Thursday, October 16, 2014

Scarfo, Pelullo, Maxwells Seek New Trial In FirstPlus Fraud Case

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

They want a do over.

And if they're granted a new trial, they don't want any mention of the mob.

That's the essence of a 72-page motion filed by lawyers for Salvatore Pelullo and joined by lawyers for Nicodemo Scarfo and brothers John and William Maxwell asking Judge Robert Kugler to overturn their convictions and order a retrial in the FirstPlus financial fraud case.

A hearing on the motion and the government's response is set for Monday. Sentencings, which were originally scheduled for Oct. 21, 22 and 23, have been moved to January for all four defendants.

The defense motion is built around the argument that organized crime involvement was improperly and inaccurately introduced into the fraud case and created undue prejudice for the defendants. Lawyers for the Maxwell brothers have also filed separate motions raising issues specific to their clients. John Maxwell, for example, argued again that he was only following the advice of professionals hired by the company and had no direct knowledge of the scam.

Kugler rejected similar arguments that were filed by the defense both before and during the lengthy six-month trial.

While it's unlikely the judge would reverse himself, the filings set the stage for a continued appeal on what was a major defense argument: the government created undue prejudice by introducing the spectre of organized crime in a case that had no proven mob connections.

The evidence in the case failed to conform to the picture painted for both the judge in pre-trial arguments and for the jury during the trial, Pelullo's court-appointed lawyers Troy Archie and Michael Farrell argued in their motion.

The "unsubstantiated allegations made the defendants criminals in the jurors' minds before the trial even started," the lawyers wrote. They argued that the prosecution relied on "gossip, hearsay, stereotypes, innuendo, appearance and image" rather than evidence in its attempt to present a case in which it was alleged that the defendants "had pilfered a public company in order to aggrandize the mob's wealth."

Scarfo, 48, and Pelullo, 46, were convicted of orchestrating the behind-the-scenes takeover of FirstPlus Financial Group in May 2007. The troubled Texas-based mortgage company was then looted, the government alleged, through bogus consulting contracts and straw business purchases that resulted in $12 million being siphoned out of the company.

Among other things, the prosecution alleged that the money was used to support the lavish lifestyles of Scarfo, the son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo D. "Little Nicky" Scarfo, and of Pelullo.

Those life styles included fancy cars -- Pelullo bought a $217,000 Bentley Continental -- expensive homes and a yacht (valued at $850,000) that was christened "Priceless."

The scam began to unravel in April 2008 when the FBI conducted a series of raids in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Texas. the raids targeted the FirstPlus offices in Irving, Texas, and the offices of businesses set up by Scarfo and Pelullo in Philadelphia and in the Atlantic City area. Pelullo's home in Elkins Park and Scarfo's $715,000 home in Atlantic County were also hit.

The government alleged among other things that Scarfo fraudulently obtained a mortgage for that home through the FirstPlus scam. Scarfo's wife, Lisa Murray-Scarfo, pleaded guilty to a mortgage fraud charge and is awaiting sentencing. Several other co-defendants also pleaded guilty prior to the start of the trial.

Scarfo and Pelullo were each found guilty of more than 20 counts, ranging from racketeering conspiracy and fraud to money-laundering and obstruction of justice. John Maxwell, the CEO of FirstPlus, and his brother, William, a lawyer hired by the company, were also convicted of racketeering conspiracy and related offenses. Three other defendants, including Scarfo's longtime criminal defense attorney Donald Manno, were found not guilty.

The trial opened in January and the verdicts were delivered on July 3.

The indictment handed up in the case also listed the elder Scarfo and Luchese crime family boss Vittorio "Vic" Amuso as unindicted co-conspirators. Both are serving lengthy federal prison terms and were inmates together in Atlanta at the time the scam was hatched.

But in the motion for a new trial, lawyers argued that there was no evidence -- other than Scarfo's familial tie to the his father -- to back up the government's claim that the mob was involved in the FirstPlus takeover.

"The Government has been allowed to visit the sins of the father upon the son," the motion reads in part, adding that the spectre of organized crime "infected the trial" and created an undue prejudice.

The defense said that the investigation began as an organized crime probe, but said when the evidence instead demonstrated that it was really a "garden variety white collar fraud," the government continued to promote it as a mob case, using organized crime references and allegations in wiretap affidavits, pre-trial motions and in arguments to the jury. The defense argued that those references and unsubstantiated claims created the unfair prejudice that tainted the case and that should result in the convictions being thrown out and a new trial ordered.

"The problem is that the Government refused to let go of the LCN/Scarfo fixation," the lawyers argued. "Instead of simply altering its theory to focus on the alleged FPFG fraud, the Prosecutors shoehorned their theory into an LCN mold that simply didn't fit."

George Anastasia can be reached at George@bigtrial.net.


83 comments:

  1. These Guys Are The Real Gangsters!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your right not like shake down looser Joe Ligambi these guys have brains and know how to make money! !

      Delete
  2. What is Joey Pung up to?

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  3. why dont you ask him.

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  4. These ASSHOLES Are Fighting Over Poker Machines Making $300 A Week!!!

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. How bouts a word from unc da old boss

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  5. Replies
    1. Ahh yes Uncle Joe is home! !

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  6. You people are so bitter....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Could u see nicky and handjob pelullo explaining bank scam to BGB UNCLE JOE JOEY AND MARTY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While there talking Joey would ask to see pelullo.s rolex try it on and keep it

      Delete
  8. Ahhhhh spider why dont you dance us a few steps com onn

    ReplyDelete
  9. These Morons Would Rat On There Mother!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Stevie Still Tanning?

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. Scarfo Hated Uncle Joe!!

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    Replies
    1. a lot of people hate Joe like the Delfanzo family for example!

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    2. Also the Cassanto, Mortoranto and the Turchi familys.many many more to.

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    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    4. Hows bouts the people mortarano turchi and cossanto killed or stabbed what short memories we have did u forget. As for Scarfo he hated himself thats why he.s where hes at. Their scam artist its what they do only these guys dont have unions concrete bussinesses a couple clubs or restarants because u gotta get up in the morning. Well wont be long the Christmas tree gang will be selling trees for the commisary slush fund. The guys who should be running things are Billy m and Vinney m at least they go to work everyday and make legit money too only to have to give these tree house boys envelopes. At least Uncle Joe did have a nice little run but made one or two mistakes and left them 2 living which will unfortunetly come back to bite him in the ass.
      Oh ya Top of the morning to all ginney hoodlums.

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  13. Yo cuz give me a pepper and egg

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  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  15. You people are pathetic. It's actually sad how I can tell based on the repetitive comments, that it's the same five wanna be gangsters, who in reality would hold these guys jocks if they could, but they can't so they just troll online and make terrible jokes.

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  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  17. Leave The RatFellas Alone!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    Replies
    1. And maybe Wives to! !!

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    2. And maybe Wives to! !

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    3. Wow uncle Joe has a lot of fans

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  19. Looks like uncle Joe approved the hit against the Rayos then to protect himself and his family members who were on the payroll at Galatis auto body shop. Not to mention his son getting pinched for insurance fraud. Wow what a coincidence. .

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  20. Rico Murders Are Next!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  21. Has Georgie boy been hanging at the Philadium?

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  22. Replies
    1. what about Cholly Bears?

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    2. Uncle Joe still has the poker machines there

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  23. Noooo Curt Does!!!!!!!

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  24. George A why are you only removing comments about Ron Galati and his partner in crime Uncle Joe Ligambi?

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    Replies
    1. Rocco Manascalco was also a body shop owner who was killed by the mob on Ligambis watch and word on that George A? I know the Fed's are looking at uncle Joe for that and the Rayos
      murder for higher

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    2. Where there is smoke there's fire!

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    3. What does the FirstPlus case have to do with Galati or Ligambi? That's the primary reason. The second reason is that I'm tired of being the hall monitor. There are too many people who wouldn't say in person face-to-face the kind of stuff they write here. I put my name on what I write. Too many of the people who comment here don't have the balls to do that.

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    4. George, who gives a shit who puts their names out there or what their talking about on here? This blog is going based on advertisers, you keep worrying about what gangster everyone's talking about n blocking the comments only keeps everyone away once they read the story, let people talk about whoever, it's shit that's already out there anyway.

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    5. George is 100% correct. What's wrong with advertising? You work for free?

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    6. Hi ed loved that mario puzo article been busy catcha soon
      Jersey

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    7. Ed, you missed the whole point, what was ment was, if George keeps worrying that people r talking about other gangsters besides the story he's writing n closes down the comments then no one stays on this blog, how does that help the advertisers who are investing on here?

      Delete
  25. Where There Is The Philly Mob There's Rats!

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  26. These Clowns Better Go Get A Job!!!! It's Over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Did Uncle Joe loose his job at Galatis body shop?

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  27. He Got Laid Off !!! Lol

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  28. George Your A Good Guy!!! But You Don't Need To Have Balls With These Guys!!! Their Not Tough Guys!! Take That To The Bank!

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  29. your rite their drunks!! and can't fight !!!!! plus their all 5foot tall all chumps!!!!!! Lol

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  30. BGB is Gunning for top spot and taking names

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  31. LANCELOOOOOOOOTT !!!!!!!!!!!

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  32. These guys can appeal all they want even if they win a new trial the jury will convict handjob pellulo and Jr just prolonging the inevitable

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  33. This shit here is crazy everyone is tough here... these same guys give the same fake hello s to the people they anonymously right about ..south Philly its embarrassing to be from here.... HEY GEORGE A ... Y IS THIS BLOG EVEN HERE??? I bet the feds had u do it they probably sit there all day long monitoring were they come from. .. hey GEORGE A WHY U ALWAYS WRITE ABOUT THE ITALIANS??? were u adopted ...and IRISH at heart???I was tought if u don't have something nice to say don't say nothing at all... u were never tought

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    Replies
    1. But it okay for u to post ur nasty thoughts about George A then sign anonymous. Just may be ur the real dick head.

      Delete
  34. GIVE ME A NICKLE ON ALL THE PRO OVERS TODAY . PUT IT UNDER BEEF.

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    Replies
    1. 9 UNDERS 4 OVERS FOR A 2950 LOSS GO FIGURE .

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  35. Replies
    1. No just a better not lance or?

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  36. u got it big chief.....

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  37. Their All Rats!!!.Come On......

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    Replies
    1. Are u another So philly computer tuff guy who smacks his pud lol

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  38. Ah Uncle Joe u go down the shooore for oktoberfest havnt heard from u a couple days hope everyting ok

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  39. Replies
    1. May be ur broke but not uncle Joe to many envelopes coming in still.

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  40. Replies
    1. BGB wants to make a move to top spot and get his Del County accounts Back.

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  41. Some Guy From Canada!... Lol Is The Boss

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  42. BOSS OF WHAT!!!!!!!??????

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  43. Rat farm that's what!!

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  44. HEY SO PHILLY WERE
    THE MOBSTERS OF BROTHERLY LOVE
    DEAL WITH IT !!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Why does everyone talking about uncle joe putting a hit on the rayos why would he do that to his own family and what proof is there makes no sense

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    1. Uncle Joe and Galati are partners on the side in body shop scam moron. Joe eould have his ownother killed not to loose a dime. If Galati goes down so does good old uncle Joe. You will see watch what happens in the next few months! !

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  46. It's Sad Philly Is Knew As Rats!!!!!!! Thanks To The Mob!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. No not knew-- known u
      FRIGGIN illiterate as for rats every city especialy the New York five ' Detroit ' The outfit
      Street gangsmost smart people arent gonna do time for somebody eles bull shit especily rico acts thems days are over folks so do ur gig bye ur self kick up a fee let the big boys take the hits and hold the title dontneed to be einestein to figure that out chief Billy Vinney and so on

      Delete
  47. That's The RatFellas!

    ReplyDelete

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