A Long Island attorney accused of engaging in a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme has been convicted of committing first-degree scheme to defraud but acquitted of the more serious charge of first-degree grand larceny.
A Manhattan Supreme Court jury delivered the verdict Tuesday against Robert Cassandro of Jericho after six days of deliberation and a trial that lasted more than two months. Cassandro, 49, is scheduled to be sentenced July 21 by Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro (See Profile), who presided over the trial in People v. Cassandro, 01036-2012.
Scheme to defraud in the first degree is an E felony punishable by up to 1 1/3 to four years in prison. First-degree grand larceny is a B felony punishable with an 8 1/3 to 25-year maximum.
Manhattan prosecutors claimed Cassandro bilked individuals, including family members, out of $4.6 million in real estate investments from 2002 to 2007 (NYLJ, March 15, 2012).
The defense argued that the deals were legitimate and investors lost money due to the market collapse in 2007 and 2008.
Cassandro, who filed for bankruptcy after the market crash, was admitted to the bar in 1990 after graduating from Brooklyn Law School. He was represented by Peter Tomao of Garden City and Edward Mandery of Mandery & Mandery in Mineola served as co-counsel.
In an interview, Tomao said they were pleased with the grand larceny acquittal but disagreed with the jury’s finding on the scheme to defraud count.
“We believe the evidence did not support that conviction. Right now we are reviewing our options,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney Sarah Sacks handled the prosecution.