He ran the scheme from prison.
James Sabatino has pleaded guilty to to swindling jewelry businesses out of $9.2 million in merchandise, the Jewelers' Security Alliance reports.
He orchestrated the fraud while serving time in a Florida prison, according to the report. The victims were "high end supplier and retail jewelry firms."
"He emailed, telephoned and texted luxury jewelry suppliers and retailers impersonating executives of various music and film companies that needed jewelry for video shoots for well-known music and movie stars," the organization stated. "He promised publicity and visibility for the supplying firms. Sabatino did his calling from prison and used runners and confederates to handle the work outside prison. During the fraud he convincingly used different names of actual executives and film and music companies."
Sabatino pleaded guilty in federal court to a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act charge as well as counts of mail/wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to JSA. He's already in prison for swindling hotels and for violating probation.
Sabatino, 40, has not yet been sentenced. He "faces up to 20 years on the racketeering conspiracy charge," the Miami Herald reports.
The newspaper describes the New York native as "a legendary Miami con artist."