Ex-R.I. state senator pleads guilty to fraud
PROVIDENCE — A former state senator pleaded guilty yesterday to fraudulently receiving $1.7 million in loans and mortgages by lying to banks about his income and submitting phony tax returns.
Christopher B. Maselli, who resigned his Senate seat from Johnston last week, admitted in US District Court to eight federal bank fraud charges. He faces up to 30 years in prison on each count when he is sentenced in February.
Prosecutors say Maselli, 38, used false information between 2007 and 2009 to receive mortgages on several properties in North Providence and Johnston and loans for a car and home improvement.
Maselli, a lawyer, admitted lying on his application about how much he earned per month and submitting false and doctored income tax returns to qualify for the mortgages.
In one case, prosecutors say, he used his wife’s grandmother as a straw borrower and applied for two mortgages in her name. He told the woman her name would be removed from the mortgage shortly after the purchase of the home but instead listed her as the sole applicant and never took her name off the document.
Neither Maselli nor his lawyer, William Kettlewell, would comment as they left the courthouse. But Kettlewell has said that Maselli regrets his actions and that the loan payments are current and the banks have not lost any money on them.
US District Judge Mary Lisi set sentencing for Feb. 10.