Man who scammed NHL in '90s pleads guilty to forgery charges in northeast Ohio

SportsAssociated Press

A man who went to prison on fraud charges after trying to buy an NHL franchise in the 1990s has pleaded guilty to forgery charges in Ohio.

Fifty-year-old John Spano faces up to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty late Monday to 16 counts of forgery. Authorities say the company Spano worked for paid him thousands of dollars in commissions based on non-existent sales from fraudulent accounts. He remains free on bond prior to his sentencing next month in suburban Cleveland.

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Spano tried to buy the New York Islanders in 1996 for $165 million. The deal unraveled after it was discovered he was not the wealthy businessman he portrayed himself to be. An FBI investigation and criminal prosecution followed.

Spano's Ohio attorney did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday.