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Antiques dealer sentenced to prison in pyramid scheme

Posted August 13, 2008

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— The former owner of an antiques store in Raleigh's Five Points neighborhood was sentenced Wednesday to almost 10 years in federal prison for bilking dozens of people out of an estimated $2.5 million.

Patricia Jacoby pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud, and she was sentenced to 115 months in prison and was ordered to pay about $1.6 million in restitution to investors whom she scammed.

Between February 2006 and June 2007, Jacoby, who owned the since-closed POSH! Fine Arts and Antiques, lied to investors, telling them she purchased estate lots of antiques to resell them at profit and promising a 22 percent return on their investments within 30 days.

Lorraine Buccellato of Cary said she lost $20,000 in the scheme. She rebuked Jacoby in federal court Wednesday during the sentencing hearing, calling her "an incredibly selfish woman" who caused "indescribable" pain to her and others.

Buccellato later said she was glad Jacoby is off the streets but said the prison sentence wasn't harsh enough.

"I honestly feel that she needed to be away from society," she said. "It's not even the money now so much to me. It was seeing the fact that this has come to an end."

Prosecutors are still working to find any business assets that could be sold to help pay back victims. Eighty-eight of the 118 victims in the scam haven't gotten any of their money back, authorities said, and Buccellato said she doesn't expect to ever see the money she lost.

"I've learned a valuable lesson for $20,000," she said.

Jacoby wept in court as she listened to Buccellato and to letters written by other victims – nine people sent letters to the court describing the impact of the scheme on their lives. She said the episode caused her "untold sadness, remorse and terrible guilt."

Buccellato remained skeptical. "Remorse? I don't believe it. I don't believe it," she said.

Jacoby requested to serve her sentence at the federal women's prison at Alderson, W.Va., the same prison that once house former state Agriculture Secretary Meg Scott Phipps and domestic style icon Martha Stewart. She also asked that she be able to continue psychiatric therapy and drug treatment in prison.

Jacoby was previously convicted in two other schemes.

She spent a year and a half in prison for bilking investors in an art scheme after a 2000 conviction in Mecklenburg County. In 2006, she pleaded guilty in Wake County to similar charges and paid $56,000 in restitution to victims.

Investigators said she used money raised from investors in the latest scam to repay previous victims, noting the antiques investment scheme was in the works as soon as Jacoby completed her sentence in the earlier Wake County case.


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  • PJM Aug 14, 2008

    Look at this....crime right in your backyards, but some have the nerve in the past blogs to talk about Gang activity in the south side of our city....

    AGAIN,.YOU NOR NO ONE ELSE CAN JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER, the same nice lady who speaks to everyone, bakes cookies & belongs to the PTA can be a @#$% criminal.

    Someone who wears dreds/afro/braids could very well be the best physician/lawyer/teacher you have ever had.

  • sfate61 Aug 13, 2008

    I knew her from the Raleigh Fairgrounds Flea Market where she was a dealer.She sold on Ebay also where she got thousands of $$$$ selling items that didn't exist. I doubt very likely those people never got their money back. This isn't the first time she has done this and probably won't be her last.

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Aug 13, 2008

    Wasn't her business in one of Raleigh's "I'm better than you" neighborhoods where jogging soccer moms with their pony tails bouncing our the rear of their designer baseball caps? I can't imagine something like that happening there.

  • Eduardo1 Aug 13, 2008

    bystander.... please in your infinite wisdom, what crime would you put people who made an investment which they thought to be legit, go to jail for. I guess me and 100's of million of people who invest in something also legit, like the stock market belong in jail. I had lots of shares in Enron, so I better duck out of this country. Have you read something in the article that says, the offer made to the people who got sucked in was buying stolen property or some other felony?

  • bystander Aug 13, 2008

    Not defending what this woman did. She deserves every day of prison time and every penny of the fine and probably more.

    But let's get real here. I have no sympathy for the victims in this case. They are a greedy bunch looking to make a quick buck without making an effort for it. Their money should not be returned. It should be put to some good charitable cause.

    They are equal partner in this crime. They need to spend time in jail and they should pay a fine too. That will be a good deterrant for other greedy people to get sucked into these schemes.

    What do you think?

  • WRALSUCKS Aug 13, 2008

    ....there's one (or more) born every day...

  • teacher-mom Aug 13, 2008

    When she gets out, she will do it again.

  • john283594 Aug 13, 2008

    I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time...

  • I like everybody Aug 13, 2008

    We've seen people like her before, someone smart and talented enough to make it, yet made the choice to lie and steal. She got a pretty stiff sentence too, federal time means she'll do most all of it. No winners.

  • Eduardo1 Aug 13, 2008

    Here we go, starting to put blame on the victims. ie: pants to tight, deserves to be raped, drives a BMW, deserves to be car-jacked, walking home late from school deserves to be murdered.
    Give me a break. Here she is asking to be sent to a upscale prison, that is not remorse. Mayne someone will forget she is in prison and forget to let her out. I will bet, that by 2010, she will be walking the streets and scamming again