NEW YORK (JTA) — A son-in-law of the recently convicted former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been sentenced to two years in prison for running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
Marcello Trebitsch, 37, was sentenced in federal court in Manhattan Wednesday and ordered to pay nearly $5.9 million in restitution, several media outlets reported. He pleaded guilty in July, admitting he cheated four investors out of almost $6 million in the Ponzi scheme.
Trebitsch’s wife, Michelle Trebitsch, is the daughter of Silver, a longtime Democratic New York State Assembly member who was convicted on seven corruption charges in an unrelated case on Nov. 30. Silver has said he plans to appeal his conviction.
While the two convictions are unrelated, during the sentencing hearing attorneys said Trebitsch’s connection to Silver helped him attract clients.
U.S. District Vernon Broderick said he was giving Trebitsch a lenient sentence (federal guidelines recommend four to five years in prison for such a crime) because of Trebitsch’s numerous charitable acts, The Associated Press reported.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Goldman said Trebitsch was “not a Madoff,” according to the AP, referencing the multibillion-dollar Jewish Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, who pleaded guilty in 2009 and is serving a 150-year prison sentence for cheating thousands of investors.
“He never hit it big,” Goldman said. “He spent more time making false account statements than he did investing.”