A former Schenectady builder was led from Schenectady County Court this morning in handcuffs to start serving his up-to-four-years prison term for bilking lenders out of more than $500,000.
Angelo Rossi, 48, appeared before Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago this morning to be sentenced after pleading guilty earlier to second-degree attempted grand larceny.
At the sentencing, Rossi said little, but he appeared contrite, indicating agreement with the judge’s comments that he made a “terrible mistake,” a mistake for which he is now paying the price.
The judge also referenced comments Rossi made in a pre-sentence investigation, where Rossi took full responsibility for his actions.
At the same time, Drago also admonished Rossi that such behavior as he admitted to will not be allowed.
“This wrong will not be tolerated,” Drago told Rossi. “Obviously you’re going to state prison for it. I hope you will be able to move on with your life, once you get out.”
Drago also ordered Rossi pay just over $500,000 in restitution. He owes $368,000 to Countrywide, which recouped some of its losses by selling the partially finished homes. He also owes $75,000 and $60,000 to two private lenders.
Rossi is expected to be able to start paying it back once he gets out of state custody. His attorney Peter J. Moschetti Jr., indicated in court that he has a job waiting for him when he gets out.
Moschetti also indicated that the probation officer who completed the pre-sentence investigation recommended Rossi for an intensive state “Shock” program that could cut his time to six months. A decision on whether Rossi would get into the program, though, won’t be made until later.
Rossi was arrested in Florida in January, accused of defrauding lenders out of a total of $640,000.
He did so, prosecutors from the state attorney general’s office alleged, by essentially tricking lender Countrywide Home Loans in 2006 into issuing mortgages on two properties in Duanesburg.
Rossi owed several creditors, but he still wanted to construct two homes on lots on Hardin Road.
To do so, he enlisted the help of two individuals to essentially borrow the money for him. Those individuals told the lenders the homes would be their primary residences. In fact, they just funneled the loan money back to Rossi in exchange for payoffs of $5,000 each, officials said. The buyers then defaulted on the loans.
Rossi started the two homes but never finished them. He also diverted funds from the homes to his own debts. He ultimately moved to Florida, where he was finally arrested.
Rossi served as chairman and owner of Rossi Construction Inc., based in Rotterdam. He also had an office on Guilderland Avenue in Schenectady.
He bought and sold real estate and also built residential homes in the region. In 2009, he moved to Florida.
He had been free on $100,000 bail.
The case was prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office.