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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pirro Cost Westchester County Millions....(CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY)

JUDGE: “UNEXCUSED FAILURE” -- During Jeanine Pirro's 12 years in office, then-District Attorney Pirro knowingly failed to recover millions of dollars in forfeited bail-- monies that, according to state law, should have gone into Westchester County government bank accounts. Two good questions include: Why? And where did that money go? .......MORE.....
ALSO, SEE RELATED STORY: "Judicial Destruction of Court Records"

Bail is usually forfeited if a criminal defendant fails to appear for a scheduled court appearance. In courts everyday, though, many judges extend great latitude to defendants who have failed to appear, often negating “bench warrants” and “bail forfeiture” when certain facts are revealed to the court. “Failure to appear” determinations are excused when the judge is moved to accept the absence as unintentional, usually a result of a personal emergency or a simple mix-up of the scheduled date by the defendants, their attorney, court personnel or a computer. As one Manhattan criminal defense attorney explains, “If you have a good and honest reason for not showing up in court, judges are usually understanding,” adding, “but there are only two perfect excuses for not being in court--you’re dead, or in jail somewhere.” In short, if bail is forfeited, it is lost—gone. And the money goes to the county—except, as the newest allegations claim, in Jeanine Pirro’s Westchester County.

WHY?

Numerous seasoned criminal defense lawyers interviewed for this article, and who demanded that their names not be used, were emphatic about their belief that except for only very rare exceptions, forfeited bail money is gone—and it gets deposited into the county coffers.

But the latest issue to haunt the former county judge, Ms. Pirro, alleges a different bail process in the criminal courts of Westchester County--that for a ten-year-plus period of time, and while she was the Westchester County District Attorney, Jeanine Pirro systematically prevented millions of dollars in forfeited bail monies from being delivered to the citizens of Westchester County.

DOZENS OF CASES

According to criminal court documents obtained in one case, The People of the State of New York vs. Edickson Herrera, Ms. Pirro’s office failed to file the necessary paperwork to insure that the Westchester County government would receive $250,000.00 in forfeited bail money. The defendant had failed to appear in court on October 5, 1995, and though the court issued a bench warrant that day, the bail forfeiture became effective 5 days later on October 10, 1995. To make sure Westchester County received the $250,000.00, the District Attorney was simply required to file a copy of the forfeiture order within 60 days.

In a decision and order issued almost two years later, and dated September 5, 1997, the Honorable Mary H. Smith ruled, “While it may be lamentable that the People’s unexcused failure to follow the mandate of CPL 540.10(2) will result in a windfall to the petitioner and a $250,000.00 loss to the People of the State of New York, this Court is powerless…”

As a result of District Attorney Pirro’s failure to simply file a copy of the forfeiture order within the then-required 60 days, the Judge was forced to return the $250,000.00 to the petitioner, the Frontier Insurance Company.

JUDGE: PIRRO FAILED TO FOLLOW THE LAW

In another 1997 case, The People of the State of New York vs. Melvin Gonzalez, Supreme Court Justice James R. Cowhey was similarly required to order the return of forfeited bail money, which in this case totaled $100,000.00. In his April 16, 1997 dated decision and order, Judge Cowhey ruled that “The People (D.A. Pirro) concede that they failed to have a judgment entered within sixty days of the bail forfeiture.” The Court also wrote, “Clearly, under the facts of this case the People have not complied with the statutory obligations of the statute. Subdivision 2 specifically imposes on the People the unconditional obligation to proceed against the surety within sixty days of the date the Court orders forfeiture of the bail.”

There are two common elements to the Gonzalez and Herrara bail forfeiture cases, and which were among papers submitted to prosecutors—the district attorney involved in both cases was Jeanine Pirro, and the surety that financially gained in both cases was the Frontier Insurance Company. In these two cases alone the failure of Ms. Pirro to follow a basic state law of procedure resulted in a $350,000.00 loss to Westchester County, and a $350,000.00 windfall to the Frontier Insurance Company. (Note: On October 20, 1998, an amendment to New York State law 540.10(2) doubled the filing time from 60 to 120 days in which a district attorney must file a copy of the forfeiture order.)

A former federal prosecutor who reviewed the documents and allegations against Ms. Pirro was quick to point out that, “Although there may be issues with the statute of limitations on the older bail forfeiture cases, the current focus may be on the pattern of criminal behavior by a group of individuals, and who for personal gain over many years, systematically acted to defraud the citizens of Westchester County out of millions of dollars.” He added, hesitantly, “It is equally unsettling that though they were required to follow the law concerning the D.A.’s failure and return the money, the judges involved were duty-bound to report Pirro’s failures to a half-dozen or so state and federal governmental entities.”

THE BAIL STOPS HERE

A White Plains-based New York State employee familiar with the allegations, and who requested that his name not be used in this article, supplied information which has been confirmed by documents submitted to federal prosecutors. He says, “It was common knowledge that Jeanine was up to something with the bail bond people…certain clerks were told NOT to file certain papers…this went on for years, and it was business as usual--right up until the time she left the D.A.’s office in January of ’06.” He added that, “The investigators have their work cut out for them…court documents and entire files have a way of disappearing in Westchester County.”

“This Bail Scam appears to be a well-hatched combination of a multi-million dollar white-collar crime and the corruption of one or more public officials who were in a position to exploit the lack of accountability,” noted a CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) who reviewed court documents, and who asked not to be identified by name. “The fact is two separate courts determined that cash bail totaling $350,000.00 was forfeited and, accordingly, the money should have made its way to the county,” adding, “But if the county finance department doesn’t know it should be getting the money, that deficiency would never be revealed in any financial review or audit. If true, it is quite a clever scam. The New York State legislature needs to tighten the law by formulating a procedure so that there is accountability from the time bail money is forfeited until such time as the county financial officer takes possession or control of those funds.”

The former federal prosecutor advises that, “It will take some time to review all the material cases during the ten-year period, but the prosecutors will determine who was involved, and who ultimately profited in the scheme to prevent those monies from going to the county.” With a laugh he adds, “Follow the money.”

SEE RELATED STORY: "Judicial Destruction of Court Records"

22 comments:

west. voter said...

Out of this how much money did Jeanine and her felon husband Al get??????????

Anonymous said...

Just 2 cases alone total $350,000.00 !!!!!!!!!

THIS IS UNBELIEVEABLE -- she was there for 12 years!!!!

Max Lawson said...

Hey, check out today's Journal News (the Westchester Paper.... www.lohud.com)

Yonkers judicial candidate censured for misconduct in 1998 - By LEN MANIACE

YONKERS - Mary Anne Scattaretico-Naber, Democratic candidate for City Court, was censured in 1998 for professional misconduct, specifically for mishandling an escrow account that belonged to her husband.

The ruling by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court found that Mary Anne Scattaretico-Naber had co-mingled her own funds with those in the escrow account and failed to take a series of measures to safeguard client funds entrusted to her as an attorney. There was no finding of missing or stolen funds.

Scattaretico-Naber had told the court that no one was harmed by the violations, which she said were technical and unintentional. Her campaign consultant Arnold Linhardt maintained that assertion yesterday. He blamed Republicans for leaking the report to the press two weeks before election day.

Scattaretico-Naber's Republican opponent, Judge Michele Graffeo, said yesterday that she did not know about the leaking of the Appellate Division ruling and declined to comment further, citing rules that limit judges' involvement in political activities.

Yonkers Republican Party Chairman John Jacono said he had nothing to do with sending the decision to The Journal News.

"I certainly am supporting Michele Graffeo, but I know nothing in the world about any censure her opponent had to endure," Jacono said.

The Westchester County Bar Association's Judiciary Committee, which screens candidates for judicial posts, recently ranked both candidates as "meets minimum requirements," a rating that means "a candidate has no significant negative impediment but lacks some important qualification for the judicial bench that is being sought."

P. Daniel Hollis III, co-chairman of the screening committee, would say only that "our review is comprehensive," declining to mention whether the censure was included in Scattaretico-Naber's rating.

The investigation of Scattaretico-Naber stemmed from a 1996 bounced $5,000 check on the escrow account for her husband, Saleem Naber. That check was related to a mortgage on commercial real estate owned by Naber, according to the Appellate Division ruling. The decision also found that Scattaretico-Naber failed to properly designate the escrow account and to maintain proper bookkeeping related to the account.

victim of pirro said...

When is Ms. Pirro going to be indicted!?!?!?!

another victim of Pirro said...

The optimists say that the indictment of Pirro and her cronies is so huge that it's still in the works and can't be unsealed yet.
The pessimists say that she has gotten away with so much for so long that you can't expect anything to happen to that teflon-coated whore.

Anonymous said...

Jeanine & Al make a good pair, they should both go to jail together.

Anonymous said...

This is unfortunate, but OCA and the agencies they deal with conspire to hire females, exclusively. Females are known to be strongly ..... passive aggressive! With this behavior, these bully agencies know full well, that they can intimidate women into any type of behavior. This is also compounded by the fact that so many women are single mothers and feel compelled to do anything to keep their employment. I, as an ex-oca female, believe that if women stuck together, they could change the environment of corruption in GOV. in a tremendous and effective way. We do most of the grunt work for GOV. and keep very aware of who is doing what, more than any man. If we come together when we become aware of the stink...no matter what it is and who it is from (and that includes the potent judicial members)we can change or at least bring it to the attention of someone who can address corruption! I guarantee that the 'clerks' involved in this above case, who did not file the paperwork, were female! What ashame to involve innocent people working to just survive, in this scandal, which may possibly be perpetrated by a female, whom people want or expect to trust. Just for verification purposes, i worked for 30 yrs within OCA and the 4 men now working out of 100 plus employees, struggled to get those jobs and all knew someone politically! A extensive number of women that work for OCA, have participated in some type of border line or illegal or cover up behavior for the judiciary or their supervisors! OCA knows i am right and the numbers, names and politics prove it!

Anonymous said...

another pirro fraud revealed !

Anonymous said...

FACT - The MOB has run the Westchester DA's Office since the 1930's and continues to this day.

Anonymous said...

why is this witch not in jail?

Anonymous said...

The only boss ( judy kaye) is the one responsible for allowing, turning her head, and pretending the ny courts are performing ethically and responsibly in the name of judicial independence! This is the first person who MUST go straight to JAIL, until the court system is fully corrected. i say 25 yrs will work for me...bye bad judy! hope you like the sisters that will entertain you!

nyc lawyer said...

We hate to see you go, we hate to see you go we hope the hell you never come back, we hate to see you go Judge Judy --- Oh, don't come back and leave your law license at the door-do the right thing since you have done more than enough damage to the court system of NYS.

Anonymous said...

Thought these two bums were gone. Get rid of them already!

Peter Petrov said...

Not only Pirro.
The Westchester County routinely collects 2% of bail as handling fee.
Even if the Defendant wins acquital, Westchester Cunty judges routinely issue orders stating that the County must return the money minus 2% handling fee, which is violation of CPL 540.

After being acquited by a jury, judge Colangelo played fool by issuing an order that mandated the retun of only 98% of my then $15000 bail.
I needed to spend 3 weeks fighting the judge's law secretary and the Westchester County bail and bonds department.
Unbelievable - finally it became aparent that they do not have a order template that mandates the County to recover 100% of the bond for acquited defendants.
.
Even more paradoxally - my own court appointed attorney, that I have never accepted (but I was forced to accept him as an advisor by judge Collangelo), was not aware that as a acquited defendant I was supposed to get 100% of my bail money and not 98 as judge Collangelo's order stipulated.
.
I needed to go through the CPL, find the exact clause, and e-mail it to attorney Richard Ferrante (my so-called advisor), in order to convince him that my sister is entitled to recover 100% of the bail.

Needless to say that Westchester pays a meager interest on the dollar bonds - about 1%.
.
Another thing that impressed me - judges like the corrupt Sam Walker (who BTW is a henchman of the county executive Spano), tend to impose extremely inflated bails, thus making money for the county.

Peter Petrov said...

Another curious practice of corrupt Westchester cunty judges like Sam Walker:

They routinely impose the so called "conditions of bail". CB usually forces you to gor for a year to a county of state "program" at your own or taxpayer's expense.
Even if the defendant wins acquital during a trial, he does not get back the money spent.
.
Since usually the County executives (Spano, Larry Schwarz, etc.) have a say on who runs these programs (sometimes they are private contractors), the CB in fact serves Spanos to build political influence by using the litigants and taxpayers money.
.
The corrupt judge Sam Walker managed to get from my pocket some $3000 under the pretext of "Condition of Bail" which went to the so called "Domestic Violence For Men" program.

I recently wrote a letter to Sam Walker, requesting him to return me this money (preferably from his salary, since the taxpayer should not pay for the scams of corrupt judges), but have not received an answer yet.

pirro foe said...

Kerik is going, going gone and Pirro is next - maybe they could have ajoining cells

Anonymous said...

Why is Mr. Kerik in White Plains and not in Manhattan? Everything took place in the City?

insider said...

Heard that Kerik is talking so much about all kinds of things that someone is going to have to smack him to shut him up.

wp lawyer said...

Flash - the Pirro's have seperated, what's next doc?

wp lawyer said...

Flash - the Pirro's have seperated, what's next doc?

not a Pirro fan said...

The current issue (11/22) of the Westchester Guardian features the "Pirro-Keik" Connection: Much More Than Al's Love Boat - They Are "ABOVE THE LAW!" Did Jeanine Pirro figure that if Big Al (the felon) could do it on his "love boat," then she could too? Word is that Bernie figured he was another Bill Clinton in the sex department. What really went on between Jeanine and Bernie? Bernie has told people that Jeanine was a hot number. Is this the real reason for the Pirro's separation and long pending divorce? What's on all those tapes?

West. lawyer said...

Two weeks ago USA Michael J. Garcia unsealed the 16-count Kerik indictment. The buzz is that there are more sealed indictments. Maybe one has Jeanine Pirro's name on it. Will Jeanine join her husband Big Al as a Felon? Please Mr. Garcia give the taxpayers of Westchester County an early Christmas present. Unseal Jeanine Pirro to the world.

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2