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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Feds want information from attorney who represented Lucchese associate linked to Scarfo Jr

The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office asked Monday for the federal court to direct a convicted mobster’s former lawyer, who has himself been convicted of money laundering, to answer questions after his former client claimed on appeal the lawyer had a conflict of interest while representing him.
J. Michael Farrell should be directed to answer federal prosecutors’ questions regarding his representation of Salvatore Pelullo, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay $14 million in restitution in 2015, after Pelullo claimed on appeal that Farrell didn’t give him good counsel because he knew he knew that he was also under investigation, according to Monday's motion.

Farrell, whose law license was suspended after his conviction, had previously declined to answer questions on the subject due to attorney client privilege, but told prosecutors he would comply if ordered by the court.

Farrell represented Pelullo after he was indicted on racketeering and fraud charges in connection with an alleged extortion scheme by the Lucchese crime family. Prosecutors alleged that Pelullo and 11 others, including Nicodemo “Nicky” Scarfo Jr., son of convicted Philadelphia crime boss Nicodemo D. “Little Nicky” Scarfo Sr., pushed out the legitimate leadership of a Texas-based company and used an array of tactics to steal $12 million from shareholders.

Pelullo and Scarfo were both convicted and given identical sentences of 30 years with five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $14 million each in restitution.

Pelullo appealed to the Third Circuit, where his appeal was consolidated with the appeals of three other convicted co-defendants, including Scarfo. In a motion to remand his case back to the district court to be tried again, Pelullo claimed that he had only recently learned that his attorney, Farrell, had been under investigation while representing him.

Farrell represented Pelullo before and after trial alongside Troy A. Archie, who continues to represent Pelullo.

“It is undisputed that during Mr. Pelullo's trial, Mr. Farrell became aware that he was first a subject and then a target of a federal criminal investigation,” Pelullo wrote in his motion to remand.

And during this time period, “Mr. Archie observed that Mr. Farrell was having trouble with both focus and memory. Mr. Archie had to help Mr. Farrell with multiple tasks and government and defense witness preparation,” Pelullo's motion said.

Farrell was indicted in October 2015 and convicted in February 2017 of laundering money for a Baltimore-area crime family. According to prosecutors, Farrell  deposited thousands of dollars in cash from the ring’s drug sales into his commercial accounts, and said he had received the money as fees from non-existent clients. His sentencing is scheduled for July.

The government opposed Pelullo’s argument that Farrell’s alleged conflict of interest should send the case back to the lower court, arguing that the question shouldn’t come before the Third Circuit before the district court has had a chance to consider it. But Pelullo contends that the conflict of interest question should be considered by the appellate court.

In asking the lower court to direct Farrell to answer the government’s questions about his representation of Pelullo, including disclosing privileged information, prosecutors argued that Pelullo had waived his right to attorney-client privilege when he accused Farrell of falling down on the job. Citing case law, prosecutors said any information relating to Pelullo’s claims that Farrell misrepresented him was now fair game.

Prosecutors also noted that time was a factor in their request, since Farrell was facing a potentially lengthy prison stay after his sentencing in July.

“If the district court judge in Maryland imposes a prison sentence and orders him to surrender pending any appeal, Mr. Farrell will be unable to meet with agents of the government outside of a custodial institution,” the government said.

The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office and counsel for Farrell declined to comment Tuesday.

Counsel for Pelullo did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

Pelullo is represented by  Troy A. Archie of the Law Offices of Afonso Baker & Archie PC.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman Gross and Howard Wiener.

Farrell is represented by Barry Coburn, Marc Eisenstein and Peggy Bennett of Coburn & Greenbaum PLLC.

The case is U.S. v. Scarfo et al., case number 1:11-cr-00740, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.



Post a Comment