2 Fla. men ordered to prison in telemarketing scam

November 1, 2011 - 10:00 AM

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Two former telemarketing company executives have been sentenced to five-year prison terms for their roles in selling $40 million in bogus auto-service warranties.

A federal judge in East St. Louis also ordered 50-year-old Christopher Cowart of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and 46-year-old Cris Sagnelli of Boca Raton, Fla., to pay $15,000 in fines. They will spend five years on post-prison supervised release.

The men pleaded guilty last December to a felony count of using a fictitious name as part of a mail-fraud scheme they carried out while doing business as Transcontinental Warranty Inc. Authorities say the scheme involved sales of more than 15,000 questioned warranty contracts.

Cowart served as Transcontinental Warranty's president, while Sagnelli was vice president. Steven Wigginton, southern Illinois' top federal prosecutor, said they were "driven by greed."