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Former Suffolk County Legislator indicted on fraud charges

Publication: The Southampton Press
By Michael Wright   Aug 20, 2009 2:37 PM
Editor's Note: This story was published in The Southampton Press on July 30, 2009.

A Suffolk County grand jury handed down a sprawling indictment last week against former County Legislator George O. Guldi of Westhampton Beach and one of his business partners that included more than 40 criminal charges, most of them felonies, ranging from fraud to grand larceny.

Mr. Guldi and Donald MacPherson, the owner of Magic’s Pub in Westhampton Beach, were arrested in March on felony charges stemming from an investigation of an alleged $50 million mortgage fraud scheme. The grand jury handed down the broader indictment last Thursday, July 23, according to court records, and issued indictments for three other alleged co-conspirators: Mr. MacPherson’s wife, Carrie Coakley; Roslyn attorney Dustin Dente; and Nassau County businessman Ethan Ellner.

Mr. Guldi, Mr. MacPherson and the three others will be arraigned on the new charges against them on Friday, August 7, in Suffolk County District Court in Riverhead.

After the initial arrests last spring, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office said that Mr. Guldi and Mr. MacPherson had been setting up fraudulent mortgages for more than six years, using the names and personal information of so-called “straw buyers” to obtain $50 million in mortgage loans, which they used to purchase dozens of East End properties. Many of the people whose names were used to obtain the mortgages were clients of a sexual fantasy club in Manhattan owned by Mr. MacPherson, where Ms. Coakley works as a dominatrix, and were paid as much as $10,000 for the use of their credit information, police and court records say.

Mr. Guldi said Wednesday that the charges against him are unfounded. “I deny that there are any charges properly made against me,” he said. “Well, there are some—I’m a habitual speeder. But I cannot plead to any of these.”

Undeterred by the charges, Mr. Guldi is hoping to win his old county seat back from Suffolk Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who unseated him in 2003 after 12 years in office. Mr. Guldi is a lifelong Democrat. Mr. Schneiderman is a registered Independent but recently secured the endorsement of the Democratic Party.

Mr. Guldi blamed the publication of the grand jury indictment on his political enemies and implied that his prosecution may be politically motivated.

“I guess at this point I’m just a ham sandwich,” he said, a reference to a popular joke among local attorneys that a Suffolk County grand jury would indict a ham sandwich. “We’ll prove that this is all lies.”

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