Philadelphia partner Barry Gross was quoted in the New Jersey Law Journal in an article titled, “Attorneys Acquitted in Mob Racketeering Case.” Barry led a team comprising Greg Miller, Stephen Stroup, Nicholas Feltham and Tracy Combs in securing a full acquittal for client David Adler, a well-respected New York securities lawyer, in the case of USA v. Scarfo et al.

On July 3, after a six-month trial, a federal jury in Camden acquitted Mr. Adler on all counts brought against him by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.  Defendants Nicodemo Scarfo, Jr., Salvatore Pelullo, William Maxwell and John Maxwell were convicted of all charges brought against them, while lawyers Gary McCarthy and Donald Manno, like Mr. Adler, were acquitted of all charges. The jury acquitted Mr. Adler of one count of RICO conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud.

Scarfo, described by prosecutors as a “made member” of the Lucchese crime family, and Salvatore Pelullo, referred to as a Lucchese family associate, were accused of using economic extortion and threats of physical harm to intimidate and remove the FirstPlus management and board in 2007.  The charges against Mr. Adler, Mr. McCarty and Mr. Manno related to the scheme to seize control of FirstPlus.

Barry called the case a “true horror story” of what can happen to a lawyer just doing his job.

He explained that Mr. McCarthy referred the securities work to Dechert, which in turn referred it to the Olshan firm, where Adler, who had a “completely unblemished record,” was the administrative partner.

Adler was asked to do securities filings for FirstPlus, “something done by lawyers every single day in this country,” said Barry. “One of our defenses was that the information is only as good as the client provides.”

Barry told the NJLJ that the case was “extremely difficult to defend” because of the organized-crime allegations, “even though we made it clear to the jury that Adler was not involved in any of that.”

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