Lansing accountant pleads guilty to bankruptcy and mail fraud

first_img BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Local accountant Andrew N. LaVigne pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering this week in federal court.LaVigne, 66, of Lansing, was a certified public accountant who practiced in Ithaca for more than three decades. In 2004, he filed for personal bankruptcy, a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York said. The attorney’s office said LaVigne used his CPA practice to conceal millions in assets and also defrauded a woman of more than $1 million in a mail fraud scheme. Tagged: accountant, andrew lavigne, ithaca, northern district of new york, U.S. Attorney General Your Crime & Courts news is made possible with support from: Kelsey O’Connor When he filed for bankruptcy, he owed about $7.6 million to more than 80 unsecured creditors after what the U.S. Attorney’s Office said was “a failed scheme to use their money to purchase sports and entertainment memorabilia and resell it for a profit.” During his bankruptcy, he reportedly claimed his home as his only asset and did not pay back the 80 investors he owed. With his guilty plea Wednesday, he admitted to using his CPA practice’s bank accounts to conceal between $3.5 and $9.5 million in assets from the United States Bankruptcy Court and the Office of the United States Trust, which he laundered by depositing funds unrelated to his CPA practice into his business accounts. He then used that money for his own benefit, including to buy sports memorabilia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.In a separate mail fraud scheme, LaVigne admitted to defrauding a client of $1 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Over a two-year period, LaVigne allegedly convinced a senior citizen to pay $3.6 million for shares of a company that LaVigne created, which he claimed would develop a piece of waterfront property at 101 Pier Road in Ithaca. The woman bought 90 percent of the company, the attorney’s office said, and LaVigne obtained an additional $1 million to invest in the company, but never built the property.“Instead, he used the victim’s money for his own purposes, which included writing checks to himself, paying for the construction of a house for a family member, and funding payroll for his accounting practice.  LaVigne also laundered payments he received from this scheme through his CPA practice accounts,” the news release said.LaVigne is scheduled to be sentenced July 30 by Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. He faces a maximum imprisonment of 20 years on the mail fraud charge, 10 years on the money laundering charge, and five for the bankruptcy fraud. He could also be sentenced to pay a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. Kelsey O’Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor. More by Kelsey O’Connor last_img read more