HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Two Guilford witnesses in a trial alleging a pyramid scheme say a prominent New Haven businessman and one-time Republican office-seeker praised the business and volunteered to talk it up.

The New Haven Register reports  that Kathryn Midgley, a participant who allegedly made $20,000 in the scheme, and Ivy Mangan testified in U.S. District Court in Hartford on Tuesday that Joel Schiavone, a New Haven developer, recommended that group members treat the scheme like a business.

Schiavone’s wife Donna Bello, Jill Platt and Bettejane Hopkins are accused of filing a false tax return and fraud.

Platt’s lawyer says she acted legally and Bello’s lawyer denies it was a pyramid scheme. Hopkins has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the IRS.

Schiavone refused to respond to the accusations during a court recess.
Information from: New Haven Register, http://www.nhregister.com

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. )


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