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Mar 22, 2011 3:23 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Guldi Sentenced, Receives 4 To 12 Years In Prison

Mar 22, 2011 3:23 PM

Former Suffolk County Legislator George O. Guldi was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison on Monday afternoon—a sentence that his attorney described as “excessive”—after being convicted of grand larceny and insurance fraud, both felonies, last month.

Judge James F.X. Doyle ordered the indeterminate sentence—consisting of a three-to-nine-year sentence for the grand larceny charge and one to three years for the insurance fraud charge, to be served consecutively—and ordered the former lawmaker to pay $863,000 in restitution pending a restitution hearing in Suffolk County Criminal Court on Monday.

On February 16, Mr. Guldi, a former Democratic legislator, was found guilty of grand larceny and insurance fraud relating to an $863,000 insurance check that was issued to him after his Westhampton Beach home burned down two years ago.

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, a now disbarred 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.

“This is very serious business, and the fact that Mr. Guldi was a competent attorney with a practice in this very area of law—and a public official—doesn’t exclude him from being treated differently from anyone else who stole $863,000,” Judge Doyle said during the sentencing. “I find that to be a substantial crime.”

Dressed in green jail scrubs with his hands cuffed behind his back, Mr. Guldi—who appeared to be smirking throughout most of his sentencing—originally planned to make a statement in court, but then decided against it, according to Leonard Lato, who served as Mr. Guldi’s attorney during the sentencing.

“I think it was just best to do it as we did it,” Mr. Lato said. “It was obvious to everyone that the judge was rushing to go forward, and nothing we were going to say would change that today.”

Mr. Guldi plans to appeal, Mr. Lato said, adding that he will file the necessary paperwork sometime this week.

“In my view, the sentence was excessive, even if he didn’t have physical and mental ailments,” said Mr. Lato, noting that Mr. Guldi suffers from anxiety, depression and diabetes. “But given those, it’s even more excessive than normal.”

Mr. Guldi, a Democrat, represented the East End’s 2nd Legislative District on the Suffolk County Legislature from 1993 until 2003, when he was defeated by Jay Schneiderman, who currently holds the seat.

Judge Doyle also signed an order of protection on Monday requested by a witness who testified against Mr. Guldi during his month-long trial. The witness, insurance adjuster Bruce Schlosser, said he felt threatened by Mr. Guldi and called him “Bernie Madoff with guns,” according to the pre-sentencing report. Mr. Lato said Mr. Guldi had a collection of 35 firearms, which he turned over to police shortly after he was arrested.

Mr. Guldi was scheduled to be sentenced in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead on Friday, but Judge Doyle adjourned the sentencing until Monday to allow Mr. Guldi time to review the pre-sentencing report. As he did on Friday, Mr. Lato asked for another 30-day adjournment on Monday to prepare a more thorough pre-sentencing report, but the judge swiftly denied both requests.

“This is all a delay tactic,” said Assistant District Attorney Thalia Stavrides to the judge on Monday, “and it’s too late.”

During her statement on Friday, Ms. Stavrides asked Judge Doyle to sentence Mr. Guldi to between seven and 21 years in prison—five to 15 years for the grand larceny charge, and two to six years on the insurance fraud charge. She stated that Mr. Guldi needed to be held accountable for his actions, and for putting himself above all else. “He’s in a world where all revolves around George O. Guldi,” she said.

Judge Doyle originally set bail for Mr. Guldi at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond, but later 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.

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.

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Well he will have a lot of time to prepare his defense for the 2nd trial.Suffering from depression? Wait until the next trial finishes. How comes these guys always get depressed at setencing but never while they are robbing everyone blind?
By Quogonian (14), Quogue on Mar 21, 11 3:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
Goodbye Guldi. The Tribe Has Spoken.
By The Dark Side (8), Westhampton on Mar 21, 11 5:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By terriscofield (5), East Yaphank on Mar 21, 11 6:55 PM
BTW, Guldi called me from the jail at 5:11pm. I yelled at him, saying, "do you realize you were SMILING through most of your sentencing"? His reply? ""Yes, I was counting the reversible errors and grateful Ms.Stavrides statements were so very helpful to me"!
These people are so arrogant, they can't quit when their ahead!
By terriscofield (5), East Yaphank on Mar 21, 11 7:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
He looks like he belongs in jail! Hopefully he never gets out!
By johnnyhampton (81), Southampton on Mar 21, 11 8:18 PM
Know how you feel, CLAYFACE:
This article stated “…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…”.
Yet, as proven in the transcript I posted from Guldi’s Habeas Corpus hearing, neither ADA Rosalind Gray not Supreme Court Justice Emily Pines, no ...more
By terriscofield (5), East Yaphank on Mar 22, 11 6:55 AM
2 members liked this comment
I'm so sorry to hear that is so depressed. maybe when he gets to prison upstate he will make some friends and feel better about himself.
By maxwell (169), speonk on Mar 24, 11 12:14 PM
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton