A city man convicted last year in a scheme to defraud owners of classic cars could find out soon whether he will remain free pending appeal.
The man, Ferdinando “Fred” Perillo, has been free since days after a judge in Schenectady sentenced him to 51⁄2 to 11 years in state prison in August. The judge called Perillo a “career con man” who remained unrepentant for his crimes.
Perillo, 65, through his attorney Matthew C. Hug, appealed the conviction and sentence. Hug also asked for Perillo to be released pending appeal.
Justice John C. Egan Jr. of the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court agreed with Hug on Aug. 25 and set bail at $10,000, which Perillo posted.
The Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office is now moving to have Perillo returned to custody as his appeal proceeds, court officials said. A ruling is expected in the next two weeks from the Appellate Division.
Perillo’s overall appeal is expected to be heard later this year.
Judge Frank P. Milano convicted Perillo after a non-jury trial in June of charges that included first-degree scheme to defraud. The convictions came after three days of testimony in Schenectady County Court.
Perillo was convicted of larceny related to one car — a 1976 Chevrolet Nova. The judge found Perillo took another victim for thousands of dollars worth of parts that Perillo never provided.
Milano acquitted Perillo of larceny charges related to two other vehicles — a 1956 Chevrolet and a 1957 Chevrolet.
Besides prison time, Milano ordered Perillo to pay more than $38,000 in restitution.
The judge said at sentencing that Perillo’s testimony during trial could not be true, calling it “fanciful.”
Hug won Perillo’s release after sentencing, noting in papers submitted to the Appellate Division that Perillo remained free pending sentencing with no issues, as well as Perillo’s current physical condition. Perillo cannot walk or drive. He suffers from a traumatic brain injury, strokes and needs an oxygen tank to breathe, Hug wrote.
Perillo appeared at his sentencing in a wheelchair and using an oxygen tank. His attorney at trial, Stephen Rockmacher, said Perillo suffers the effects of a brain injury sustained two years ago.
Hug wrote there is “absolutely no likelihood” that Perillo won’t appear when ordered.
Prosecutor Michael DeMatteo unsuccessfully opposed the defense release motion in August. DeMatteo argued then that Hug showed no likelihood of success on appeal, something he called a key factor in determining whether someone should be released as an appeal proceeds.