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PLYMOUTH, MASS. LAWYER SENTENCED TO JAIL FOR ROLE IN U.S. FUNDING MATTER

 BOSTON, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- A Plymouth, Mass. attorney was sentenced to 21 months of incarceration today for his role in the operation of U.S. Funding, Inc. of America, a now defunct second mortgage lender, formerly located in Weymouth and Hingham, Mass.
 U.S. Attorney A. John Pappalardo announced that United States District Court Chief Judge Joseph L. Tauro sentenced Frank Scarpaci, Jr., age 38, of Plymouth, Mass., to serve 21 months of incarceration, to be followed by 2 years of supervised release, on his convictions for conspiracy and 9 counts of fraud in connection with the operation of U.S. Funding. Judge Tauro also ordered Scarpaci to pay $500 in special assessments and to surrender on March 31, 1993 to begin serving his sentence.
 Scarpaci, an attorney, was formerly a partner in Abelson, Cohen & Scarpaci, the Plymouth, MA law firm which acted as the primary closing attorneys for U.S. Funding. He was also the President of Stewart Title of Massachusetts, a Massachusetts title insurance firm. Scarpaci was disbarred by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in January, 1993 and will be ineligible to apply for readmission for 5 years.
 At a change of plea hearing on November 13, 1992 the government said that had the case gone to trial it would have shown that U.S. Funding engaged in wide scale fraud during the years 1985 to 1989 in connection with the granting of first and second mortgages, including the falsification of tax returns, pay stubs, W-2 forms, appraisals, and other documents, in connection with applications for loans. One aspect of the fraud was the failure of U.S. Funding to pay off prior loans, when borrowers refinanced the property with U.S. Funding. Abelson, Cohen & Scarpaci was the primary law firm used by U.S. Funding to close these loans. In connection with this role as closing attorney, Abelson, Cohen & Scarpaci issued certificates of title with regard to these transactions and failed to make sure that prior liens on the property were discharged. Scarpaci admitted to his personal involvement in fraud relating to eight loans, as well as the execution of a check kite in July, 1989 on the Abelson, Cohen & Scarpaci attorneys' escrow account.
 The 112 Count Indictment in the case was returned on April 14, 1992. To date, 7 of the 16 defendants who have been charged in the case have plead guilty. Frank Scarpaci, Jr. is the first defendant to be sentenced. The trial of the case is scheduled to begin on April 19, 1993 before Judge Tauro.
 The investigation leading to this prosecution was conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Massachusetts State Police, the U.S. Postal Service and the Office of the Massachusetts State Auditor and is being jointly prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office and the Office of Norfolk County District Attorney, William D. Delahunt. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter A. Mullin and Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Dennis C. Mahoney, who has been appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, are prosecuting the case.
 -0- 2/26/93
 /CONTACT: U.S. Attorney's press office, 617-223-9445/


CO: ST: Massachusetts IN: SU:

CH -- NE010 -- 1059 02/26/93 18:09 EST
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Date:Feb 26, 1993
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