Fool the government once, shame on them.Fool the government twice and you’re probably going to prison for a long time.
Prosecutors are accusing admitted con artist Joshua Kestenbaum of laundering money through his cake company, Bake Me a Wish, to avoid paying court-ordered restitution, the New York Post reported Monday morning.
Previously, Kestenbaum was accused of participating in a $32 million con, in which he overstated his gem company’s assets to firms providing financing.
Kestenbaum accepted a plea deal that required him to pay back what he stole, about $11 million, as well as serve five years probation for the scheme.
But Kestenbaum has reportedly only paid a few thousand dollars of what he owes, and now prosecutors are accusing him of hiding profits earned from Bake Me a Wish by putting money in accounts held by relatives. In the meantime, he’s allegedly pleading poverty to avoid paying his restitution.
Kestenbaum “engaged in egregious financial gymnastics to hide his true cash inflow,” prosecutor Ilene Jaroslaw told a judge, the Post reported. “It is not normal for a person with upwards of $11 million in debt to live in a $6,400-a-month apartment on the Upper West Side.”
Prosecutors are asking the judge to send Kestenbaum to prison for 108 to 135 months for allegedly violating his probation and lying about his finances.
But Kestenbaum’s lawyers are claiming prosecutors are blowing things way out of proportion, saying their client “is struggling” and lives in a constant state of “financial insecurity,” according to the Post.
The struggling ex-gem titan’s new business has a charitable bent, the Post reported.
For every “Freedom Cake” purchased from the company, Bake Me a Wish promises to send another cake to U.S. military members overseas free of charge.
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