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Nov 18, 2011 3:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

MacPherson Accepts Plea For Role In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Nov 22, 2011 10:44 AM

Three months after former Suffolk County Legislator George Guldi was sentenced for his role in a $82 million mortgage fraud case, co-defendant Donald MacPherson, the former owner of Magic’s Pub in Westhampton Beach, pleaded guilty to his role in the elaborate crime.

Mr. MacPherson, 68, who has homes in Westhampton Beach and Manhattan, pleaded guilty on November 16 to 45 felony counts, including grand larceny, insurance fraud, possession of a forged instrument and scheme to defraud, according to court records. Half of the 90 counts that he originally faced were dismissed by Suffolk County Court Judge James F.X. Doyle.

Judge Doyle, who also presided over Mr. Guldi’s case, said Mr. MacPherson would be sentenced to between four and 12 years in prison for accepting the plea. His sentencing is scheduled for January 25, 2012, according to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Mr. MacPherson’s trial was supposed begin on Monday, November 14—two days before he accepted his plea deal.

According to Mr. Clifford, Mr. MacPherson pleaded guilty to 23 counts of grand larceny in the first degree, 11 counts of grand larceny in the second degree, seven counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, three counts of insurance fraud in the third degree and one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree.

The judge will determine Mr. MacPherson’s sentence after examining a pre-sentencing report prepared by the Suffolk County Probation Department. In addition, restitution orders will be decided upon by the judge and also depend on the pre-sentencing report.

In March 2009, five individuals, including Mr. Guldi and Mr. MacPherson, were charged with grand larceny relating to a scheme that, authorities said, involved tens of millions in mortgages secured for properties throughout the East End and elsewhere. The crimes took place between 2002 and 2007.

The mortgage scheme utilized “straw purchasers,” individuals who were able to victimize lenders by filing bogus loan applications, explained Mr. Spota at the time of the 2009 arrests. He added that those involved in the scheme were “mortgage stacking,” a term used to describe the creation of fake title reports aimed at concealing outstanding mortgages on properties and making it appear as though they were owned without debt or liens.

The defendants, prosecutors said, either pocketed the proceeds or used the money to acquire additional homes. Prosecutors also said the scheme involved more than 60 houses, including 
many on the East End.

In September, Mr. MacPherson rejected a plea bargain that would have resulted in him being sentenced to between 28 months and seven years in prison.

“He rejected the plea bargain because he maintains his innocence,” Steven Wilutis, Mr. MacPherson’s attorney, said at the time. “A good reason, huh?”

Mr. Wilutis did not return calls this week seeking comment.

Mr. MacPherson’s wife, Carrie Coakley, also was charged in the plot and is the only defendant who has not yet had her case heard before the court. It is not clear if Ms. Coakley will be offered a plea deal. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, December 5, according to court records.

When the dust of the criminal investigation finally settled, a total of 17 people, including Mr. MacPherson, Ms. Coakley and Mr. Guldi, were indicted in relation to the criminal plot.

Mr. Guldi, a longtime Democratic legislator who used to represent the South Fork, pleaded guilty in July to 34 counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud for his role in the crime. On August 31, Mr. Guldi was sentenced to one to three years in prison, a term to run concurrently with the four-to-12-year sentence that he had already been serving for unrelated insurance fraud and grand larceny charges.

Prosecutors have described the mortgage fraud case as the largest in Suffolk County history.

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The man is a true dirt bag. The authorities knew about his scheme years ago and did nothing.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 18, 11 6:33 PM
If you can verify any of that, it would make "the authorities" the "dirtbags" as well, wouldn't it?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 19, 11 2:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
Seize his assets.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Nov 18, 11 6:40 PM
What assets? Do you have special information?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 19, 11 2:41 AM
aaaahh, what lovely people, just warms the cockles of my heart.
By just breath (82), yuck on Nov 19, 11 8:18 AM
What goes around comes around. They all should be banned from ever owning real estate again. Wasnt he also a lawyer? do we assume any lawyers involved will have the licenses suspended? I am sure he has assets buried away. What about restitution to the state or whoever for all the money spent investigating and court costs? and the damages to banks . People like this helped to crash the real estate market.
By Quogonian (14), Quogue on Nov 19, 11 10:47 AM
In my opinion they need to give harsher sentences and make an examples out of people like this.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Nov 19, 11 4:15 PM