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Con man Cerilli's probation ends, but he owes restitution, must pay fine

| Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A convicted con man will be released from probation in January, but he is not off the hook with the federal government, according to court records.

Dennis G. Cerilli, 66, who served 60 months in federal prison for bilking ill and elderly investors in various schemes, still owes more than $5.6 million in restitution to his victims plus a $250,000 fine, according to a restitution agreement he signed earlier this month.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cerilli must pay 25 percent of his monthly salary toward the debt. Records do not indicate what Cerilli does for a living.

Cerilli, formerly of Hempfield, now lives in Upper St. Clair, court records show.

According to the agreement, the total restitution ordered was $5,660,413 and $2,010 has been paid.

He was charged with mail fraud in 2001. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in prison followed by three years' probation, which expires Jan. 5.

Cerilli sold concession and parking rights to investors for events he staged at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds in Mt. Pleasant Township. He also cheated investors in a construction deal for a concert venue.

Using bogus photographs of construction sites, Cerilli lured investors into a project known as the Laurel Mountain Amphitheater in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. He never had plans to construct the amphitheater but used photographs of other construction sites to convince investors that work on the project was underway.

Cerilli is the son of the late Egidio “Gene” Cerilli, once a powerful political figure in Westmoreland and state Democratic politics. Egidio Cerilli served a federal prison sentence for extortion when he was superintendent of maintenance for PennDOT in Westmoreland County in the 1970s and became chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission when Milton Shapp was governor.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or rgazarik@tribweb.com.

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