Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ex-Capitals owner fires lawyer; sentencing delayed

Then-Capitals owner Deepal Wannakuwatte and his wife, Betsy,
pose with Mike, left, and Bob Bryan of the visiting Texas Wild
after a match last summer. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Deepal Wannakuwatte saga continues.
   After pleading guilty in May to wire fraud in one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in Sacramento history, the former owner of the defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis was scheduled to be sentenced to prison last Thursday.
   But with many of his investment victims present, Wannakuwatte fired his lawyer, The Sacramento Bee reported. Wannakuwatte claimed that his lawyer, Donald Heller, had coerced the guilty plea.
   U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley then postponed sentencing indefinitely.
   Wannakuwatte, a 63-year-old native of Sri Lanka, was arrested on Feb. 20 after allegedly defrauding investors of millions in his medical supply businesses.
   According to the FBI, investment brochures for Wannakuwatte's International Manufacturing Group Inc. and RelyAid said sales reached $110 million in 2012, mostly from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
   In reality, the FBI said, sales to the VA totaled just $25,000 a year. Agents said Wannakuwatte usually repaid investors with funds from new investors.

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