- Associated Press - Saturday, April 18, 2015

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) - A New York City man who stole more than $187,000 from two New Jersey couples who thought he was helping them with their mortgages has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Monmouth County prosecutors say 51-year-old Mario Coniglione, of Staten Island, also must pay restitution to both couples under the sentence imposed Friday. He had pleaded guilty last December to two counts of theft.

While claiming to be a mortgage broker, Coniglione took $100,000 in payments from a Freehold couple and made them believe he had renegotiated the terms of their home mortgage with their lender.

The couple gave Coniglione regular monthly payments, believing the money was going toward their mortgage. But he instead kept the money for himself.

Coniglione also admitted stealing more than $78,000 in mortgage payments from a Jackson Township couple in a similar scam.

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