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GIACCHETTO ADMITS GUILT

Judge Agrees That Magical Talking Cricket
Must Take Some Blame
With tears in his eyes, disgraced celebrity money manager Dana Giacchetto pleaded guilty to fraud on Wednesday (8/2) in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Daily Variety reports.

In an apology to his clients and to the court, Giacchetto broke into sobs, saying things had "just gotten crazy" and that he had intended to pay them back.

Giacchetto told the court he was an artist and that he had wanted to help other artists because he believed they were so taken advantage of. As proof of that argument, Giacchetto pointed to the millions of dollars misappropriated from clients of his Cassandra Fund.

"It's sad that someone took advantage of poor, starving artists like Ben Affleck, Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio." he asked the court. "Even sadder is that someone was me."

Under the plea agreement, Giacchetto acknowledges misappropriating between $5 and $10 million from clients of his Cassandra Fund. Giacchetto faces a prison sentence of between 46 and 57 months in federal prison. Had he not reached a plea agreement with the court, Giacchetto could have faced a maximum sentence of eight to 10 years. The reduction in sentence reflects the fact that he entered into an agreement well before his scheduled Sept. 6 trial date.

Still pending, however, are two cases: a civil suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and a bankruptcy case involving Giacchetto's Cassandra Fund. A Chapter 7 proceeding last month revealed that the formerly high-flying Cassandra Fund currently had assets of less than $25,000. Giacchetto's lawyer has said that Giacchetto will consent to a settlement of the SEC case.

Giacchetto will most likely serve out his sentence in a minimum security, campus-like facility rather than the urban lockups he has been in since attempting to skip bail in April. Just days being booked and released on $1 million bond, Giacchetto was apprehended getting off a flight from Las Vegas to Newark, NJ, with $4,000 in cash, a doctored passport and $44,000 worth of first-class airline tickets (hitsdailydouble, 4/13). He has been incarcerated since then.

"This is the most difficult day of my life," Giacchetto told the court. "I've been kept in a box for the past several months."

Giacchetto's attorney Ronald Fischetti explained that Giacchetto wanted to locate the "true victims" to see that they got paid. "What Dana is most concerned about," said Fischetti, "is that people will forget about his 13 years of solid money management before things imploded."

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