NEW YORK (AP) – A 69-year-old luxury food distributor who was charged with unlawfully importing caviar but evaded arrest for nearly a quarter-century before being captured last year won’t have to spend any more time behind bars after a judge sentenced him on Monday to time served, citing his age and the lack of victims.
Isidoro “Mario” Garbarino, who’s from Italy, smiled and shook hands with his defense lawyers after U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy told him he could expect to be leaving the United States for his native country within days because deportation is automatic. His defense lawyers said he likely would live eventually in Argentina and the Dominican Republic.
The judge told Garbarino he “got a break” and warned: “God forbid you should ever screw up again.”
The judge said Garbarino’s main punishment will be to live with the shame he had brought upon himself and his family.
“The case is old and, more importantly, the defendant is old. I know what old means, perhaps more than anybody else in the courtroom,” said the judge, who turns 80 this week.
Before Garbarino was sentenced, he called his crime a “terrible mistake” and “the saddest, darkest moment of my life besides the loss of my parents.”
The sentencing in Manhattan came after Garbarino admitted he had unlawfully imported more than 100,000 pounds of Russian and Iranian caviar in the 1980s.
Garbarino was arrested by U.S. marshals after he was caught changing planes in Panama. He had been jailed since September. In pleading guilty, he admitted that he used schemes to avoid high taxes while importing caviar worth more than $10 million from 1984 to 1987. At the time, he was president of Aquamar Gourmet Imports Inc., a now-defunct company that had a warehouse in the Bronx and supplied luxury food items to prominent gourmet stores and some of the world’s largest airlines and cruise lines.
Originally charged in a November 1987 indictment, he posted his Greenwich, Conn., home as bail and fled the country in July 1989. Prosecutors said he spent time in Como, Italy. He has paid $3 million in restitution.
The government said Garbarino dodged U.S. taxes of up to 30 percent on his imports by significantly understating their weight and value. It said he cheated his customers worldwide by sometimes substituting cheaper American caviar for imported caviar before shipping it to clients overseas.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food