Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Judge cuts prison term for fraudster who complained it was too harsh


A Brooklyn federal judge shaved almost four years off the prison sentence of a fraudster who had complained the jurist had been too tough when first imposing a 15-year prison term.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis imposed the 11-year term on David Gotterup Wednesday. This was after Garaufis had slammed Gotterup in March with a 15-year sentence for running a mortgage modification scam that bilked distressed homeowners out of more than $3.5 million.

Gotterup’s father, Bruce, was gunned down in a 1991 gangland murder, where he was shot as payback over drug deals at a Queens bar controlled by the Gambino crime family.

David Gotterup said in the years following the rub out, he had to grow up fast to steer a family ravaged by the murder and trial publicity. In March, Garaufis noted Gotterup’s “compelling and terrible” past.

But that still didn’t take the sting out of Gotterup's fraud years later, the judge said.

Garaufis went a year above the recommended federal guidelines that maxed out at 14 years for the offense.

Gotterup came back Wednesday looking to have Garaufis re-think his sentence. The term, he argued, wasn’t in line with other sentences for similar offenses.

Gotterup’s shot at a shorter prison stay almost got derailed by heated words between Garaufis and one of Gotterup's lawyers, Joe Conway.

Conway told Garaufis there were murder convicts who got 15 years — but Garaufis said he dished out life sentences for murder convictions.

“I don’t know where you've been,” the judge said.

Garaufis said he didn't impose sentences based on what other judges did, what newspapers wrote or what anyone else thought.

“I really don’t appreciate being told anywhere I'm somehow outside the grand scheme. There is no grand scheme." 
The judge also noted Gotterup’s “compelling and terrible” past with his dead father, Bruce Gotterup (pictured), after he was murdered in 1991.

The judge said he was only interested in what happened in his court.

“I really don’t care about the world you've lived in," he told Conway.

The lawyer tried to get his two cents in about his time as a former federal prosecutor and federal clerk.

"Don't yell!” Garaufis said.

"Don't belittle me, judge," Conway shot back, saying he's been in the courthouse for decades and seen more than his share of sentences.

"Seen them? You haven't imposed them. That's the burden," said Garaufis. "You think you're helping your client somehow?"

When Gotterup spoke, he didn't bring up his past.

“I know what I did was wrong and I have to be punished," he said.

Garaufis noted white collar crimes were serious matters with real victims — some 1,000 in this case — but he said a sentence in the guidelines range was appropriate.

Outside the courtroom, Conway said the defense was "grateful the judge reconsidered the original sentence." As for his words with Garaufis, Conway said, "I'm a zealous advocate for my clients.”



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