article from the board at www.patty-schnyder.com
Schnyder's Fiance Sentenced To 18 Months For Fraud
By Tennis Week
A judge presided over the proceedings, but Patty Schnyder’s fiancé offered a guilty plea rather than a wedding vow. Rainer Hoffmann, who has been engaged to Schnyder since last winter, was sentenced to 18 months in jail and three years probation for fraud in a Frankfurt court last month.
The 34-year-old Hoffmann pled guilty to embezzling more than $600,000 from Deutsche-Telekom by conducting a series of bogus transactions between 1995 and 1998. According to a published report from Tages-Anzeiger written by Urs Ellenberger, Hofmann admitting leasing thousands of dollars worth of fax and communication equipment from Telekom. The self-described “private commercial investigator” falsified invoices to avoid making leasing payments to the company before selling the equipment back to Telekom and pocketing the cash.
In addition to the leasing scam, Hoffmann sold the company a yacht he claimed belonged to a Belgian diplomat. Prosecutors charged that neither the yacht nor the diplomat “ever actually existed.”
Described by Ellenberger as “a dark, bearish German” Hofmann spent some of his time in court “grinning sarcastically” as prosecutors detailed his transgressions. Hofmann’s attorney told judge Eva-Maria Wagner he was pleading guilty to spare Schnyder the embarrassment of an extended trial and the ensuing publicity.
While the official Patty Schnyder web site does not refer to her relationship to Hofmann, the site contains the credit: “Pagination and contents: Patty Schnyder/Rainer Hofmann” at the bottom of the front page.
In addition to the fraud charges, Hofmann pled guilty to forgery in connection to a summons sent to his ex-wife from Frankfurt prosecutors requesting to interview her as part of the investigation into the Telekom case. Hofmann intercepted the summons and forged his former wife’s signature to a statement saying she refused to testify.
Initially denying the charges, Hofmann ultimately confessed his guilt. In delivering the sentence, judge Wagner said Hofmann committed “significant criminal behavior” and also required him to make a “symbolic” donation to a children’s cancer fund.
Hofmann represents Schnyder’s second controversial companion. She previously dated Rainer Harnecker, a self-described “alternative therapist” who took over as Schynder’s coach and came under criticism from Schnyder’s parents for allegedly creating her estrangement from her family as well as implementing a bizarre dietary program largely based on fruit juice.
After completing three consecutive seasons outside the top 20, Schnyder enjoyed a resurgence this season as she beat Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati in succession en route to the Charleston final, qualified for the WTA’s season-ending championships for the first time in four years and finished the season ranked No. 13. While Hofmann had been at Schnyder’s side for much of the year the pairing has generated little press attention.