May 26, 2022

A scam artist known as “King Perry” has been sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison for running a decade-long Ponzi scheme that bilked more than 1,000 investors out of $115 million.

Perry Santillo, 41, of Rochester, N.Y. pleaded guilty in 2019 to being the mastermind behind a scheme that pocketed the life savings of many elderly people with promises of investment in non-existent insurance and real-estate ventures.

Instead, federal prosecutors and investigators with the Secu10rities and Exchange Commission say Santillo and his accomplices used the money to finance lavish lifestyles or to pay out earlier investors in the fund.

In all, prosecutors say nearly $71 million remains unaccounted for. A civil complaint filed in 2018 by the SEC, accused Santillo of pocketing more than $13 million which he was accused of using to buy luxury carts, houses in multiple states and high-rolling trips to Las Vegas casinos.

‘$10,000 suits everywhere he rides’

During one Vegas trip, investigators say Santillo threw a party for himself for which he commissioned a song to be written about himself called “King Perry.” Lyrics included lines describing him as wearing, “$10,000 suits everywhere he rides,” or that he liked to, “pop the champagne in L.A., New York to Florida; buy another bottle just to spray it all over ya.”

At his sentencing last week, the judge ordered Santillo to pay $102 million in restitution.

A nesting doll of Ponzi schemes

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