Joseph John Viola, who goes by the name Giuseppe Viola, has been sentenced to 36 years in prison for Arizona investment fraud. The charges were filed in 1990, but Viola allegedly fled to Italy at that time in order to avoid going to trial. This sentence comes in addition to accusations from the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco that Viola also led a 12-year North Beach Ponzi scheme starting in 1992; just two years after the Arizona scam charges were filed.
The sentencing agreement from Arizona states that Viola claimed to be working for the Yuban Coffee Trust for the Yuban Coffee Family, which does not exist. In North Beach, Viola allegedly took millions from trusting investors. He apparently became well known in the neighborhood and found his victims through bakeries and coffee shops.
Viola was arrested in California in March, and sent to Arizona to face the initial charges. Now that he has been sentenced in that case, he is expected to be extradited back to California to stand trial for the newer charges.
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