A man with a long history of defrauding others was sentenced Monday in Schenectady County Court to up to 71⁄2 years in state prison for a bad check scheme connected to his business.
Edward C. Cuomo, 50, of Brandywine Avenue, Schenectady, was sentenced to a total of 21⁄2 to 71⁄2 years in state prison after pleading guilty earlier to two counts of third-degree grand larceny, a felony.
He was also ordered to pay just under $24,000 in restitution, mostly to banks he defrauded.
Cuomo was arrested in September 2011, accused of writing checks against a closed personal account, depositing them in his business account and then withdrawing the cash before the banks realized the checks were bad, authorities have said. Cuomo’s business was called Supreme Steak and Seafood.
He was also accused of using others in similar schemes, giving them a percentage of the take.
In court Monday, Cuomo declined to directly give a statement during sentencing. Through his attorney Sven Paul, though, he apologized for his actions.
“He expresses his sincere remorse and apologizes to all those affected by his conduct,” Paul told the court.
Paul said his client maintains that he did not embark on his business ventures with the purpose of defrauding others. But, “as is his pattern, he either becomes overwhelmed or looks for a quick remedy to get out of an immediate situation, at which point he obviously makes grievous errors, which result in harm to others, as well as harm to Edward.”
Cuomo’s criminal history goes back 24 years and includes 32 misdemeanor and three felony convictions, prosecutors have said. The felonies were for similar conduct, prosecutors have said, and resulted in three separate prison terms.
Sentencing Cuomo was Supreme Court Justice Michael V. Coccoma, who referenced a pre-sentencing report that cited Cuomo’s prior problems with gambling, as well as a pattern of similar activity.
He said he wouldn’t be surprised if gambling was what brings out Cuomo’s larcenous behavior.
While in custody, and after he gets out, Coccoma urged Cuomo to re-engage in counseling or Gamblers Anonymous.
“Otherwise this pattern is just going to continue and the result will be innocent people will be harmed and your freedom is going to be impaired,” Coccoma said.
“In other words,” he said a short time later, “you’re just going to continue this cycle unless you take affirmative steps to break the cycle.”