Philadelphia partner Barry Gross has been quoted in several publications since the verdict in the high-profile case of USA v. Scarfo. Nicodemo 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 Financial Group management and board in 2007.
Our client, David Adler, was charged with 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 related to the scheme to seize control of FirstPlus.
Barry Gross and Greg Miller led a team comprising Stephen Stroup, Tracy Combs and Nicholas Feltham in securing a full acquittal for Mr. Adler, a well-respected New York securities lawyer, after a six-month trial. Defendants Nicodemo Scarfo, Jr., Salvatore Pelullo, William Maxwell and John Maxwell were convicted of all charges brought against them.
In an extended article in the July 20 Philadelphia Inquirer, Barry’s closing arguments in the case against Mr. Adler were quoted at length. In one excerpt, written by Steve Stroup, he said, "If you are Dave Adler, you've spent your whole career building a reputation as an honest, law-abiding person … Then one day, the government decides that based on a couple of phrases on a couple of calls on a couple of days with someone that unbeknownst to you the government believes is a bad guy, they now think you are a bad guy too."
Barry explained that the guns and mob talk interspersed throughout the indictment had nothing to do with Mr. Adler, who was merely involved in papering the transactions. There was even evidence presented of Mr. Adler pressing Pelullo for stricter controls on company operations and tougher leadership by the board.
Barry also told the Inquirer that once it was clear an indictment was on the way, he asked that Mr. Adler be allowed to turn himself in rather than face arrest at his home, as he was not a flight risk. This request was denied and Mr. Adler was arrested before dawn in front of his family in November 2011 and marched to a police car in handcuffs.