Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bail Granted in Fraud Case

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bail Granted in Fraud Case

Article excerpt

A federal judge granted bail Tuesday to a Glen Rock man accused of defrauding 15 victims of $5 million in phony real estate investment deals, after hearing a prosecutor's warnings that he has organized crime ties, is a flight risk and could threaten witnesses if released.

Paul Mancuso, 46, has already shown he is liable to tamper with witnesses, having called the alleged victims when he learned that he was under investigation, and told them they would get their money back, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Colone said in U.S. District Court in Newark.

Colone said Mancuso had two convictions for possession of gambling records and had been caught on a wiretap on several occasions talking to a "capo," or captain, of the Bonanno crime family.

Judge Madeline Cox Arleo nevertheless granted Mancuso bail of $250,000, ordering him to put up his house as collateral and wear an electronic monitoring device. She said he had lived all his life in New York and New Jersey and was unlikely to flee.

"I'm not concerned about risk of flight," Arleo said, ordering Mancuso to surrender his passport and adding that he can't leave New Jersey. "He's not going to be allowed out for much. He's going to be carefully monitored."

Mancuso, handcuffed and dressed in a bright yellow jumpsuit, showed no emotion in court. His wife, Joann Westmark; her mother; and his brother, Peter Mancuso, who watched the proceedings from the back row of the courtroom, declined to comment.

Federal authorities arrested Paul Mancuso and an alleged co- conspirator, Pasquale Stiso, 52, of West Harrison, N.Y., last Thursday, charging them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Prosecutors said that from 2009 to the present, Mancuso "held himself out" as a real estate investor, broker and developer, luring the victims to invest in projects that either didn't exist or that the pair had no involvement in.

Among the projects the pair touted to investors - yet had no involvement in - were a pizzeria in the Bahamas, the development of a casino in Atlantic City on what Mancuso claimed was the last oceanfront property in the city, and a Florida real estate development, prosecutors said.

Both men were heavy gamblers, and Mancuso paid a bookmaker more than $600,000 in 2012 for gambling losses, and owes the same bookmaker an additional $500,000, prosecutors said.

Colone said that when arrested, Mancuso told pretrial investigators he spent about $2,000 a week on gambling. …

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