Law Offices of Frank J. Riccio LLC 923 East Main Street Bridgeport, Connecticut 06608 Phone: 203-333-6135 Fax: 203-333-6190
In The News
CITY WORKER A SUSPECT IN METAL THEFT
BRIDGEPORT, CT (Connecticut Post, February 24, 2012) -- Municipal property worth thousands of dollars has been disappearing all over the city and turning up in an East Side scrap yard, and officials now suspect a city employee may be involved. Ornamental light poles, security gates and traffic signs ended up at Eastern Scrap Metals on Knowlton Street, sold for their metal value. In some cases, stop signs and key traffic signs may have been pulled out of the ground, resulting in dangerous situations for motorists. During a closed hearing January 10 before Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett, suspect Zhen Huang said he has regularly purchased items identified as city property. In fact, the day after his arrest, he purchased additional items he knew belonged to the city's Department of Public Facilities. This information disclosed at the closed hearing was detailed in a letter sent by Deputy City Attorney Arthur Laske III to state prosecutors in opposition to Huang receiving special probation in the case. Copies of the letter was also sent to Andrew Nunn, the city's chief administrative officer; Charles Carroll, director of public facilities, and Huang's lawyer, Frank J. Riccio.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/6n6qgvm
POLICE INDICTMENTS SIGNAL COURT BATTLE
HARTFORD, CT (CT Law Tribune, January 30, 2012) -- The indictment last week of four East Haven police officers in a long-running civil rights probe signals the beginning of a protracted, if not political, battle in criminal and civil courts. The East Haven Police Department's treatment of Hispanics has been under federal scrutiny since 2009 when the U.S. Department of Justice launched a civil rights probe that found a pattern of discrimination and biased policing. Frank J. Riccio, a Bridgeport, CT, defense lawyer who represents Dennis Spaulding - one of the police officers on the criminal side of the East Haven case, stated (during an interview about the case) "[t]his is a long road here," said Riccio of the forthcoming court battles in the East Haven case. "How big a part does politics play and how does it influence the potential problems at a trial? It's a rhetorical question because I don't have an answer for it. It's not going to be one of those simply cut and dried trials I don't think."
FBI ARRESTS FOUR POLICE OFFICERS IN CONN. BIAS PROBE
BRIDGEPORT, CT (MSNBC, January 24, 2012) -- Four police officers, including the president of the local police union, were arrested Tuesday by the FBI on charges they they used excessive force against illegal immigrants and covered up abuses in a New Haven suburb where a federal investigation found life was made miserable for Hispanics. Dennis Spaulding's attorney, Frank J. Riccio II, said his client is an exemplary police officer. "At this early stage, it is our position that Mr. Spaulding is not guilty of the charges," said Riccio. "He's been nothing but an exemplary police officer. That's why this is shocking."
ASMAR ACQUITTED OF SIX CHARGES IN FEDERAL MORTGAGE FRAUD TRIAL
HARTFORD, CT (April 13, 2011) -- Marshall Asmar, one of six defendants on trial in a federal mortgage fraud conspiracy, was acquitted of six of the federal charges brought against him. He was convicted, however, of criminal conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of false statements. Mr. Asmar's attorney, Frank J. Riccio II, was happy with the verdict, though disappointed that the jury did not fully acquit his client. "The jury fully evaluated the evidence, and we feel as though their verdict was a partial vindication."
FEDERAL MORTGAGE FRAUD TRIAL BEGINS IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT, HARTFORD
HARTFORD, CT (March 17, 2011) -- The trial of six people accused of elaborate mortgage fraud schemes across the state — including a West Haven police commissioner, a New Haven rabbi and a former New Haven lawyer — began Wednesday with a flow chart and a photograph. The chart, Assistant U.S. Attorney Liam Brennan said during his opening statement, showed the web of transactions the government alleges the defendants used to lie on loan applications, sales contracts and property appraisals in order to funnel “millions of dollars in fraudulent loan proceeds” into their own pockets. Olmer’s attorney, Audrey Felsen, reminded jurors that they are to judge on the evidence, not on character or moral failings. Asmar’s attorney, Frank Riccio, told jurors they’d find some of those on trial to be “more victims than defendants.”
EXPERTS SAY FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY AVOIDS BLACK EYE IN PERLITZ SCANDAL
BRIDGEPORT (January 23, 2011) -- Take an honored graduate, a respected Jesuit priest and a humanitarian program funded with nearly a million dollars to assist homeless Haitian boys. Then add a sex scandal, an international investigation, a federal conviction and $120,500 in unaccounted expenses. It's the recipe for a public relations' nightmare. Except crisis experts, school alumni and some professors believe Fairfield University properly handled the issues involving Douglas Perlitz, a 1992 graduate and 2002 commencement speaker; and the Rev. Paul Carrier, the school's former chaplain and director of campus ministry and their Project Pierre Toussaint humanitarian effort in Haiti.
Some alumni like Frank Riccio II, a local defense lawyer, Thomas McCarthy, Bridgeport City Council president and Angel DePara Jr., a Bridgeport councilman, believe their alma mater weathered the storm well. "Whenever a university is placed in a bad light it is a cause for concern," said Riccio. "What Fairfield didn't do is rush to judgment like Duke University in the wake of their lacrosse scandal." In 2006, Duke suspended its lacrosse program and forced the coach to resign after three players were arrested on charges of raping a stripper. The allegations were found to be false. "That blemish will forever stain Duke's reputation," Riccio believes.
BRIDGEPORT (December 1, 2010) -- The reputed head of a local white supremacist group and a black co-defendant walked out of federal court free men early Wednesday afternoon after a jury acquitted them of charges that they conspired to sell guns and hand grenades to an FBI informant brokering the deal for a Ku Klux Klan offshoot. Kenneth Zrallack Jr., the 29-year-old head of the Connecticut White Wolves, now known as Battalion 14, Connecticut Chapter of North East White Pride, and David Sutton, a 46-year-old landscaper from Milford, left the building in the company of their lawyers following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall. Mr. Sutton was represented at trial by Attorney Frank J. Riccio II.
BRIDGEPORT (November 29, 2010) -- Defense lawyers claim it's a case of over-reaching and entrapment by the FBI. The prosecution maintains the guns and grenades purchased from a Connecticut white supremacist group were intended to fuel a Ku Klux Klan-inspired racial holy war. On Tuesday, a 12-member jury will begin deliberations in determining whether Kenneth Zrallack Jr., the 29-year-old head of the Connecticut White Wolves, now known as Battalion 14, Connecticut Chapter of North East White Pride; Alexander DeFelice, a 33-year-old weapons expert, and David Sutton, DeFelice's 46-year-old black friend, conspired to sell guns and grenades to an Imperial Klans of America member working for the FBI. Frank Riccio II, Sutton's lawyer, argued during final argument that his client appears and disappears on the same day -- Dec. 28, 2009, when he stumbles on a meeting between DeFelice and Anastasio while seeking the former's advice on a radiator repair. He asked the jury to consider seriously whether a black man would conspire to sell weapons to the Ku Klux Klan. And Riccio urged them to determine if offering to help a friend find tools, which he couldn't deliver, is enough to join a conspiracy.
BRIDGEPORT (November 16, 2010) --The trial of two members of a white supremacist group and a black associate accused of conspiring to sell guns and hand grenades to a convicted felon working for a Ku Klux Klan offshoot is headed to the jury Tuesday Lawyers for Kenneth Zrallack Jr., the reputed 29-year-old leader of the Connecticut White Wolves, now known as Battalion 14, Connecticut Chapter of North East White Pride; Alexander DeFelice, 33, of Milford, their reputed weapons maker, and his black friend, David Sutton, 46, also of Milford, along with the prosecution team, will sum up their evidence to the 12-member jury and four alternates Monday. Once they conclude, U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall will instruct the members of the panel on the laws they must consider.
Of the defendants, only Sutton took the stand. There Sutton said he was only playing along with DeFelice when he told Anastasio he knew about the grenade deal and that he wanted DeFelice to look for guns for his brother-in-law. Anastasio recorded that conversation as well as another that also took place Dec. 28, 2009 in Sutton's garage. There the trio looked unsuccessfully for a tap and bolts to hold the gunpowder and make the grenades operable. But it was only that day, and only a few hours that day, that Sutton was involved, according to the evidence presented. "Did you help Mr. DeFelice construct grenades?" asked Frank Riccio II, Sutton's lawyer. "Never," his client replied.
BLACK MAN TIED TO ACTIONS OF WHITE SUPREMACY GROUP
BRIDGEPORT (November 16, 2010) -- One co-defendant in the trial of two avowed white supremacists will stand out Monday morning in a federal courtroom. That's because David Sutton is a black man -- caught up in a conspiracy to sell homemade hand grenades to what his co-defendants believed was a member of the powerful Imperial Klans of America. For the next three weeks, Sutton will be there, with his lawyer, Frank Riccio II, listening to a litany of evidence, recordings and videotapes involving Kenneth Zrallack, the 29-year-old Ansonia man the government claims is the leader of the Connecticut White Wolves -- now known as Battalion 14 of North East White Pride -- and Alexander DeFelice, a 33-year-old Milford man described by investigators as the "dealmaker" in this case.
BRIDGEPORT (October 26, 2010) -- No one can challenge his experience. After all, Joseph P. Ganim spent more than six years in two federal prison camps. Nor can anyone question his knowledge of the system. After all, the former mayor did work the system by claiming a substance abuse problem, successfully completing a treatment program and as a result, getting a year knocked off his term. Now the former five-term Bridgeport mayor is offering this knowledge and his experience to help other incoming white-collar inmates make the best of their days in the slammer -- but at a price. The ex-mayor, along with his brother, George Ganim Jr., has created Federal Prison Consultant LLC and built an impressive website (www.fpcteam.com) to promote their services. Attorney Frank Riccio Jr., who has handled a number of drug and sex exploitation cases in federal court, routinely recommends to judges that his clients be enrolled in treatment programs. "On that, Joe and I would say the same thing," Riccio said. "What Joe, being someone who has been behind the walls can offer is ways to truly manage yourself while inside." Still both Riccio and Jeffrey Meyer, a former federal prosecutor and currently an associate professor at Quinnipiac Law School, believes this enterprise enables Ganim to show his federal probation officer, to whom he will be reporting for the next three years that he is gainfully employed and trying to do good for people.
SHELTON DEVELOPER MAY NOT BE THE LAST CHARGED OR SENT TO JAIL
BRIDGEPORT (October 23, 2010) -- There are two certainties that can be taken from Thursday's guilty plea by multimillionaire developer Robert Scinto in the ongoing seven-year long probe of municipal corruption in Shelton, defense lawyers, prosecutors and a retired FBI agent say. One, the investigation isn't over until federal prosecutors say it's over. And two, Scinto and his lawyers must now convince Senior U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. why some prison time is not warranted. "I've always said this investigation has parallels to the (former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph) Ganim probe," said Frank Riccio Jr., who has represented numerous defendants in federal court. In the five-year long investigation of municipal corruption in Bridgeport, prosecutors obtained convictions against 10 officials, contractors, developers and mayoral confidants before convicting the mayor.
HARTFORD (October 7, 2010) -- On its fourth day of deliberations in U.S. District Court in Hartford, a jury found Wednesday that four local men are not guilty of conspiring to distribute large amounts of cocaine throughout the New London area.
Colvin's attorney, Frank Riccio II, said, "We are very happy to see the jury conscientiously evaluated the evidence and correctly determined there was no conspiracy." Using wiretaps, GPS tracking, hidden cameras, controlled purchases and other investigative techniques, federal, state and local police had built a case against more than 15 people, many of them friends and relatives of each other. They said the conspiracy dated back to at least March 2007, when 25-year-old Renaldo Goosby of New London died in a car crash after fleeing from a Waterford police officer who was about to search his car with a drug-sniffing dog. Phone records showed that Goosby had talked to some of the defendants the day he died and had called one of them during the traffic stop. Police said they found 3 kilograms of cocaine strapped to the drive shaft of Goosby's car.
BRIDGEPORT(September 28, 2010) -- A Superior Court jury deliberated only about 20 minutes Tuesday before finding a city man not guilty of all charges against him in connection with the shooting last year of another man who was slashing the tires of a car.
William Young left the Main Street courthouse a free man after the six-member jury found him not guilty of two counts of first-degree assault and one count of conspiracy. "I'm happy the jury paid close attention to all the evidence and testimony in the case and came back with the appropriate verdict," said Young's lawyer, Frank Riccio Sr. Young, 33, of Shelton Street, was accused of handing a .40-caliber handgun to 28-year-old Carlos Ocasio on Aug. 16, 2009 that Ocasio then used to shoot Hector Alicea of Bridgeport. According to police, the victim was in the process of slashing Ocasio's tires at the corner of Shelton and Pembroke streets when Ocasio confronted him and shot him in the back.
BRIDGEPORT (May 20, 2010) -- Two city men were found not guilty Wednesday of attacking a third man with baseball bats during a dispute three years ago. A Superior Court jury deliberated less than an hour before finding Anthony Rivera, 21, of Yacht Street and Ronald Nivar, 24, of uncertain address, not guilty of first-degree assault. "The evidence against my client was convoluted and the jury saw right through it and rendered the appropriate verdict," said Rivera's lawyer, Frank Riccio Sr. His client spent three months in jail while awaiting trial in the case.
BRIDGEPORT (February 19, 2009) -- A man charged last November with using a camera phone to take a photo under a woman's skirt in a Fairfield bookstore last summer was granted special probation Wednesday. Superior Court Judge Bruce Levin granted accelerated rehabilitation for N.B., of Trumbull. He was charged with three counts of breach of peace and two counts of impairing the morals of a minor. Under accelerated rehabilitation, Mr. B. did not admit his guilt, but was placed on one year of probation by the judge. If he commits no other crime during that period, the original charges against him will be dismissed. Levin also ordered Mr. B. to do 35 hours of community service and have no further contact with the victim. "All things considered this is the appropriate disposition for Mr. B.," his lawyer, Frank Riccio Jr., said later. "He can continue to pursue his electrical career without any further incidents." During the hearing Riccio presented the judge with a written evaluation of his client by Dr. Andrew Kass of the Sterling Center in Shelton. The report concluded that B. does not have the characteristics of a sex offender. "Dr. Kass found the incident was a one-of-a-kind aberrant act," Riccio said.
FORMER ALL STAR OFFERMAN SUED IN MINOR LEAGUE BAT ATTACK
Associated Press - NEW HAVEN, CT (AP) (February 15, 2009) -- Former All-Star Jose Offerman was sued Thursday in a bat-wielding attack at a minor league game that injured two opposing players. Bridgeport Bluefish catcher John Nathans filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, seeking $4.8 million in damages. He says the attack left him with permanent, career-ending injuries. Offerman was batting for the Long Island Ducks against the Bluefish in Bridgeport on Aug. 14, 2007, when pitcher Matt Beech hit him with a fastball. Offerman charged the mound with his bat and swung at least twice, striking Beech and Nathans. An All-Star infielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995 and Boston Red Sox in 1999, Offerman had faced up to 10 years in prison on two felony assault charges. He was granted probation in 2007, ordered to get anger management treatment and pay the medical expenses of Beech and Nathans. Nathans said he was hit in the head with Offerman's bat, causing a brain concussion, inner ear damage, vertigo, headaches and post-concussion syndrome. "I have tons of headaches every day, vomiting every week," Nathan said. There's not a day that I don't have symptoms. There's days I'm completely debilitated." Offerman's lawyer, Frank Riccio Jr., said he hasn't seen the lawsuit. "All options will be weighed at the time we receive the suit," he said.
ATTORNEY UNSURE IF OFFERMAN HIT PITCHER, CATCHER WITH BAT
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) (August 21, 2007) -- An attorney for former major-league All-Star Jose Offerman said Tuesday his client should not have been arrested for an attack in the minors, challenging charges that he struck a pitcher and catcher with his bat. Offerman was playing for the Long Island Ducks when he allegedly hit the opposing catcher and pitcher Tuesday night at Bridgeport. He was indefinitely suspended the next day. Offerman was originally due in Bridgeport Superior Court on Thursday. His appearance was continued until Sept. 24. Offerman's attorney, Frank Riccio, said he was still talking to witnesses, looking at photographs and gathering evidence but did not believe his client struck the players with a bat. "I think a mistake was made by him charging the mound with a bat in his hand," Riccio said. "But after that, everything is a blur." Riccio said the pitcher could have been injured when he punched Offerman in the head, while the catcher appeared to grab the arm Offerman was using to hold the bat. "We dispute the fact that any contact was made with the bat," Riccio said. "It's as likely these two players got injured in the melee that followed the incident as opposed to the baseball bat incident." Riccio said his client should never have been arrested. "I think baseball polices itself very well," Riccio said. "I think it should be left to baseball to decide what should be done." Offerman was charged with two counts of second-degree assault and is due back in a Connecticut court Thursday.
HARTFORD, CT (AP) (October 30, 2007). -- Former major league All-Star Jose Offerman was granted probation Tuesday and ordered to get anger management treatment for a bat-wielding attack during a minor league game that injured two opposing players. Bridgeport Superior Court Judge James Ginocchio also ruled that Offerman, 38, must pay the medical expenses of Bridgeport Bluefish catcher John Nathans and pitcher Matt Beech. Offerman, an All-Star infielder with the Dodgers in 1995 and Red Sox in 1999, had faced up to 10 years in prison on two felony assault charges. He was granted accelerated rehabilitation, a form of probation that will allow the charges to be dismissed after two years if he abides by the judge's orders. Offerman, who was trying to return to the majors, was batting for the Long Island Ducks in a game against the Bluefish in Bridgeport on Aug. 14 when Beech hit him with a fastball. Offerman charged the mound with his bat and swung at least twice, striking Beech and Nathans. Offerman's lawyer, Frank Riccio, had disputed that Offerman struck the two players with his bat. He said Beech could have been injured when he punched Offerman in the head, and added Nathans appeared to grab the arm Offerman used to hold the bat. Riccio said Offerman gave the judge written statements from current and former major league players supporting him. Riccio declined to identify the players. Offerman, who lives in lower New York state, last played in the majors in 2005 with the New York Mets. He batted .273 during his 15 seasons in the majors.
WTNH-TV, Story by Annie Rourke - Bridgeport (WTNH) - Police geared up and went after drug suspects in a massive sweep on the streets of Bridgeport, where police say one suspect was unintentionally shot during the raid. See WTNH Channel 8 (New Haven, CT) video news story, featuring Attorney Frank J. Riccio, Esq. and Frank J. Riccio II, Esq., below. Police raids, man shot in Bridgeport: wtnh.com
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