Efraim Diveroli, the young Miami Beach gun runner who stirred national outrage two years ago with a fraudulent a $300 million Pentagon ammunition deal, listened with downcast eyes yesterday as a federal judge read aloud his sentence: four years in prison, a $250,000 fine and $149,000 in restitution.
The term came after two hours of testimony from doctors about Diveroli's mental health and drug problems and emotional speeches by Diveroli's mom and relatives -- including celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who is his uncle. But Diveroli's arrest while out on bail in August didn't help his case.
"It's a sad day when anyone values their own self-worth by a dollar sign," said Judge Joan Lenard before handing down the sentence.
Diveroli, clad in a baggy tan prison jumpsuit, didn't visibly react to the sentence, but often looked distraught throughout the two hour hearing in the downtown Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse.
His defense team tried to paint Diveroli as repentant at last. His rabbi and his mother both told Lenard that they believed he "needs time in prison," but begged for leniancy.
Boteach -- who will soon headline the Rick Sanchez rehabilitation tour -- argued that his nephew could be reformed. "He is a brilliant person with a mind that far exceeds his maturity," Boteach said.
In the end, Lenard did knock a few points off Diveroli's sentencing guidelines before giving him most of the recommended five years in prison.
Diveroli's crimes first came to light through a stunning New York Times article in March 2008 that traced how the Pentagon had entrusted the then-22-year-old with an enormous contract to supply bullets to the Afghan National Army.
The paper's reporting showed that Diveroli had repackaged illegal, aging Chinese bullets to look like Albanian ammunition and then shipped it to Afghanistan.
Federal charges soon followed, and Diveroli pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy count in late 2009.
Then, in August, while out on bail and awaiting sentencing, Diveroli again found himself under arrest. Federal agents in Orlando say he tried to sell them rifle cartridges and bragged about firing automatic weapons in the Everglades.
He's still awaiting sentencing on the Orlando arrest.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.