging on the drawing and pocketing the cash for luxury vacations.
The raffle was first reported about here on Matzav.com last year, sparking outrage.
The Nassau County District Attorney’s office arrested 32-year-old Scott Cicerone of North Babylon and charged him with scamming thousands of people out of $100,000.
Cicerone was facing arraignment Thursday on 21 counts of petit larceny and one count of scheme to defraud. His attorney said Cicerone will plead not guilty.
Authorities say Cicerone sold raffle tickets in 2009, promising to give the winner a $1 million lien free home in Massapequa.
The tickets were only $50 each.
D.A. Kathleen Rice says the house was really in foreclosure and Cicerone instead used the ill-gotten gains to pay for a Mercedes and take trips to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and California.
Cicerone promised the drawing would take place in December 2009, then changed it to March 2010. Authorities say the house was never raffled off and Cicerone stopped replying to ticket holders.
“Friends of mine, relatives of mine, my son bought $200 worth of tickets,” one victim told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall. “He needs to be punished for scamming people.”
“These victims thought they were buying a raffle ticket for the American Dream, but only ended up funding this defendant’s jet-setting lifestyle,” Rice said. “That Mr. Cicerone actually went on television to solicit victims for his scam makes this case all the more distasteful.”
Cicerone faces four years behind bars if convicted.