Fort Lauderdale grandmother earns nickname 'Mrs. Money Bags' for role in $49.6M fraud

Mae Rabuffo and Domenico "Dom" Rabuffo sentenced to prison for defrauding Bank of America, Regions Bank, SunTrust Bank, and Wachovia Bank


MIAMI – The 75-year-old grandmother was known as "Mrs. Money Bags," a witness who testified in her trial said.

Mae Rabuffo earned the nickname for her role in a $49.6 million mortgage fraud scheme, prosecutors said. But she said she was innocent. She blamed all of her woes on falling blindly in love and getting married in 1979 to an associate of the notorious Genovese crime family.

During her trial she claimed the love of her life  --- Domenico "Dom"  Rabuffo, 78, --- was a con artist, who used her. They have 14 grand kids. He lived the high-life and had a much younger fiancee. She was alone cutting coupons and baking cookies. Her attorney called him a devil.

Rabuffo's love was involved in the development of the Ritz Carlton in Miami's Coconut Grove, where he later lived in a penthouse. She had homes in Willinston Park, Long Island, and Fort Lauderdale.

The couple divorced in 1986, but continued to have a relationship until 2013.

She should have chosen to never see him again when a Genovese crime family gunman killed their friend Irwin "Fat Man" Schiff in 1987 at a Manhattan restaurant. The two were involved in fraud at the time.

That was when he turned on the Genovese and became a government informant. He served time for fraud. His faithful ex-wife was there for him when he got out in 1994. She won $540,367 in the Pick Six, a racetrack in New York. He found work with the McCann group in construction.

To get away from it all, he moved to Florida and began to invest in real estate. Decades later, prosecutors accused the Rabuffos of defrauding FDIC-insured lenders, including Bank of America, Regions Bank, SunTrust Bank, and Wachovia Bank.

Prosecutors said that between 2003 and 2008 the couple used shell companies to acquire a residential development known as "Hampton Springs" with views of the Great Smoky Mountains in Cashiers, North Carolina.

They never developed the property. Instead, they recruited straw buyers with a $12,500 payment, a witness said during trial. They conspired with others to falsify documents and do what ever it took to get the loans, prosecutors said.

Chief U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore recently sentenced her to 14 years in prison.  He was sentenced to 27. Their associates Raymond E. "Ray" Olivier, 53, of Land O' Lakes, Florida, and Curtis Allen Davis, 52, of Tampa, Florida, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison for their roles in the fraud.