A former venture capitalist and co-owner of the San Jose Sharks hockey team was sentenced in federal court in San Francisco today to eight years and one month in prison and ordered to pay $67.5 million in restitution for fraud.
William “Boots” Del Biaggio, 42, of San Jose, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer.
Del Biaggio pleaded guilty in February to one count of securities fraud and admitted during the plea to falsifying brokerage statements to obtain more than $100 million in loans and loan guarantees in 2007 and 2008.
U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said that lenders recovered some of their money, but suffered a loss of up to $47.4 million.
In addition, Russoniello said, Del Biaggio admitted to misappropriating investors’ money in three funds that he managed and agreed to pay $20 million in restitution for doing so.
Del Biaggio, who asked for a lower sentence of five years and three months, said in court papers that he knew his conduct was wrong, but said he falsified the brokerage papers in order to raise money to buy a $25 million interest in the Nashville Predators hockey team.
He said he believed he would be able to pay back the loans by selling part of his ownership interest in the team.
Del Biaggio said he “acknowledges and deeply regrets” the crime, but said he has tried to make amends by cooperating with prosecutors and with administrators in bankruptcy court, where he filed for bankruptcy last year.
Prosecutors responded in a sentencing brief that “only a fraction” of the fraudulently obtained loans were related to the Predators purchase. They said Del Biaggio’s actions “destroyed the lives” of many of the 75 individual investors whose money was used.
Russoniello said after the sentencing, “The sentence imposed should be a warning to others that the prospect of easy profits is not worth the risk of loss and shame that detection and prosecution is certain to bring.”