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Houston man sentenced in hot tub scam

by Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on May 19, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 19 at 5:00 PM

HOUSTON -- Prosecutors say a Houston man has been sentenced to 2 ½ years in federal prison for defrauding eBay customers who bought hot tubs that were never built.

U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno said the punishment given Wednesday to 48-year-old Steve Todd Lanni included three years of supervised release after prison and restitution totaling more than $190,000.

Lanni pleaded guilty to wire fraud in December after authorities accused the Factory Direct Spas owner of demanding full payment up front from the highest bidders on hot tub orders, then spending the money on trips and expensive meals.

Authorities say Lanni duped customers in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

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