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Sussex County woman scammed couple out of $8K to invest in fake company, police say

FRANKLIN BOROUGH, NJ (Sussex County) – A Sussex County woman has been charged after she allegedly scammed a couple out of more than $8,000 to invest in a fake company.

Maria L. Grasso Pantalone, 53, of Newton NJ was charged Wednesday with theft by deception.

On Oct. 23, a couple reported to police that sometime in 2017 Pantalone offered an opportunity to invest in a cigar lounge that was supposed to be opening in the Old Lafayette Village complex in Lafayette, police said.

The couple reported that they met with Pantalone on two separate occasions in Franklin and invested $8,200.00, police said.

The couple received receipts which indicated, Pantalone was the President and CEO of a company named Caribbean Imports Group, LLC., located in Franklin. It was later determined that no such company exists and never existed, police said.

Pantalone provided a copy of an intent to lease property for this business venture to the victims. The intent to lease property document was addressed to the new owners of the Shops at Lafayette Village in Lafayette. It was determined that the owners of the Shops at Lafayette Village had never conducted a business transaction with Pantalone and never had an intention to lease property to her, police said.

Pantalone was arrested in Hamburg, NJ near 90 Route 23 by police for identifying herself as the owner of a business which never existed and taking investments only to use the investments for personal reasons and not the investment, police said.

Pantalone was released pending a court appearance.

Anyone who may have been defrauded by Pantalone are encouraged to contact Franklin Borough Police Detective Daniel Flora at 973-827- 7700 ext 237.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook