A lawyer from Englewood Cliffs was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Wednesday -- a year to the day that she admitted creating bogus businesses with her husband to steal $7.8 million from two high-powered law firms where she'd been a partner.
Keila Ravelo, 52, will have to serve just about all of her sentence; there's no parole in the federal prison system.
A year ago, Ravelo took a deal offered by the government two weeks before her trial was supposed to begin, pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and tax evasion.
Her lawyer blamed it all on Ravelo's now-estranged husband, Melvin Feliz, 5w.
Feliz took a plea deal of his own three years ago, first admitting that he conspired with two other men to distribute 20 or so kilograms of cocaine. He then pleaded guilty to using bogus litigation support companies to steal the money with his wife.
He was still awaiting sentencing.
Ravelo last year admitted in federal court in Newark that she and Feliz formed two limited liability companies that purported to provide litigation support for Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Hunton & Williams -- but, in fact, provided no actual services, authorities said. She'd been a partner with both.
Ravelo approved invoices submitted by her husband, and then both used the proceeds for personal expenses, the government charged.
Among the items federal prosecutors were seeking to have forfeited as the fruits of ill-gotten gains were the couple's $2.3 million home in Englewood Cliffs, a $1 million condo in Miami and other property -- as well as a 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur sedan valued at upwards of $80,000.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Kevin McNulty sentenced Ravelo to three years of supervised release.
Fitzpatrick credited law enforcement officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Newark Division, and the IRS-Criminal Investigation with the probe leading to the plea and sentence, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Kogan, Brian Urbano and Ronnell Wilson, along with AUSAs Jafer Aftab and Barbara Ward, acting chief of the his office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.
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