Real Estate Lawyer Cleared of Mortgage Fraud Charges

Allison Tussey —  June 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

Ralph Pecorale, Long Island, New York, a real estate lawyer, has been cleared of mortgage fraud charges after a Brooklyn, New York, Supreme Court judge dismissed an 18-count indictment against him, though the charges against the six other defendants remained in place.

Trial was days away when the charges were dismissed against Pecorale on the Prosecutor’s own motion, according to media reports.

As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, Thomas Debonis, mortgage broker; Leonard Sudler, mortgage broker; Richard Sudler, mortgage broker; Marco Ramos, recruited straw buyer; Sophia Welsh; and Yves Mathieu, were all charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class-C Felony; Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a Class-E Felony; and other charges for their alleged roles in an illegal property flipping scheme.

According to a press release issued by Pecorale‘s attorney, on Monday, May 5, 2014, Justice John Ingram of the Brooklyn Supreme Court dismissed the indictment and all charges against Ralph Pecorale, a New York lawyer who had been charged with participating in a criminal conspiracy to control a Brooklyn property. Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell moved to dismiss the entire indictment against Mr. Pecorale, citing a lack of evidence, stating the government simply could not prove its case.  Farrell had previously cited several conversations and meetings with Pecorale’s lawyer, Robert Altchiler, during which Altchiler opened the prosecutor’s eyes to evidence that pointed to Mr. Pecorale’s innocence, in explaining why the government, after four years, was moving to dismiss the case. Farrell informed the Court that Altchiler convinced him Farrell simply could not prove the government’s case.
“I have never had a moment’s doubt of Ralph’s innocence, and am grateful the Brooklyn DA dismissed the case on its own motion. It’s not easy convincing the government it is wrong in a case of this magnitude, but I finally, literally after years of trying, was able to convince the government we were right and that despite an 82 count indictment, and 18 counts against Ralph, the case had to be dismissed. Rich Farrell, who has a high level of expertise in cases like this, and truly wanted to know the truth, was willing to listen to me, and review hundreds of pages of documents we had provided to his predecessors on the case, and the flawed evidence and theory of the indictment, that drove this case to the eve of trial. Rather than simply let a jury decide the case, Mr. Farrell took action to ensure there would be no trial. All too often prosecutors are unwilling to take such action, and we thank Mr. Farrell and District Attorney Thompson for their willingness to be persuaded, and halt the momentum of the case toward trial and the case itself. They say you can’t un-indict a defendant, but you can. You just need prosecutors willing to listen and look at their evidence with a critical eye.”
“Brooklyn D.A. Kenneth Thompson, who has told the community that preventing and undoing wrongful convictions will be a priority of his, has proven to be a man of his
word and a prosecutor who honors his commitments,” Altchiler said.
Pecorale, who has been a successful poker player, appearing on ESPN, thanked Altchiler for his efforts in the case, and spoke about the long journey that just ended.
“Bobby believed in me from the moment he met me, and I will be grateful to him forever. He was simply relentless in defending me, and kept on coming back at the government
with more and more information, all of which showed I committed no crime. If there’s a better lawyer in the country, I’d like to meet him.”
Altchiler said he believed Pecorale was indicted in large part because Mr. Pecorale’s law firm conducted all of the closings, and because the prosecutors who had
the case at the investigative and grand jury stages misunderstood the nature of Mr. Pecorale’s law practice. “I kept telling the government they had the wrong impression of
Ralph and that their own evidence did not prove what they thought it did. I told A.D.A. Richard Farrell I was going to prove at trial that Ralph and others at his office had been
defrauded themselves. Farrell was a tough nut to crack, especially because at the outset of the case the prosecutors then in charge of the case believed Ralph was the mastermind of a scheme, which in fact, he was never even involved with at all. In the end, Farrell’s expertise and seniority told him that I was right in connection with a number of factual
issues, that proving Ralph committed any crime whatsoever, was problematic, and that his [Farrell’s] ethical obligations would require the office to dismiss the case. He did his
job the right way. We had a great trial case and were ready to go, but I believe my obligation is to do everything I can to win a case before a lengthy and expensive trial begins.”
Altchiler said he believed the complexity of the transactions involved in the case, from the financial and real estate perspectives, as well an abject failure to understand the
relationships and lack of relationships between the parties charged in the investigation, led to the government’s misimpression of Mr. Pecorale, his office, and their respective
roles in the case.
“My first experience with the new administration at the Kings County District Attorney is that it is interested in doing what is just, not simply what is expedient or easy. This dismissal is justice embodied,” Altchiler said, continuing, “Under the laws of New York State, the dismissal of this indictment renders the entire case a nullity, and Ralph is
restored to the status he held before being arrested. In short, this case never happened. In truth, this case never should have happened.”

Allison Tussey

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