Leonardo DiCaprio: if you want to be his BFF, be a criminal, too. This week Helly Nahmad, the son of an international art dealer, pleaded guilty to a single count of gambling in Federal court. He’ll pay $6.4 million in restitution and give up a painting worth of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nahmad, who has been Di Caprio’s best pal for some time now, faces a sentence of 12- 18 months in federal prison.
District Attorney Preet Bharara’s office said in a statement: “Hillel Nahmad headed an illegal sports gambling business with ties to a Russian-American organized crime ring. Nahmad bet that he would never get caught and he lost.”
Helly told the court: “Judge, this all started as a group of friends betting on sports events, but I recognize that I crossed the line, and I apologize to the court and my family.”
In the end, Nahmad got a sweet deal. If he’d gone to trial and had been convicted he could have gotten 92 years in the pokey.He had to admit to being the primary financier of a $100 million gambling ring. His sentencing isn’t until next March and he probably won’t go to jail. The $6.4 million fine is like pocket change. He and his family are worth billions. Crime pays!
For Leo it’s his second pal since 2001 who’s had to admit guilt of fraud in a federal court. Dana Giacchetto served a little more time in jail and was ordered to pay $14 million in restitution to his victims. It’s unclear if he’s ever paid anyone back for ripping off celebrities and local friends includign DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in a Ponzi scheme.
Ironically each of Di Caprio’s movies this year– “The Great Gatsby” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”– are about questionable or criminal financiers. Maybe he’s just studying these people for his roles.