Man with 18 months to live gets 9 years in Coeur d’Alene fraud case
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A man convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud was sentenced to nine years in federal prison after testimony indicated he has only 18 months to live.
Vassily “Tony” A. Thompson, 65, of Los Angeles was sentenced Friday, The Spokesman-Review reported .
Thompson said in court that he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer and doesn’t have much time left.
Defense attorney David Partovi asked U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice to allow Thompson to serve his sentence at home as he waits to die.
“He’s already been given a death penalty by the universe,” Partovi said. “He is dying and the court has the authority to let him die at home.”
Rice, however, sentenced Thompson to serve his time in federal prison, noting that he will be afforded medical care.
“I don’t question” the diagnosis, Rice said, “but in a way, we all have a terminal illness.”
As part of his sentence, Thompson was ordered to pay $2 million in restitution, a figure the attorney acknowledged likely won’t be met.
Thompson, along with Derrick J. Fincher of Spokane Valley and John P. Nixon of Philadelphia were charged with defrauding the organizers of a Coeur d’Alene golf tournament, film studio investors in Montana, and a developer in North Carolina of more than $2 million.
Fincher has not yet been sentenced. Nixon — who pleaded guilty and offered to testify against Fincher and Thompson — was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay $1.85 million as part of the criminal scheme.
As part of the fraud, the suspects promised a $6 million line of credit to fund a celebrity golf tournament in 2012 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, authorities said.
“Today’s sentence should send a strong message to would-be fraudsters who target individuals for financial gain,” U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington said about the case prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Jones.