Too late for apology: Judge gives man max sentence after fundraiser theft

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RAVENNA, Ohio-- A man convicted of stealing thousands of dollars from a fundraiser held to help a local music legend will spend the next three years behind bars- the maximum sentence for the crime.

Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman sentenced Bill Thompson, a former restaurant owner, to the prison term during Monday’s sentencing hearing.

Thompson apologized for his actions and told the judge that he mismanaged funds that were collected for Sonny Geraci’s fundraiser, which was held last November in Streetsboro.

However, Geraci’s family and friends say Thompson’s comments come too late.

“He’s had a significant amount of time to make restitution and obviously he refused to do that,” said Mary Lou Geraci, Sonny Geraci’s wife.

Judge Pittman also told Thompson that he had showed no remorse for taking more than $28,000 from Geraci.

Geraci suffered an aneurysm about two years ago. Geraci is best known for his biggest hit song Precious and Few, which was released in 1971.

“Going by his numbers, $28,000 went into his pocket and he walked away leaving Sonny Geraci, somebody that is disabled, without anything,"  said Eugene Muldowney, assistant prosecutor.

Chuck Kocisko, who helped organize the event, said he was saddened by the entire situation and is glad it’s now over.

The judge also ordered Thompson to make full restitution to the Geraci family.