PHILADELPHIA — An heir to the Scripps newspaper fortune was sentenced to nine years in federal prison on Monday after being found guilty of embezzling $3.6 million from his mother and mentally disabled uncle to pay for a lavish lifestyle.
Michael Scripps, whose family once owned newspapers such as the Detroit News, had been convicted of seven counts of wire fraud, defined as using interstate wire communications for the purposes of fraud.
The case, which unfolded during a week-and-a-half trial in Philadelphia federal court in April, was rich with details of the spending habits of Scripps.
Scripps, 36, married a stripper, who became his first wife, after buying her expensive gifts, according to testimony.
Michael Dezsi, a Detroit lawyer who represented Scripps, said the defense disputed that Scripps was ever legally married to the stripper, Anna, who nonetheless changed her name to Scripps.
Later, Scripps began buying diamond jewels for an adult film star, whose stage name was Kiki Daire and paid for overseas trips for her.
Scripps will appeal the verdict and the sentence, which was imposed by U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis, Dezsi said.
“My client has maintained through these proceedings that he had permission to spend family money as he had always done,” Dezsi said in an email.
Family members did not complain until the family fortune was nearly all spent, Dezsi said, leading to charges against Michael Scripps.
The patriarch of the Scripps family in Michigan was James E. Scripps, who owned the Detroit News. He was the half-brother of Edward Willis Scripps, the founder of what became the Scripps-Howard newspaper group. The two newspaper companies were separately owned.