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LI man pleads guilty in hyperbaric oxygen chamber fraud scheme

A Huntington man who defrauded a client and partners in his Great Neck and Chicago-based hyperbaric oxygen chamber business pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in federal court on Wednesday.

Marcello Sozio, 62, of Huntington, the former operator of Andi Hyperbarics LLC, entered his guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Steven I. Locke in Central Islip federal court. Sozio agreed to pay $1.1 million in restitution as part of his guilty plea and faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing.

Between March 2014 and December 2016, Sozio applied for and received more than $770,000 in loans by falsely claiming his business partners authorized him to apply for the money on their behalf, according to court papers. He also charged a parent $230,000 between September 2016 and December 2016 for services he falsely claimed had been administered to their child.

Sozio used the loan proceeds for his personal benefit, leaving his partners on the hook for the money, prosecutors said.

“Sozio committed a fraud trifecta by duping lenders, cheating his business partners and stealing from the parent of a child for treatment he never provided,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue said in a statement. “The defendant now faces the consequences for pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in unauthorized loans and fraudulent credit card charges.”

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized room and is used to treat scuba diving injuries, infections and wounds that won't heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Sozio could not be reached for comment.

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