- ACF CEO SENTENCED IN SECURITIES FRAUD CASE

May 19, 2006
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by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
ACF CEO Sentenced in Securities Fraud Case
by Ivan Trembow

Rico Vecchiarelli, the CEO of American Championship Fighting, was sentenced in a Denver, Colorado courtroom on Friday, May 19th to four years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of securities fraud. The judge in the case ruled that Vecchiarelli, also known as Rico Vecc, would immediately be eligible for a work-release program and could be released from prison in the very near future.

Vecchiarelli was taken into custody after his guilty plea and will most likely be released from prison under a work-release program at some point in the near future. When and if he is released from prison under the work-release program, he would most likely, but not definitely, have to reside in a half-way house and would be allowed to report to work for a certain amount of time each day.

The charges brought against Vecchiarelli in this case had no relation to the ACF. Previously, Vecchiarelli was sentenced to four years in prison for second-degree assault in the 90s. In addition to his title of CEO of the ACF, Vecchiarelli is also listed as the CEO of the National Wealth Institute at nationalwealthinstitute.com, under the name Rico Vecc. In addition, Vecchiarelli is the author of a book entitled, “How to Become a Millionaire in your Jeans and a T-Shirt.”

Vecchiarelli was arrested in July 2005 and charged with securities fraud in the real estate business. The Colorado Attorney General’s Office said in its original statement about the securities fraud charges against Vecchiarelli and his accomplice, Sean Zweifel, that Vecchiarelli and Zweifel “swindl[ed] Colorado investors out of thousands of dollars” by offering to them “investments in Vecchiarelli’s company, Infinity Investment Properties, LLC, for the purpose of financing the purchases of residential property.”

In the media release from July 2005 when Vecchiarelli was arrested, the Attorney General’s Office continued, “Vecchiarelli allegedly induced investors by making promises of substantial rates of return on short-term investments of as little as 60 days. Vecchiarelli allegedly represented that he and his company owned a significant inventory of residential properties. It is further alleged that Vecchiarelli then diverted significant portions of the funds for his own personal use.”

Vecchiarelli will continue to be the CEO of the ACF. After being sentenced today, Vecchiarelli said in an ACF press release, “I made some mistakes that resulted in legal charges. I accept personal responsibility for this and now I have to deal with the consequences. ACF had nothing to do with this; it is a completely separate matter.”

Regardless of when or if Vecchiarelli is let out of prison under a work-release program, the ACF’s next show will take place as scheduled on July 15th, and Vecchiarelli’s sentencing today will not have any negative impact on the day-to-day operations of the ACF.

In addition to all of the statements in the ACF press release, further comment was offered to MMAWeekly by the ACF’s Director of MMA Relations, Ken Pishna, who said, “I just want to be clear with everyone, this definitely does not tear down what we have built up as a company. Rico made some mistakes in the past and he is willing to stand up and do what is right to correct the situation. He has always entrusted much of the daily operations to the people that work for the ACF and that will not change. From day one, we have focused our efforts on showing the fighters the respect that they deserve as professional athletes so that they can go out and compete before MMA fans as does an NFL player before his fans. That is still our focus and we will not diverge from it. We will continue to grow and resolve make the ACF the best company that we can.”

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