Lawyer gets 40 years for stealing $9.3 million

As part of a plea deal, Anthony Chiofalo, 52, will also have to pay $3 million in restitution
May 5, 2014 5:49:31 PM PDT
Millions of dollars went missing and now the man accused of taking it is headed to prison for decades. A plea deal was finalized Monday in a very unusual theft case -- unusual partly because of what that stolen money was spent on.

Anthony Chiofalo, 52, just agreed to spend the next 40 years in prison.

"That's an incredibly horrible deal," said ABC-13 legal analyst Joel Androphy. "He'll be the senior citizen of the department of corrections. He'll be serving more time at the department of corrections than most murderers and rapists."

Chiofalo pleaded guilty to stealing more than $9 million from his employer, crane manufacturing company Tadana America. Court documents show Chiofalo, who is a disbarred attorney, set up a fake law firm, siphoned stolen checks into its account, then spent the money on expensive paintings, sports memorabilia, and even collectible comic books.

"To make matters even worse, what does he do, he goes out and buys comic books with it," said special prosecutor Kent Schaffer. "It's like he's thumbing his nose to the people who gave him this job."

Defense attorney Letitia D. Quinones explained, "He had an addiction and I won't speak in regard to that addiction, but it started and then it just got easier and it spiraled out of control was his exact words."

It turns out high end comic books are hard to resist. District attorney investigator Lonnie Blevins is awaiting trial, accused of stealing Chiafalo's comic books from an evidence room and selling them for more than $1 million.

"If I'm the investigator, I'm a little nervous now," said Androphy. "Now the bar has been set at 40 years."

According to Blevins' attorney, a plea deal is currently in the works for Blevins.

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