Cory Leshner, 30, of West Reading, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to information accusing him of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced on Monday.
Leshner was involved in an alleged conspiracy to defraud Texas-based FirstPlus Financial Group Inc., Fishman said. The alleged conspiracy was led by alleged Lucchese organized crime family member Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., of Galloway Township.
John Parisi, 52, of Atlantic City, previously pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme in which Scarfo and his wife, Lisa Marie, made a false mortgage application for the purchase of a $715,000 Egg Harbor Township home. Lisa Marie Scarfo pleaded guilty the day before Parisi did.
The Scarfos, Leshner and 12 others were charged with various counts of racketeering, the illegal takeover of FirstPlus Financial, including acts of securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, extortion, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
Leshner admitted he joined the alleged conspiracy in April of 2007, Fishman said. He admitted he helped co-conspirators Nicodemo Scarfo and Salvatore Pelullo manage family trusts and limited liability companies, Fishman said.
Leshner said Pelullo directed him in the use of various bank accounts between July of 2007 and April of 2008, Fishman said.
Pelullo received hundreds of thousands of dollars through these accounts, including money Pelullo obtained through a fraudulent consulting agreement, according to Fishman. He received the money through a shell company and co-conspirator William Maxwell, an attorney in Texas who served as “special counsel” to FirstPlus as part of the alleged scheme.
The funds were exchanged via wire transfer between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Fishman said.
Leshner graduated from law school in 2010 and became an attorney in Pennsylvania in 2011. Leshner agreed to notify the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of his guilty plea and accept any punishment that comes as a result, Fishman said. He has also agreed not to seek reinstatement of his license to practice law while serving whatever sentence is handed down, Fishman said.
The trial for the remaining defendants, including Scarfo, Pelullo, Maxwell, John Maxwell, and attorneys David Adler, Gary McCarthy, and Donald Manno, is set to begin Oct. 28.