(CMR) Disgraced realtor Antonio Paolini (78) received a suspended two-year prison sentence yesterday for theft after Justice Philip St John-Stevens found “many features of compelling mitigation” in his favor.
Paolini was convicted of stealing a combined $65,000 from two clients after he co-mingled deposits for property purchases at a time when his business, Cayman Real Estate, was in trouble. Mr. Paolini was found guilty by a jury in August 2017 of stealing $51,600 from a woman who paid for a parcel of land but never received it or her money back. That offense occurred in 2013.
Earlier this year, he went to trial on another charge of theft from 2014 but at the close of the prosecution’s case, he changed his plea to guilty.
Paolin's lack of any criminal record and failing health played a key role in the decision to give him a suspended sentence. Apparently, the judge observed that he had not even received a parking ticket before. The judge also heard that he had been a contributing member of Cayman's society since the early 1970's when he arrived here as a computer technician.
The court heard how when the business fell into financial trouble his co-mingled accounts were used to pay overhead expenses such as rent and staff but he never intended to deprive his clients of their deposit money. The judge accepted the submission by defense attorney Alex Davies that the money was used for the business as opposed to any personal extravagant lifestyle.
He has since lost everything including his home and the business. He is still in the process of trying to figure out how to repay the funds and there is a compensation hearing scheduled for early next year.
The sentence for the first theft was two years. For the second offense, because of the late guilty plea, it was 19 months but will run concurrently with the two years.