Man accused of pocketing money from high-end instrument scheme - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Man accused of pocketing money from high-end instrument scheme


A scheme police say involved a man pocketing thousands of dollars has a number of folks "strung out."

The suspect, who is being identified as Charles Magby Jr., is accused of promising to sell people's high-end instruments for them and making off with all of the money.

"It's been very difficult, very emotional situation for her," said attorney Henry Silverman.

Silverman represents a 78-year-old woman from Indiana, who gave Magby her $165,000 Lorenzo Ventapane Cello made in 1810. Magby agreed to sell it for no less than $130,000. It took him six months, but at the end of last year, he found a buyer.

"He in fact was able to sell the instrument for $130,000," Silverman said.

But then, according to Silverman, Magby disappeared.

"She attempted to phone and correspond with him to no avail," Silverman said.

Court documents show this is all too common. Magby is accused of doing the same thing to others, all elderly people.

The victims include a 76-year-old Michigan man, whose cello was worth $125,000. A 62-year-old California woman whose cello and bows were valued at $27,000.

A 77-year-old Bloomfield woman had a cello worth $70,000 and was sold for $45,000. She said the check Magby sent her bounced.

"How do we know he won't sell three instruments this week and the money disappears," Silverman said.

In court Tuesday, Magby's case was continued and in three weeks, he will be back in court. 

Guilford police were able to confirm, many instruments were sold, but Magby didn't have the money. He said he used it to repay people from other purchases.

At his home office, Magby did answer his door Tuesday morning. With violins still in plain view at his office, the business continues. Neighbors said it shouldn't.

"To think there's someone right around the corner who's taking people's extremely valuable possessions, and reselling them for his own profit is kinda disturbing," said Rob Federici of Guilford.

Magby was charged with first-degree larceny. However, police said the case is under investigation and more charges could be filed.

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