Florida man accused of trying to buy $23 million in property, swindle cancer foundation using fake name

A Florida man is under arrest after allegedly attempting to use a false identity to purchase over $20 million in properties and a luxury car while also pledging $3 million to a well-known cancer research foundation.

Robert Schnepf, 48, was arrested on a single felony charge of scheming to defraud more than $50,000 after the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said they received reports the two-time convicted felon was attempting to fraudulently buy properties and a luxury car using the name “Robert Banagino,” WTVT-TV reported.

Authorities say Schnepf hired a local realtor after claiming he was a business owner visiting Sarasota after Hurricane Ian and expressed interest in purchasing one commercial property worth $17.5 million and another worth $5.2 million. 

Once the buying process was started, Schnepf said he was interested in purchasing a Rolls-Royce and was then connected with a dealership where he agreed to buy a 2022 Mercedes-Benz that cost more than $132,000, authorities said. 

While signing the paperwork, Schnepf used his real name and suggested to the employees that he possessed millions of dollars in assets. 

Additionally, authorities say the dealership’s manager introduced Schnepf to famed sports broadcaster Dick Vitale and the two met at Vitale’s home, where Schnepf pledged a $3 million donation to Vitale’s cancer research foundation.

 “This morning I am DEVASTATED & HEARTBROKEN to find out he is a notorious con man who has been arrested numerous times all over from NYC to Florida,” Vitale posted on Twitter after learning of Schnepf’s arrest.. “I believed that we had $3 million for kids vs cancer. I am sick to think in my house he was hugging my wife & I & so happy.”

Authorities were tipped off when the realtor began having doubts about Schnepf’s story and found in online searches that several social media pages accused him of having a history of fraud, WWSB-TV reported.

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