Dino Grisanti pleads guilty to bank fraud

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Former auto dealer Dino Jerry Grisanti faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine after pleading guilty Thursday to bank fraud.
Grisanti, 44, admitted to a $2 million scheme to defraud Regions Bank, which gave his Grisanti Rebel Motors in Oxford a line of credit to buy vehicles for retail sale.
Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills heard the plea and will sentence Grisanti in several months, after the U.S. Probation Service develops a report detailing how much punishment should be meted out.
Until then, he will be free on his own recognizance.
After his financial difficulties mounted, Grisanti reportedly moved back to work in the car business in the Memphis area, where his family owns restaurants and other businesses.
As he stood before Mills to answer questions about the charges, his voice broke with emotion.
His attorney, Anthony Farese of Ashland, pointed out to Mills that his client readily admitted his wrongdoing, as soon as a Regions audit uncovered it. And he repaid the bank more than $200,000 owed after the dealership’s sale helped recoup about $2 million.
Grisanti’s scheme between Oct. 26 and Nov. 6, 2007, reportedly affected multiple Regions Bank sites.
He was charged in by a grand jury indictment, but his plea came to a document called an information, which doesn’t go through a grand jury.
The information was developed from plea negotiations with prosecutors.
Paul Roberts, assistant U.S. attorney, told Mills that Grisanti concealed the sale of 66 vehicles from Regions and lied to the bank about how many actually were sold.
In exchange for his guilty plea, the government agreed not to charge him with any other related offenses.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.