Restitution of $22 Million by Pair Ordered

Two Orange County men were ordered to pay $21.9 million in restitution to several financial institutions they defrauded in a phony equipment leasing and tax scheme.

Robert P. Bernfeld, 37, of Huntington Beach and John Newton Griffith, 39, of Santa Ana were ordered in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to pay the restitution on top of prison sentences and fines that were imposed last month.

Prosecutors said the defendants arranged phony transactions to buy audio equipment--including gear for rock concerts and recording studios--and then sold worthless leases based on those transactions to different financial companies.

Bernfeld was sentenced Oct. 23 to eight years in prison and fined $60,000. Griffith received a three year sentence and a $13,500 fine.

The financial institutions involved were not identified.

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