NJ man convicted of running pizzeria scam

November 27, 2013 2:00:07 PM PST
A New Jersey man accused of bilking an investor out of roughly $1.2 million in a phony pizzeria scheme has been convicted on numerous counts, including mail fraud and money laundering.

Giovanni Arena of Laurel Springs now faces several decades in prison when he's sentenced March 14. He was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury that deliberated for less than four hours following a seven-day trial in Camden.

Federal prosecutors say the 58-year-old Arena had operated pizzerias in the past, and he enticed the victim to send money to invest in the purchase of a pizza shop. But Arena instead spent the cash on luxury automobiles and gambled away hundreds of thousands of dollars at Atlantic City casinos.

Arena was convicted on 27 of the 34 counts he faced.