BANGOR – A former school bus driver from Windsor who claims he has a doctorate in business studies was sentenced to 87 months in prison Wednesday on 20 counts related to money laundering and various fraud convictions. Gregory Violette, 47, will serve five years of supervised release after his time in prison.
He was indicted on 90 counts 21/2 years ago after federal agents uncovered a sophisticated, expansive fraud scheme that lasted for nine years and included illegally withdrawing funds from banks and credit unions in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Kennebec counties. Seventy counts were dropped after a plea agreement was reached. The banks later were made whole by various insurance companies, firms to which Violette was ordered to pay $422,657.89 in restitution.
The convictions include:
. Nine counts of making false statements to financial institutions.
. Six counts of mail fraud.
. One count of wire fraud.
. Three counts of money laundering.
. One count of bankruptcy fraud.
The case has prompted several organizational hearings and meetings with the judge over the past 11/2 years. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Love, who prosecuted the case for the government, said the case was one of the more complicated fraud cases he has dealt with in Maine. Bangor attorney Joseph Baldacci represented Violette.
Court records reveal that Violette, beginning in 1989, devised a scheme to use alias names, false Social Security numbers and false information relating to employment, finances and health to obtain loans from financial institutions. He took out various credit disability insurance policies, and later claimed to have disabilities in an effort to have the insurance pay off his debt. The money he borrowed often was used to further the scheme when Violette deposited it into banks to use as collateral for further credit.
The bankruptcy fraud count consists of Violette’s failure to list all of his income in a 1995 bankruptcy filing.
The wire fraud count involved the theft of annuity payments from his former mother-in-law that occurred when Violette forged the woman’s signature to a document that instructed the annuity company to forward her annuity payments to his bank account.
Violette is married to his second wife. Between the two of them, they have seven children.
In court Wednesday, he claimed to have a doctorate in business from a university that, according to court officials, advertises degrees for sale on matchbook covers.