Man who tried scam to buy Islanders gets 10 years for forgery

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — A man who once tried to pull off an audacious scam to buy the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for another fraud case in northeast Ohio.

Fifty-year-old John Spano Jr. was sentenced Thursday in Painesville, 30 miles east of Cleveland, after pleading guilty last month to 16 counts of forgery. Spano was accused of collecting thousands of dollars in commissions from false accounts he’d created while working as a salesman for a health care laundry company.

Spano falsely represented that he was a wealthy businessman when he tried to buy one of the NHL’s most storied franchises in 1996 for $165 million. An FBI probe led to a conviction and a six-year prison sentence.

Spano’s attorneys in the Ohio case didn’t return phone messages Friday.