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Ballroom dancing swindler dies in prison

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Michael Pasquarelli during a court proceeding Michael Pasquarelli during a court proceeding
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Convicted Safety Harbor ballroom dance studio swindler Michael Pasquarelli died in a Florida prison medical ward Sunday at the age of 58.

A Department of Corrections spokesperson said he died of natural causes. Pasquarelli had suffered from cancer in recent years. His ex-wife Corinne Rungo said Pasquarelli's death was "sad."

Pasquarelli gained notoriety for romancing and exploiting elderly women at his dance studio in Safety Harbor. A Pinellas Jury convicted him of racketeering in 2006 and a judge sentenced Pasquarelli to 30 years in prison.

Two years ago Pasquarelli won a chance to argue for new trial, but a Pinellas judge ultimately denied that request.

In 2012, Pasquarelli told Eight On Your Side he hoped to write a book highlighting the "do's" and "don'ts" of the dance studio profession after winning his freedom.

By the end of Pasquarelli's life the ravages of cancer had stolen the good looks charming demeanor that helped him win the hearts and steal the fortunes of his elderly dance students.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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