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Former Lawmaker Sentenced on Fraud: Guldi Gets 4-12 years

Posted on 23 March 2011

GEORGE GULDI

By Kathryn G. Menu

Citing the former Suffolk County Legislator’s “lack of remorse” and describing the white collar crimes as serious in nature, on Monday Suffolk County Judge James F.X. Doyle sentenced George Guldi to four to 12 years in prison for the grand larceny and insurance fraud charges Guldi was convicted of last month.

Judge Doyle sentenced Guldi to three to nine years for the grand larceny in the second-degree conviction, and a consecutive one to three years in prison for being found guilty of insurance fraud in the third degree.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office had recommended the maximum imprisonment time allowed for the convictions, seven and one-third to 22 years in prison.

On February 16, Guldi was convicted of stealing insurance money paid by his insurance carrier — then Countrywide Home Loans — that should have been held in escrow for the reconstruction of his Westhampton Beach home, which was destroyed in a fire in 2008.

Prosecutors argued that Guldi forged his insurance company’s endorsement on the check, which needed both Guldi’s and Countrywide’s endorsement, and deposited the funds in his own account.

While convicted on two charges, the jury did acquit Guldi on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and second-degree forgery.

In addition to jail time, Judge Doyle also ordered Guldi to provide restitution in the amount of $863,473.30 to Bank of America, which acquired Countrywide Financial in 2008 and currently holds the mortgage on Guldi’s 9 Griffing Avenue, Westhampton Beach property.

Guldi’s attorney during the sentencing, Leonard Lato, reportedly plans on filing an appeal.

The judge also granted an order of protection on Monday for an insurance adjuster, Bruce Schlosser, who testified against Guldi during the trail and later told a probation officer he felt threatened by the defendant.

In a statement, Mortgage Fraud Unit Assistant District Attorney Thalia Stavrides said Guildi, who is an attorney, “abused and violated the trust inherent in the nature of his profession.”

In addition to his career as a lawyer — he was disbarred following his conviction — Guldi was a Democratic legislator representing the East End in the Suffolk County Legislature from 1993 to 2003, when current legislator Jay Schneiderman won the seat.

Guldi, who has been held at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in lieu of $1.1 million in cash bail or a $2.2 million bond, faces two additional indictments down the road. The first indictment is for a felony charge for failure to file an income tax return from January 1, 2006 to October 15, 2009, a violation of New York State Tax Law.

More seriously, Guldi, along with more than a dozen other co-defendants, are charged with grand larceny, scheme to defraud, conspiracy and other crimes related to allegedly stealing millions of dollars through mortgage fraud involving $80 million and 60 properties in Suffolk County, including the purchase of a Sag Harbor residence at 6 Union Street, formerly known as the Morpurgo house.

On Monday, Stavrides said that case is still pending with a trial date yet to be determined.

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