LOCKPORT – A man who swindled a victim out of $10,000 in what a prosecutor called “a moderately elaborate scheme” was sentenced to a year in jail Friday by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas.
“You’re a con man,” Farkas told Robert L. Blume, 34, of Elderberry Place, Town of Niagara. “I’ve seen better in this court. You’re in the top five.”
Blume was living in Wheatfield at the time of the crime last year. He convinced a North Tonawanda man to invest $10,000 in the Western New York Emergency Lighting Co., a bogus business that purportedly was going to install and replace lights on patrol cars, ambulances and similar vehicles.
Assistant District Attorney John Granchelli said Blume created emails allegedly written by Sheriff James R. Voutour’s brother to bolster his claims, along with “large contracts for business created out of thin air.”
Farkas had ordered Blume to repay the $10,000 before sentencing. He had paid $5,000 before he accepted a plea bargain to petit larceny May 2, but the victim hasn’t received any more money. Defense attorney James J. Faso Jr. said the $5,000 bail Blume’s girlfriend posted was to be converted into the remainder of the restitution, but the delay in making the repayment angered Farkas, who insisted the plea deal did not include a promise of no jail time.