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Former banker goes to prison

Ed Camejo stole more than $1.2-million from clients; Friday he got 30 months.

By ABHI RAGHUNATHAN
Published March 24, 2007


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CLEARWATER - For eight years, Ed Camejo paid for the good life by stealing money from clients at Northern Trust Bank. He took more than $1.2-million to fund ski trips and home improvements and to play the stock market.

On Friday, Camejo learned the consequences of his thefts when Judge Jack Day sentenced him to 30 months in state prison. Camejo, who pleaded guilty to grand theft, will also have to serve 18 months in community confinement and then spend 11 years on probation while paying back Northern Trust the money he stole.

The prison sentence marked the end of a stunning downfall for a man whose life had once resembled a Horatio Alger success story. Camejo, 38, came to the United States from Cuba as a boy during the Mariel Boatlift. He rose to become a high-ranking executive at Northern Trust and the public face of the bank at many social events in St. Petersburg. He also was president of the Mahaffey Theater Foundation.

But he was arrested last year after Northern Trust discovered that he was stealing money, and his glamorous life disintegrated. He has already sold his Beach Drive home and given up his retirement accounts to pay back Northern Trust $617,803. He has to pay the bank an additional $709,421.

"I consider it an aggravating factor that Mr. Camejo was in a position of great trust at a fiduciary institution," said Day.

Day acknowledged that Camejo had been involved in the community and still has the support of his family, as well as some prominent citizens, including other parents with children at the Canterbury School.

But, Day said, Camejo's actions had "brought shame upon himself, his family and the Cuban community."

Camejo showed little emotion as the verdict was read. His wife, Marlene, hurriedly walked outside the courtroom as bailiffs began fingerprinting her husband.

According to sentencing guidelines, Camejo faced a minimum prison sentence of 21 months and a maximum of 30 years.

Prosecutors had asked for a five-year prison sentence. Camejo's attorney, Lucas Fleming, had asked Day at a previous hearing to depart from the guidelines and sentence Camejo to just probation, but Day denied that request.

"I thought that there was sufficient evidence for the court to find that the need for restitution outweighed the need for a prison sentence," Fleming said. He said Day's sentence suggested that he "wanted to send a message to the community that if they commit this type of crime, they will suffer the consequences."

Tom Durkin, an attorney representing Northern Trust, said the bank was "happy with the sentence the judge imposed." The bank has reimbursed the clients whose accounts Camejo stole from.

Theresa Domenico, who prosecuted Camejo, said she was pleased that Camejo will have to serve a prison sentence.

"He deserved to be punished for this," Domenico said.

Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

[Last modified March 24, 2007, 06:01:18]


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