Friday's roundup: Ex-Islanders owner gets 10 years

Associated Press

Cleveland — A man who once tried to pull off an audacious scam to buy the Islanders was sentenced to 10 years for another fraud case in northeast Ohio.

John Spano Jr., 50, pleaded guilty last month to 16 counts of forgery after being accused of collecting thousands of dollars in commissions from false accounts he'd created while working as a salesman for a company that provides linens to health care facilities. Born in New York City, Spano was raised in northeast Ohio.

The charges in Lake County, about 30 miles east of Cleveland, were filed nearly two decades after Spano represented himself as a wealthy Texan and tried to buy the Islanders.

With documents showing he was worth hundreds of millions of dollars and the league's knowledge that he inquired about buying two other franchises, the NHL quickly approved Spano's purchase of the Islanders for $165 million. Banks agreed to loan him $80 million, with Spano paying the balance.

It took a few months before Spano's trust-fund facade crumbled when he failed to provide a $5 million down payment.

An FBI investigation ensued and Spano pleaded guilty in federal court to theft and forgery charges. He was sentenced in January 2000 to nearly six years in prison and ordered to pay $11.9 million in restitution to the banks, the team owners and others who'd been caught up in his various schemes.

In a documentary released in 2013 and aired on ESPN titled "Big Shot," Spano says buying the Islanders became "a game with myself."

"You ride in the right circles and people just stop asking questions," Spano said.

The judge who sentenced Spano on Thursday ordered him to pay $75,000 in restitution to the company.

Spano's attorneys did not return phone messages.

Ice chips

Crowd estimates are in and the city of Chicago says about 2 million people attended the parade and rally honoring the Blackhawks Stanley Cup win.

The Chicago Fire Department says its responders treated 41 patients, mostly for heat issues. The fire department had medical buses and other equipment on scene during the Thursday festivities.

... A woman accusing Predators center Mike Ribeiro of sexually assaulting her has provided more details in an amended complaint.

The complaint filed Thursday in the Eastern District of the U.S. District Court in Texas says the then-18-year-old woman was sleeping in the basement of their McLean, Virginia, home with two of Ribeiro's children when he assaulted her.

"Mike and Tamara Ribeiro deny these allegations and will confront their accuser in a court of law," Texas attorney Brian Lauten said in a statement released Friday.