ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — A man found guilty of stealing over $500,000 from an elderly man, and more money from a veteran, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 15 years on probation, according to a news release from the Florida State Attorney’s Office.
Mark Puno, 42, was found guilty of organized fraud after a four-day trial in July of 2023. On Oct. 12, a judge sentenced Puno to 15 years in state prison, 15 years of probation after his release, and he must pay $510,000 in restitution.
From December 2018 through November 2020, Puno “engaged in a scheme to defraud by misrepresenting his ownership in a subdivision development and presenting fraudulent financial statements,” the release states.
Puno was given $470,000 from an elderly man after telling the man about his subdivision development. He later sold a fake lot to the man for $40,000, stealing $510,000 in total from the man.
He stole an additional $30,000 from a veteran, telling the veteran that the money would be used for “permits and appraisals on the subdivision,” the release stated.
Investigators discovered that Puno did not own the subdivision and was not a partner with the real owners.
Instead, he used the money to fund his lifestyle, which included trips to Italy and Disney World, dinners at expensive restaurants, architectural work on his home, car loans and more.
Puno continued with the lies and in August of 2019, he presented fake financial statements that claimed he held $57 million in Italy real estate and $1 million in a Deutsche bank account, according to the release. He also said he had over $12 million in an IRA account; however, he actually has $46 in that account.
Investigators said he attempted to use these financial documents to get a loan from private money lenders for $1.6 million to “fund a different condominium project,” the release stated.