Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sentencings Delayed In FirstPlus Case

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Mobster Nicodemo S. Scarfo and his partner-in-crime Salvatore Pelullo will have to wait two more months before they find out how much time they will be spending as guests of the federal government for their convictions in the FirstPlus Financial fraud case.

Sentencings originally set for this week before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Kugler in Camden have been pushed back to June in order for authorities to have more time to prepare what are expected to be detailed pre-sentence reports.

Scarfo, 49, and Pelullo, 47, are looking at jail time in the 20- to 30-year range. Both have prior convictions which enhance the guidelines used to determine the range of sentence in federal cases.

They each were convicted of more than 20 counts in the racketeering fraud case. The government charged that the pair took behind-the-scenes control of FirstPlus in 2007 and siphoned more than $12 million out of the Texas-based mortgage company through bogus business transactions and phony consulting contracts.

Prosecutors alleged that Pelullo was the point man in the takeover and that he and Scarfo used their mob connections to intimidate and threaten FirstPlus officials who balked at the takeover.

Scarfo, the son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo D. "Little Nicky" Scarfo, has prior convictions for racketeering and gambling. Pelullo has two prior convictions for fraud.

At a brief hearing this morning, Kugler rejected a motion filed by Pelullo asking the judge to recuse himself from the sentencing process. Pelullo's lawyers argued that Kugler should step aside because the judge had preconceived negative opinions about Pelullo that would make it impossible for him to impose an fair sentence.

Kugler rejected those arguments. It was the third time the judge has denied motions from Pelullo asking for a recusal.

Scarfo and Pelullo have been held without bail since their arrests in November 2011. Scarfo's new sentencing date is June 23. Pelullo is scheduled to go before Kugler on June 1.

Co-defendants John and William Maxwell also had their sentencings delayed. John Maxwell, the former CEO of FirstPlus, will be sentenced on June 24. His brother, a lawyer hired as private counsel to FirstPlus, will hear his fate on June 26.

The brothers were convicted of racketeering and fraud charges tied to the takeover and looting of FirstPlus by Scarfo and Pelullo. Kugler revoked their bail and ordered them jailed after a jury delivered guilty verdicts in the case last year.

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

1 comment

  1. The question is, what have they been doing these past couple of months? Your telling me they need five months to put together a pre sentencimg report? That's ridiculous! They must be writing a novel.


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