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Feb 22, 2011 4:24 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Guldi Found Guilty Of Two Felony Charges

Feb 22, 2011 4:24 PM

Former Suffolk County Legislator George O. Guldi has been found guilty of two felonies—insurance fraud and grand larceny—relating to an $863,000 insurance check that was issued to him after his Westhampton Beach home burned down two years ago.

At around 5:25 p.m. last Wednesday, February 16, following nearly two full days of deliberations, jurors found Mr. Guldi guilty of one count of insurance fraud in the third degree and one count of grand larceny in the second degree. They also acquitted Mr. Guldi, an attorney with a law practice in Westhampton Beach, on two charges, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree and forgery in the second degree, also felonies.

Mr. Guldi could receive between five and 15 years on the grand larceny charge, and between 40 months and seven years on the insurance fraud charge, when he is sentenced on Friday, March 18.

Judge James F.X. Doyle originally set bail at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond on Wednesday, but on Friday he increased those amounts to $1.1 million cash or $2.2 million bond, according to Suffolk County Jail records.

Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, explained that state law required Judge Doyle to more than double Mr. Guldi’s bail. Mr. Clifford said the amount had to increase because Mr. Guldi was convicted of two felonies.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Guldi had not yet posted bail, according to jail officials.

Mr. Guldi, who had to serve as his own attorney because he could not pay for one, showed no emotion while the jury foreman read the two guilty verdicts.

Arguing for lesser bail amounts, Mr. Guldi told Judge Doyle before he was handcuffed by court officers, “I have five children and four doctors—I’m not a risk for flight in my position.”

Judge Doyle responded, “These are two serious felonies for someone of your stature and education.”

Mr. Guldi plans to appeal last week’s verdict, according to Chris Brocato, an attorney assigned to help guide Mr. Guldi during the month-long trial because he was defending himself. “He won’t stop fighting for vindication,” Mr. Brocato said.

Outside the courtroom, the prosecution said it was pleased that jurors convicted Mr. Guldi, a Democrat who served the 2nd Legislative District on the East End from 1993 until 2003, of the most serious charges.

“Mr. Guldi has made a living by manipulating and distorting words,” Assistant District Attorney Thalia Stavrides said outside the Riverhead courtroom minutes after the verdict was read. “It’s a comfort to know that’s it come to an end in that he will be disbarred.”

According to New York State Judiciary Law, an attorney is automatically disbarred once convicted of a felony. Still, Mr. Clifford said Mr. Guldi will be permitted to represent himself when he is tried for his alleged role in what prosecutors have described as an $82 million mortgage fraud scheme targeting East End homes.

“Anyone can represent themselves pro se,” Mr. Clifford said. “A license to practice law is not necessary.”

It is not clear who will defend Mr. Guldi during his appeal. It is also not clear when the mortgage fraud trial will begin. “I don’t have a start date yet,” Mr. Clifford said. “There are 16 other defendants also named in that indictment, and it is in pre-trial status.”

During his insurance fraud trial, Mr. Guldi repeatedly dismissed claims that he forged the signature of his mortgage lender, Countrywide Home Loans, on the back of the insurance check that was supposed to be used to rebuild his Westhampton Beach home. Prosecutors argued that if the house was not rebuilt, the mortgage lender would have applied the $863,000 to the outstanding $1.4 million mortgage on the Griffing Avenue home.

As of September 2009, the house was still boarded up and, according to prosecutors, only $163,000 was left in the bank account that the check was deposited into. The account has since been frozen. To date, no work has been done on the house.

Over the course of the trial—and during his own testimony on February 9—Mr. Guldi attempted to convince the jurors that there were several holes in the prosecution’s evidence, including his being out of town on a ski trip in Vermont when the check in question was deposited into his Chase bank account in New York City.

Since then, Wells Fargo Bank has filed a complaint against Mr. Guldi in the civil division of the State of Vermont Superior Court Civil, alleging that he has breached the terms of a promissory note and mortgage deed on his property in Vermont, according to a summons published in The Press on February 3. A court clerk said the lawsuit was not immediately available to the public.

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Excerpt from the 27east Style Guide:

If a current or former political figure is convicted of a criminal offense, the following protocol is to be observed.

a) If a Republican, be sure that party affiliation is in the headline, i.e. "Former Republican mayor John Smith convicted...". Replace all pronouns referring to the subject with party affiliation, i.e., instead of "He said in a statement..." use "The former Republican mayor said...". Where the use of "Republican" is impractical, ...more
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Feb 16, 11 7:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
That style guide is used all over the country. Funny, isn't it?
By Montaukette (46), Waterland on Feb 17, 11 8:29 AM
realitylast, you are such a freaking whiner! The guy is guilty and I am glad he was found guilty and I could give a rat's a** what party he is from.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Feb 17, 11 9:18 AM
The jury has to be commended for their decision. The remarks of the ADA were right on the money. What can you say about a guy who has not filed a tax return since 2004? He said it was because people owed him money. He has been indicted for non filing also in addition to his 82 million dollar mortgage scam. This has got nothng to do with politics. This is just plain old crime. Maybe he can be Bernie Madoff's cell mate.
By The Dark Side (8), Westhampton on Feb 16, 11 7:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
Oh praise the lord - Guldi always seemed like a crooked guy...Now if we can just get his affiliates like Fred Thiele, that would be a Hatrick!
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 16, 11 10:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
another politician bites the dust. more to follow hopefully

By Brown25 (38), Groovehampton on Feb 16, 11 10:23 PM
Personally I am not a Guildi fan but from what I could see I think he did a great job of defending himself . Justice is served! By the time the next case is finished they will be away for a long time. Greedy greedy.
By Quogonian (14), Quogue on Feb 17, 11 7:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
... the worst part of this mess is that M
By William Rodney (555), southampton on Feb 17, 11 9:43 AM
...as I was saying, the worse part of this mess is that Magic's closed down.
By William Rodney (555), southampton on Feb 17, 11 9:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
What part of "this mess" included Magic's?
By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Feb 17, 11 11:33 AM
This mess, that mess, a crook is a crook. As his mortgage scheme (That included his partner buying Magic's) was unraveling, his house burned down. the money's all gone, adn Magic's lost their liquor license. I dont see how they're not related.
By sparkhampton (27), Hampton Bays on Feb 17, 11 5:52 PM
Is Magic's Pub owned by Guldi's "partner," and aside from a couple of Guilty pleas in exchange for testimony in the still-to-start "mortgage scam" trial, has anyone else been convicted of anything?

"This mess" is THIS mess, and that's all on Guldi. And acting as someone's lawyer, does not necessarily make a partnership.

Or do you have some special knowledge about the Guldi-MacPherson professional relationship?
By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Feb 18, 11 11:47 AM

They most certainly are connected. "Mr. MacPherson will likely be tried alongside an unknown number of other people accused in a massive July 2009 indictment of what prosecutors described as a mortgage fraud ring, including his wife, Carrie Coakley, and former Suffolk County Legislator George O. Guldi, who along with Mr. MacPherson, was accused of acting as a ringleader. Altogether, 17 people were named in the indictment."

It it not known if Guldi has an equity interest ...more
By Hambone (513), New York on Feb 25, 11 2:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
In other words, you know n-o-t-h-i-n-g!
By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Mar 1, 11 12:54 PM
Greed, theft, lying, cheating, stealing, and not to mention "thinking you are above the law"....add on the block bustering of neighborhoods and bringing in new crimes to the likes east end communities have never had to deal with until Guildi and his friends became too smart for everyones own good!!!
This case and the future case is a lot more then just the convictions it is about the loss of communities.
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Feb 17, 11 10:26 AM
How could a man, who is so smart, be so stupid? George Guldi was asked to sit with now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to give her a political review of the East End when she was running for President. The next thing you hear, he's accused of possession of a forged instrument, forgery and now he's been convicted of insurance fraud and grand larcency. I once had the pleasure of lunching with Mr. Guldi. He's one of the best informed political mavens I've met. But like so many "geniuses" (Madoff's ...more
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Feb 17, 11 10:49 AM
ok...1st off...if Guldi sat down with Hillary...it's probably because no one else wanted to! A genius...(puke)...?

I do hope the fat bastard gives us his "prison address", I'd like to mail him a bowtie and a jar of Vaseline each Christmas
By c'mon now (46), southampton on Feb 17, 11 6:44 PM
Frankly, I never knew Guildi although I have seen him around. I had a vague affection for him as a local boy who made good. Sorry to see what he has become. Wonder if his physical collapse (or expansion) mirrors his moral collapse. Further wonder, with his comment about having four doctors, if there is something wrong with his health that makes him indifferent to the future.

(One would think that someone who committed an $82M fraud [as the DA alleges] would live better.)
By highhatsize (4176), East Quogue on Feb 17, 11 11:20 AM
George, You wrong my children thirty years ago. We have never forgotton or will forgive you. What goes around George comes around. Our family hope you enjoy the TV in your cell which did not belong to you. You informed us us if we removed the TV from your rented apartment after my children's father died you would claim we stole vases, ect. from your rented home. What choice did we have with you being a lawyer?
clorac, E. Quogue
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Feb 18, 11 4:38 PM
2 members liked this comment
If Keahon wasn't busy with Linda (hiccup) Kabot, Guldi would have walked. Maybe it has something to do with Magic's Pub ... I smell a conspiracy ...
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Feb 23, 11 10:33 PM
never trust a man with little hands
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Mar 3, 11 9:15 AM
power tools, home improvements, building supplies, Eastern Long Island