Schenectady County

Schenectady man accused of fraud with checks held on bond

A Schenectady man accused in a $20,000 check-writing scheme was ordered held Friday on $40,000 bond.

A city man accused in a $20,000 check-writing scheme was ordered held Friday on $40,000 bond.

With his prior felony convictions making him a possible persistent felon, the man may also face up to life in prison if convicted, a prosecutor told the judge.

Edward C. Cuomo, 50, of 242 Brandywine Ave., was arrested earlier this month for defrauding three financial institutions out of a total of $20,000, prosecutor William Sanderson told Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago on Friday.

Cuomo was in court asking Drago to set bail in his case. His prior felony convictions, in similar cases from the 1990s, prevented lower courts from considering bail. Cuomo has been in jail on the Schenectady case since Oct. 14.

Cuomo’s attorney, Sven Paul, argued for bail to be set as low as $10,000. Paul argued that Cuomo is the owner of a local business, is a lifelong resident of the area and, his record notwithstanding, has had little police contact in the past five years.

Sanderson, though, argued that Cuomo’s business itself factored into the current case.

“Mr. Cuomo, in his bail application, takes great pride in his accomplishment in owning Supreme Steak and Seafood,” Sanderson said. “But his business account is at the very core of his scheme that the grand jury returned indictments on.”

Sanderson indicated that the grand jury has taken action, but the indictment has not yet been handed up. For now, Cuomo faces felony grand larceny counts out of Schenectady and Rotterdam. He also faces a charge in Colonie.

Later, Sanderson told The Gazette that the allegations are that Cuomo wrote checks off of a closed personal account, deposited them in his business account and then withdrew the cash before the banks realized the checks were bad.

He also allegedly used others in similar schemes, giving them a percentage of the take.

In court, Sanderson gave an overview of Rizzo’s criminal history related to the bail application. That history goes back 24 years and includes 32 misdemeanor convictions and three felony convictions. The felonies resulted in three separate prison terms, Sanderson said.

Those felonies also mean that Cuomo’s potential exposure is a maximum term of 25 years to life in state prison as a persistent felon. Asked by Drago if prosecutors would seek that, Sanderson said they would.

Paul declined to comment later. But he said any comments regarding the merits of the case or any possible disposition were premature.

Drago ultimately set Cuomo’s bail at $40,000, focusing on a recent allegation that he failed to show up for court in Colonie, choosing instead to tend to his business.

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