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Las Vegas con man who stole over $400K sentenced to prison

Updated June 3, 2019 - 7:23 pm

A Las Vegas con man tried yet again on Monday to avoid being sent to prison.

Mark Georgantas made unclear references to federal agents and California sheriff’s deputies, whom he said could wipe away his felony convictions. He name-dropped eight attorneys he had hired, or tried to hire, in the three years his criminal charges lingered in Clark County District Court. He denied stealing more than $400,000 from tourists he convinced that he could beat casino games such as craps. He complained, once more, of pain in his hip.

But District Judge Stefany Miley had heard enough of Mark Georgantas’ excuses and attempts to defer his fate and ordered the 56-year-old to serve eight to 20 years behind bars.

“You are not ignorant to the legal procedures,” she said. “You have a very extensive criminal record.”

In front of the judge, prosecutor Michael Viets had dropped a 6-inch-thick stack of papers. It was the defendant’s felony record, which listed 21 convictions, including a jailbreak, skipping out on his own trial, battery on a peace officer and felon in possession of a firearm.

Viets called Georgantas a “threat to the public” and asked the judge to sentence him as a habitual criminal.

“Everything in this case that I’ve seen, from the criminal record to his conduct since he actually pled guilty to this crime, suggests that he will not change his ways if he’s released,” the prosecutor said.

Moments later, Georgantas tried to interject as his latest attorney, John Parris, skimmed the pile of papers.

“Your honor, I wish to represent myself,” he said, after the judge had repeatedly asked him whether he wanted to act as his own lawyer during the hearing.

Miley quickly shot him down.

“Nope. Too late,” she said. “You made the choice that you wanted Mr. Parris to represent you. The court finds that the fact you now want to represent yourself, just minutes after the court asked you on multiple occasions, is simply in order to delay the proceedings … You have a history of delaying these proceedings.”

In August, while free on bail, Georgantas failed to show up to court for sentencing. He was picked up in November in rural Utah, hiding out in a camper owned by unsuspecting strangers.

Prosecutors have called Georgantas a “career confidence man,” and his criminal record stretches back nearly two decades. He has been convicted of conspiracy and grand theft, once escaped jail through a storm drain and walked away from a trial on credit card fraud charges.

On Monday, he tried, yet again, to lean on what he claimed was an ailing hip, saying that he had accepted a deal to plead guilty more than a year and a half ago to theft because “I was in pain. It was a compromise.”

Miley ordered Georgantas to pay $408,000 in restitution, along with a $10,000 fine. She credited him with 610 days he has served in jail.

“This is a life sentence for me on this,” he said.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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