Man convicted of defrauding Pittsburgh-area investors wants acquittal or new trial
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A Florida man convicted in August of defrauding 13 Pittsburgh-area investors, including a judge and a retired judge, says his conviction was unfair and that he should be acquitted or granted a new trial.
But federal prosecutors say Alfredo Sararo III is clearly guilty, received a fair trial and doesn't deserve a new one.
A Florida jury convicted Mr. Sararo, a former Monroeville tennis champion and Allegheny County probation officer, on tax and wire fraud counts in connection with a complex set of real estate transactions on the Gulf Coast.
Prosecutors in Pittsburgh said Mr. Sararo duped investors, including retired Common Pleas Judge Robert Horgos, Senior Judge Gerard Bigley and several local doctors and lawyers, of $3.3 million.
Brendan Conway, a federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh who represented the government in the four-week trial in U.S. District Court in Ft. Myers, said Mr. Sararo concocted a series of schemes to embezzle money from Judge Horgos's bank account, bought real estate at lower prices than he disclosed to his investors, pocketing the difference, and improperly transferred real estate to himself.
He was also convicted of filing false tax returns.
In motions filed this week, Mr. Sararo said his trial was unfair but provided few details. He filed a motion for acquittal and a motion for a new trial.
In a response Thursday, Mr. Conway said he shouldn't get either.
"In short," he wrote, "the defendant received a fair trial. The government, over a four-week period, presented overwhelming testimonial and documentary evidence of the defendant's guilt. There is simply no basis for the court to grant the defendant's motion for a new trial."
Mr. Horgos and Mr. Sararo were longtime friends and former business partners, but their relationship soured as a result of the land deals.
Mr. Horgos, of Sewickley Hills, ran into personal financial problems because of his dealings with Mr. Sararo. He testified for the prosecution under a grant of immunity.
Mr. Sararo was found guilty of nine counts. The jury found him not guilty of one count, and a final count was dismissed before the case went to the jury.
U.S. District Court Judge John E. Steele is scheduled to sentence Mr. Sararo on Nov. 26.
Mr. Sararo is free on bond.
First Published October 12, 2012 11:53 am