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Long IslandCrime

Mount Sinai man sentenced in scheme involving blind man, Suffolk prosecutors say

A Mount Sinai man was sentenced to up to 7½ years in prison for stealing nearly $4 million from two victims, including an elderly, blind Poughkeepsie man, through a fraudulent investment scheme, Suffolk County prosecutors said Friday.

Joseph Prosa, 53, pleaded guilty in May 2019 to first-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud, both felonies.

Acting Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho sentenced Prosa Wednesday to 2½ years to 7½ years in prison on the grand larceny count and 1 to 3 years in prison on the scheme to defraud charge. The sentences will run concurrently.

“This was a grossly deceitful scheme in which the defendant stole millions of dollars from his victims, including a senior citizen who was robbed of his life savings,” said Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini. “He operated this scheme out of pure greed and callousness.”

Matthew Tuohy, Prosa's Huntington-based defense attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Between August 2010 and November 2017, Prose falsely told the two victims that he was seeking investments to build a recycling facility in Poughkeepsie, prosecutors said. He told the victims that he owned the land and a permit for the project had been approved, officials said.

Prose also told the victims he was an expert in recycling and the construction of plants for a process called “gasification,” which can convert garbage into electricity, prosecutors said.

In total, Prosa stole about $3.6 million from a legally blind Poughkeepsie man in his 80s who has since died and approximately $250,000 from a Suffolk County man. Both victims were previous acquaintances of Prosa.

Prosa used the stolen funds for personal expenses, including more than $1.2 million in casinos and racehorse gambling entities, investigators said. He also bought a racehorse, pulled his house from foreclosure and paid off large amounts of gambling debt, officials said. 

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