Thursday, June 5, 2014
Layers Of An Onion Define Multi-Million Dollar FirstPlus Fraud
Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the organized crime business takeover fraud case in New Jersey for Bigtrial.net.
A federal prosecutor used mobster Nicodemo S. Scarfo's own words today to describe the alleged takeover and looting of a Texas-based mortgage company that is at the heart of what authorities charge was a $12 million scam orchestrated by Scarfo and his business partner Salvatore Pelullo.
"Layers upon layers, like an onion," Scarfo, 48, said in a secretly recorded telephone conversation with Pelullo, 46, that was picked up on an FBI wiretap back in 2007 as authorities contend the takeover of FirstPlus Financial was unfolding.
For nearly three hours today, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D'Aguanno, the lead prosecutor, detailed the allegations in the racketeering conspiracy case against Scarfo, Pelullo and five co-defendants. D'Aguanno said underneath those layers of the onion -- false SEC filings, phony stockholder reports, bogus consulting contracts and fraudulent business purchases and expenses -- was the financial scam that poured millions into the pockets of the two lead defendants.
"They're joined at the hip, from their criminal activities to their alleged business activities," D'Aguanno said of Scarfo and Pelullo, who frequently referred to each other as cousins even though there was no blood relationship.
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