Defense team for reputed Lucchese crime family soldier Nicodemo Scarfo Jr and associate Salvatore Pelullo in the FirstPlus Financial racketeering trial went on the offensive. Prosecutors claim that Scarfo the son of former Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo along with Pelullo headed a hostile mob takeover of the financial service company looting millions of dollars from it. They claimed in the indictment that Pelullo back in 2007 acquired and created companies as part of the scheme to take over FirstPlus Financial and defraud the companies investors. But defense attorney’s attacked the prosecutions allegations using the testimony from one of the governments own key witnesses who offered an insight into the take over from the witness stand.
“Nicky Scarfo jr and Sal Pelullo”
Key witness Cory Leshner a lawyer who prosecutors claimed worked for Scarfo and Pelullo at FirstPlus handling day to day operations that included managing credit and bank accounts used to conceal the money being pilfered by the mafia. Leshner facing a possible 100 yeas in prison decided to cut a deal with prosecutors and testify against the reputed mobsters in return for a plea deal of only five years in prison for his crimes. But while testifying Leshner claimed that Pelullo launched the businesses included in the governments indictment before he even knew that the FirstPlus Financial firm even existed.
Defense lawyers attacked this part of Leshners testimony claiming that it contradicted the governments theory and allegations that Pelullo created these companies as tools to use for taking over FirstPlus. It is still unclear how this will play into the juries assessment of the indictment as a whole but it is a interesting twist in what is a very complicated case. Little Nicky Scarfo and former Lucchese family boss Vittorio “Vic” Amuso were both identified pre-trial as unindicted co-conspirators in the case and it is believed that money from the scam benefited the Lucchese family of the New York Mafia as well as the Scarfo’s.