The Chicago Syndicate: Nicky Scarfo Jr

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Showing posts with label Nicky Scarfo Jr. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nicky Scarfo Jr. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Court Upholds Convictions of Nicky Scarfo Jr, Reputed Lucchese Crime Family Member, and Associate Salvatore Pelullo #Racketeering #Conspiracy #Fraud #MoneyLaundering

A member and associate of the Lucchese organized crime family, along with two Texas brothers, have had their convictions upheld for a criminal takeover that drained over $14 million from a Dallas mortgage firm in less than a year. The four claimed what they did was just "normal, run-of-the-mill" business practices, but it was more like typical Mafia practices.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced Nicodemo S. Scarfo, 57,
Nicky Scarfo Jr.
of Galloway, N.J., a member of the Lucchese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (LCN), and Salvatore Pelullo, 55, of Philadelphia, an associate of the Lucchese and Philadelphia LCN families, were convicted on July 13, 2014, of all counts against them. Two other defendants, William Maxwell, 63, of Houston, Texas, and his brother, John Maxwell, 70, of Irving, Texas, were also convicted.

The four defendants were convicted for their respective roles in the takeover and subsequent looting of FirstPlus Financial Group, a publicly held mortgage company based in Dallas. The defendants used extortionate threats to take control of the company, causing a loss of more than $14 million and leaving more than 1,000 shareholders with investments that had been rendered worthless. Scarfo and Pelullo were each sentenced to 30 years in prison; William Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison; and John Maxwell was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Originally, the four men, according to court filings, sought to legitimately invest in the company. There was just one problem. They didn’t have the money to do so.

Enter Jack Draper, a high-ranking employee at FirstPlus who had been fired. Draper had griped about his firing to Jack Roubinek — the two having become acquainted while employed at FirstPlus — and to William Maxwell. Roubinek was trying to put a group together to purchase FirstPlus.

Those three were joined by David Roberts, a mortgage broker from Staten Island, and Pelullo for a meeting in Dallas, where Draper, “bearing a grudge,” told the group he was willing to “divulge all” and falsely accuse the FirstPlus board and CEO Daniel Phillips of financial and personal improprieties (including a purported sexual assault and impregnation of a personal assistant who was paid off with company funds).

The threats had their intended effect. The appeals court decision said Phillips met with William Maxwell and Pelullo, who indicated the allegations would be dropped if Phillips and the FirstPlus board handed the business over to them.

“Evidently, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse,” the decision author quipped. “Phillips swiftly persuaded the entire board to give up their positions rather than try to engage in what would be a messy and expensive fight with Pelullo’s group.”

The four partners in crime then set about installing associates into key positions as executives and board members. FirstPlus was then used to buy companies tied to Pelullo and hire other companies as consultants for exorbitant fees. The appeals said the four viewed FirstPlus as their own personal retirement fund, but quickly blew through over $14 million.

The quartet’s greed came to light when Scarfo attempted to take over the Philadelphia branch of the Lucchese crime family. The FBI stumbled upon the FirstPlus scheme and seized the four men’s assets (including a yacht, Bentley, and private plane) in May 2008. They would be indicted in October 2011 and convicted in July 2014.

Scarfo’s, Pelullo’s, and William Maxwell’s defenses hinged on the proposition that they had simply been engaged in standard, run-of-the-mill business practices. John Maxwell, for his part, claimed he had been in the dark as to the others’ malfeasance, the appeals court decision said.

The government rebutted those narratives, telling jurors: “Is this how legitimate businessmen conduct themselves? The answer to that is overwhelmingly no. Legitimate businessmen don’t lie, they don’t cheat, they don’t steal.”

In a consolidated appeal, the defendants challenged almost every aspect of their prosecutions, including the investigation, the charges and evidence against them, the pretrial process, the government’s compliance with its disclosure obligations, the trial, the forfeiture proceedings, and their sentences.

The appellate court decision, written by Circuit Judge Kent A. Jordan and joined by Circuit Judges Thomas L. Ambro and Stephanos Bibas, affirmed the jury’s guilty verdicts on all of the underlying crimes, including participating in a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and firearms offenses. It also affirmed the prison sentences.

Thanks to Keith Griffin.


Monday, July 07, 2014

Nicodemo S. Scarfo and Salvatore Pelullo Convicted of Racketeering and Other Crimes

A member and an associate of the Lucchese organized crime family and two Texas brothers were convicted of racketeering and other charges after a six-month trial, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman for the District of New Jersey and Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced.

Nicodemo S. Scarfo, 49, of Galloway, N.J., a member of the Lucchese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (LCN) and Salvatore Pelullo, 47, of Philadelphia, an associate of the Lucchese and Philadelphia LCN families, were convicted of all the counts against them, including racketeering conspiracy and related offenses, including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice. Two other defendants, William and John Maxwell, were also convicted. Co-defendants David Adler, Gary McCarthy and Donald Manno were acquitted on all counts.

“Today, four people stand convicted for giving new meaning to ‘corporate takeover’ – looting a publicly traded company to benefit their criminal enterprise,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “The defendants stole more than $12 million from shareholders through rampant self-dealing, fraudulent SEC filings and intimidation. The public should not have to worry that the interests of shareholders are being subverted to benefit organized crime or for other corrupt ends.”

“Nicodemo Scarfo, Salvatore Pellulo and their cohorts used threats of physical and economic harm to take over a publicly traded financial firm, then callously and systematically looted the company out of millions of dollars to buy luxury items for themselves,” Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said. “As a result of today’s guilty verdict, this mafia member and his conspirators now face substantial prison sentences.”

The jury deliberated two weeks before delivering its verdicts following a six-month trial before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court. The defendants were charged in an indictment returned in 2011 by a federal grand jury in Camden. It named Nicodemo D. Scarfo (Scarfo Sr.) – Nicodemo S. Scarfo’s father and the imprisoned former boss of the Philadelphia LCN family – and Vittorio Amuso, the imprisoned boss of the Lucchese family, as conspirators.

Five other defendants – Cory Leshner, Howard Drossner, John Parisi, Todd Stark, and Scarfo’s wife, Lisa Murray-Scarfo – have previously pleaded guilty to various charges related to their roles in the criminal scheme.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

Scarfo is a made member of the Lucchese family, having become a member after an attempt on his life in 1989 following an internal struggle for control of the Philadelphia family. In the mid-1990s, while Scarfo Sr. and Amuso were in federal prison in Atlanta, Amuso arranged for Scarfo to become a member of the Lucchese family as a favor to Scarfo Sr. As a member of the Lucchese family, Scarfo was required to earn money and participate in the affairs of the Lucchese family.

In April 2007, Scarfo, Pelullo and others devised a scheme to take over FirstPlus Financial Group Inc. (FPFG), a publicly held company in Texas. Scarfo and Pelullo used threats of economic harm to intimidate and remove the prior management and board of directors of replaced those officers with individuals beholden to Scarfo and Pelullo, including William Maxwell, an attorney from Houston, Texas, and his brother, John Maxwell, of Irving, Texas, who acted as the company’s CEO.

Once the takeover was completed, the figurehead board named William Maxwell as “special counsel” to FPFG, a position that he used to funnel $12 million to himself, Scarfo and Pelullo through fraudulent legal services and consulting agreements. The agreements, as well as FPFG’s fraudulent acquisitions of companies controlled by Scarfo and Pelullo, were designed to mask the true identity and nature of the control exerted over FPFG and to conceal the source of the money fraudulently conveyed to Scarfo and Pelullo.

In a telephone call intercepted by law enforcement, Pelullo called Scarfo to tell him about the sudden death of a former FPFG executive. This former executive had provided information to Pelullo and Maxwell that they used to extort control of FPFG. At the time of his death, he was a member of FPFG’s “compliance team.” Scarfo and Pelullo expressed relief regarding his death. After laughing about how he was “crushed” that “the rat is dead,” Pelullo acknowledged that the executive was “the only connection, the only tie to anything.” Scarfo replied: “Oh boy. Yeah, Sal, you wanna know something though? That’s one that I know you can’t take credit for . . . [laughter] . . . and that’s the natural best thing. You know what I mean? That is so like Enron-ish. You know what I mean? Kenneth Lay, he bailed out and took a heart attack.”

Scarfo and Pelullo used their illicit gains to fund extravagant purchases, including an $850,000 yacht for both defendants, a luxury home for Scarfo, a Bentley automobile for Pelullo, and thousands of dollars in jewelry for Scarfo’s wife. As a direct result of the enterprise’s criminal activity, FPFG and its shareholders suffered a loss of at least $12 million.

The conspiracy to commit bank fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine; the RICO conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, conspiracy to obstruct justice counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the conspiracy to commit money laundering and felon in possession of a weapon counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the securities fraud conspiracy, conspiracy to make false statements in a loan application and conspiracy to transfer firearms to a prohibited person counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sentencing for Scarfo is scheduled for Oct. 22, 2014; for Pelullo, Oct. 21, 2014; and for both Maxwell brothers, Oct. 23, 2014.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Little Nicky Scarfo Jr's Son Among 12 Arrested and Charged with Racketeering

The son of a Philadelphia mob boss, Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo Jr., and 12 others, are charged with racketeering and other offenses in an indictment handed down Tuesday morning. And Federal prosecutors say members of that mob have turned to a modern crime -- pillaging the assets of a mortgage company -- in a sign that organized crime is evolving to include more white-collar crime.

Thirteen people -- including lawyers and an accountant -- were charged in a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday. Most of them were arrested in raids throughout the morning in New Jersey, Florida and Texas.

Among them were Nicodemo S. Scarfo, the son of imprisoned Lucchese crime family boss Nicodemo D. "Little Nicky'' Scarfo, five lawyers and a certified public accountant. Eight of them were due in court Tuesday afternoon.

They face charges including racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, false statements on a loan application, securities fraud. Maximum penalties range from five years in prison to decades. "The criminal activity is evolving,'' said Michael Ward, agent-in-charge of the FBI in Newark. "It's going from the back alleys to the boardrooms.''

Authorities say the plot started in April 2007, when the younger Scarfo and his associate Salvatore Pelullo, who has previously been convicted of financial crimes, decided to take over FirstPlus Financial Group, a publicly traded mortgage company based in Irving, Texas. Authorities said it was a company with a lot of cash but not much sophistication.

The indictment charges Scarfo and Pelullo used threats to help wrest control of the company. Pelullo is accused of telling a member of the FirstPlus' board that if he didn't go along with the plan, "your kids will be sold off as prostitutes.''

The indictment says he later told others who were charged in the scheme to get the company's board to agree to hand control to his and Scarfo's new directors -- and he wanted it done immediately. He allegedly told them: "I don't care if they're in a funeral parlor, I don't care if they're in a (expletive) hospital on a respirator, we'll send somebody there. I want their vote, I want their signature, and I want it done by the close of the day today.''

Authorities say the elder Scarfo, serving in a federal prison in Atlanta, was apprised of the plot, but that he was not charged because he's expected never to be released.

After getting control of FirstPlus, Scarfo and Pelullo are accused of having it buy shell companies they owned so they could take out money. After that, authorities said, they signed a series of consulting contracts to pay themselves even more.

In less than a year, authorities said, they took $12 million and spent it on multiple homes, including one for Scarfo's ex-wife; weapons and ammunition, a plane, an Audi, a Bentley, $30,000 in jewelry and an 83-foot, $850,000 yacht they named "Priceless.'' U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman wouldn't say exactly how authorities got onto the plot, but he said it ended with a series of raids in 2008.

Since then, FirstPlus has filed for bankruptcy, blaming the alleged criminals for wrecking the firm.

Fishman said the alleged conspirators were planning one more "piece de resistance:'' They wanted to pump up the stock price of FirstPlus and sell off the company. He said that was their exit strategy. "We had a different exit strategy.''

Thanks to NBC40

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