April 03, 2000 07:55pm
Ex-Brothel Madam Sentenced in Nev.
by: Scott Sonner
(RENO, NV) -- A former madam who remained on a brothel's payroll after she became a county commissioner was sentenced Monday to nearly four years in prison for her role in a racketeering and money laundering scheme.
Federal prosecutors said Shirley Colletti and others conspired to conceal that they were operating the Mustang Ranch as a front for former brothel owner Joseph Conforte, a fugitive who FBI agents think is hiding in South America.
They said she wired payments overseas on several occasions and remained on the payroll as a consultant to the Mustang Ranch while serving as a county commissioner so she could benefit the brothel.
Colletti, 63, insisted that she was unaware of any illegal activity at the Mustang Ranch, a legal house of prostitution just east of Reno.
``I'm devastated because I'm standing here before you and I've never done anything wrong. If I'd known it was wrong, I would never have done it,'' Colletti told the judge.
Colletti's lawyers said she was duped into helping Conforte and pointed to her record of helping the community.
U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben said he took into consideration Colletti's public service to Storey County in settling on the sentence of three years and 10 months, instead of the maximum of four years and nine months.
McKibben also ordered her to forfeit $200,000 and report to prison June 5.