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Con Man Sentenced in "Field of Dreams" Scam

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced that Jack Ranallo, aka Jack Dorvis, aka Jack Norris, (DOB: 6/29/58), with a last known address of 39 Peacedale Road, Cumberland, was sentenced on January 9, 2012 for his scheme to defraud 10 families of $31,500 with promises that their teenage sons would play for an elite baseball team associated with the Baltimore Orioles, as well as his scheme to further defraud two of these same families out of an additional $50,000 by pleading with them to help him set up a baseball academy for underprivileged children that would be financially supported by the Baltimore Orioles.

Ranallo pled nolo contendere on December 6, 2011 to obtaining money under false pretenses, bad checks and filing false documents. Superior Court Justice Francis J. Darigan, Jr., presided over the proceedings.

In accordance to the plea agreement, Ranallo was sentenced to 15 years, with two and one half to serve with the remainder suspended with probation, and was ordered to pay restitution to the victims. Ranallo, who was out on $30,000 surety bail, was remanded to the ACI immediately upon sentencing.

"Jack Ranallo preyed on every little leaguer's dream of one day playing for the Majors," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Delusions of grandeur and greed were at the core of his elaborate scheme to con hardworking families out of tens of thousands of dollars for his personal use. Thanks to the families for coming forward and the investigative efforts of the Rhode Island State Police, Jack Ranallo has finally struck out."

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that between April, 2007 and February, 2008, Ranallo portrayed himself as a former minor league baseball player with official ties to the Baltimore Orioles organization in order to fraudulently solicit and obtain funds from families who believed Ranallo was establishing a baseball academy and an elite summer league team with the full backing and authority of the Orioles. Ranallo also implied to the families that the players would be scouted as a result of playing on the elite team and his relationship with the Orioles.

Ten families made payments totaling $31,500 to Ranallo for the creation and operation of an elite baseball team that would play up to 80 games during the summer with other elite teams. Ranallo informed the players and their families that he would refund half the cost of joining the team once he received matching funds from the Baltimore Orioles. In addition, Ranallo solicited and obtained what he promised as "short term loans" from two victims with the funds to be held in escrow totaling $45,000 for a baseball academy for underprivileged children. Ranallo led the victims to believe that the Baltimore Orioles were going to match funding and that funds would be returned in approximately 30 days.

The State would have proved Ranallo never played minor league baseball and did not have any connection to the Orioles organization. Further, the State would have proved that Ranallo used the funds for personal living expenses including coming current with his mortgage payments hours before his home was scheduled to be auctioned at a foreclosure sale.

Special Assistant Attorneys General Emily Maranjian and Carole McLaughlin prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General. Detective Richard Ptaszek of the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit led the investigation. During the course of the investigation, the State Police found that Ranallo was arrested in Maryland in 1999 in a similar case in which he posed as a former baseball player for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Most recently, Ranallo was arraigned in Sixth District Court on January 12, 2012 on a Rhode Island State Police complaint charging him with one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $500 and a misdemeanor charge of providing a false document in an alleged con to defraud a Kentucky family of nearly $100,000 in a Kentucky land deal scheme.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of the Attorney General

Online: http://www.riag.ri.gov/

Release date: 01-24-2012

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