Sunday, March 9, 2014
A Bentley, A Yacht And Piles Of Cash: A Key Witness At The Federal Racketeering Fraud Trial In New Jersey Describes the Lavish Lifestyle Of Salvatore Pelullo
Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the federal racketeering fraud trial in Camden, New Jersey for Bigtrial.net.
He's been on the witness stand for a week and during that time he's offered the jury a behind-the- scenes look at what authorities allege was the $12 million ripoff of FirstPlus Financial.
He's admitted to falsifying records, padding expense accounts and "moving money around" to make it appear as if it came from or was going to legitimate business deals.
He sailed on the $850,000 yacht that was bought with cash from the scam, he said. He arranged some of the paperwork for the purchase of a $217,000 Bentley Continental GT that also figures in the fraud. He fabricated records to make a $40,000 trip to Europe appear like a business expense. And he set up "sideways accounts" that allowed his boss to funnel money to two mistresses.
Those were just some of the things that he saw and did while working for Salvatore Pelullo before, during and after the takeover of FirstPlus, a troubled Texas-based mortgage company, said Cory Leshner, who described himself as Pelullo's "personal assistant."
"I thought of Mr. Pelullo as a father figure," Leshner told the jury. "And he thought of me as a son." And that, he said at another point, "made me feel proud...I was willing to do whatever he asked."
Leshner, who has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and faces up to five years in prison, is due back on the stand when the trial resumes tomorrow.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: