New City family pleads guilty in $2M gold mine scam
A New City family pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to bilking investors out of millions.
James Russo, his wife Rita and their children, Rudolph, Elizabeth and Thomas, all pleaded guilty to fraud. The Russos collected close to $2 million in an almost 20-year scheme involving a fake gold mine in Brazil.
The family also received another $1.5 million from its Internet wholesale distribution business, but failed to deliver any of the high-end electronics sold on the Web site.
Rita Russo admitted that the family used some of the money to pay the mortgage on their New City home. However, in court, James Russo tried to blame his dead brother for the scam.
James Russo, who suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease, faces 10 years behind bars. Other family members could also serve up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March.
The Russos could also be forced to pay restitution.