PHOENIX, AZ (May 4, 2011) - Joseph John Viola (DOB: 5/2/1951) has been sentenced by Superior Court Judge Daniel G. Martin to serve 36 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections for engaging in fraudulent schemes (CR90-010323). The sentence was lengthy because Viola had five prior convictions, all related to an investment fraud case dating back to the mid-1980s.
“This case should serve as a clear notice to financial fraud artists that my office will diligently prosecute this type of criminal activity even if it takes many years to see that justice is served,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “With this appropriately severe sentence, the victims in this case can now have at least some degree of closure in addition to complete confidence that this defendant will never be able to defraud anyone again,” he added.
In 1988 and 1989 Viola pretended to work for the Yuban Family Trust for the Yuban Coffee family. There is no Yuban Coffee family. The defendant took victims’ money, approximately $85,000, and provided false monthly reports showing high return rates. The money was never invested and when victims asked for their money back Viola gave them the run around, never returning it. At the time, Viola was on probation for an earlier conviction on five felony counts involving investment fraud. Viola was arrested in 1990 but managed to flee to Italy for two years where he changed his name. He then moved to San Francisco and started yet another investment fraud scheme.
Viola’s legal problems may not be over as he is facing extradition to California on a Federal Indictment for allegedly swindling multiple victims in San Francisco out of millions of dollars. The scheme in San Francisco was similar to the investment scheme in Arizona but apparently much more extensive. The California case was only uncovered after Viola was arrested on the Arizona case.