On January 28, 2000, he was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $11.9 million to his victims, including the Islanders ($3.4 million), two Dallas businesses ($4.4 million), and Mario Lemieux ($1.25 million).
The case the government is building even includes a claim that Spano bilked recently retired hockey great Mario Lemieux out of $1.25 million in an investment scam.
From Islanders scam until now
Spano briefly takes control of Islanders, only to plead guilty that year to fraudulently inflating his wealth to buy the team, and siphoning money from it. He also pleads guilty to two other fraud counts involving other victims.
Sentenced in April 2000 to 5 years, 11 months in jail, he's ordered to pay $11.9 million in restitution, undergo counseling and serve a 5-year probation on his release.
Among the victims: the Islanders ($3.4 million); a Dallas pottery importer ($3.4 million); a Dallas loan lender ($1 million); former hockey player Mario Lemieux ($890,000).
Obviously, the NHL's background check on Spano failed. But how?
His checks were rubber: reportedly bouncing business checks of $1 million to Mario Lemieux, $300,000 to Penguins owner Howard Baldwin, and $85,000 to pay back taxes. He also reportedly handed over financial statements attributed to a bank employee who didn't exist.
PghSkins wrote:"Mike Milbury is very passionate about one thing: That's Mike Milbury."
Staggy wrote:That was phenomenal. Spano couldn't any more full of himself. He almost seemed proud of himself as he was talking and extremely distraught that he got so close to pulling it off.
Bettman didn't come off great, a lot of lapses by the NHL.
Aaron Kearns @Kearns_12 6h
@MrJohnSpano as a pens fan, curious of what your interactions with Mario were like?
John Spano @MrJohnSpano 5h
@Kearns_12 He is a great guy. Best player ever.