Thursday, January 20, 2022
It remains possible to get disbarred in New Jersey as the Supreme Court imposed that sanction for an attorney's wire fraud conviction arising from the misappropriation of estate funds.
The Disciplinary Review Board had recommended disbarment.
Lehigh Valley Live had the story
Angelo Perrucci’s neighbors said they hired him to handle their late father’s estate because he was a trusted friend.
The Easton-based attorney repaid that trust by taking more than $300,000 and using it on personal expenses, including tickets to see the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl, according to court records.
Perrucci’s attorney maintains his client’s fraud was “not premeditated nor purposeful” but resulted from negligent and poor accounting. The Lower Mount Bethel Township resident and Washington, New Jersey, native maintains he took less than $250,000. He pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud.
He was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison and ordered to pay back $300,000 by U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Leeson Jr., according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher S. Mannion.
In his sentencing memorandum, Mannion said Perrucci did little as an attorney other than file a document naming himself administrator of the estate. This gave him free rein to take what he wanted.
He used funds from the estate between 2016 and 2019 to pay his credit card bills, his business expenses, his mortgage, his law firm’s payroll, restaurant bills and the Super Bowl tickets, Mannion wrote.
“These were serious crimes,” Mannion wrote. “Perrucci abused the trust that his friends and former neighbors placed in him during their time of need. And, he perpetrated the fraud for years.”
Perrucci’s attorney Erv McLain said in his memorandum that Perrucci’s firm provided more than 30 hours of legal work.
Mannion said Perrucci failed to sell the decedent’s home during that three-year period, but McLain wrote that the decedent was a “hoarder” and Perrucci was forced to bring in dumpsters and helpers to attempt to clean out the home.
McLain said Perrucci was trying to close his law practice at the time and opened a farm to save animals from being slaughtered. McLain disclosed a long list of volunteer and civic experience for Perrucci which includes youth sports coaching, Big Brothers and the Lions Club.
“Angelo has spent the majority of his life attempting to help others through his law practice and his volunteer work,” McLain wrote.
Perrucci was a lawyer and as such had an obligation to represent his clients ethically and morally, Mannion wrote. Perrucci’s law license is suspended
and it’s unlikely he’ll ever practice again.
“Even if he is right that this was a one-time mistake, it was among the most serious and consequential aberrations that Perrucci, as an attorney, could have committed, and it deserves punishment as such,” Mannion wrote.
Perrucci had practiced law for close to 30 years and had a net worth of $700,000, Mannion wrote. So there was no need for him to defraud his friends, Mannion wrote.
“This was not a crime of necessity, but instead a crime motivated by greed,” Mannion wrote.
Rudy Miller may be reached at email@example.com. If there’s anything about this story that needs attention, please email him. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.