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Westmoreland

Mon Valley Independent co-owner pleads guilty to defrauding dementia patient

Renatta Signorini
| Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, 11:27 a.m.

A Fayette County man and former Charleroi attorney pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to defrauding a dementia patient and directing some of the $505,000 into accounts for the Mon Valley Independent newspaper.

Keith A. Bassi, 61, admitted to misappropriating money belonging to the patient's estate as power of attorney since 2013, according to a news release from acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song.

Federal authorities said Bassi diverted the money into bank accounts he created and controlled at two banks. Authorities alleged that Bassi kept money he used to establish a life insurance policy for someone other than the victim and directed deposits to accounts for Mid Mon Valley Publishing, a company he and three other men formed in 2015.

In April 2016, Trib Total Media sold the former Valley Independent to Mid Mon Valley Publishing, which changed the paper's name.

Bassi's license to practice law was temporarily suspended in August at the request of the U.S. District Court, documents show. A brief article that ran in the Independent Aug. 17 said Bassi had “retired” before his suspension took effect.

Bassi's sentencing on three counts of mail fraud is set for March 14. He faces up to 60 years in prison, a $750,000 fine or both, according to a news release.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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