George Guldi to represent himself in mortgage fraud case

Former Suffolk County Legislator George Guldi at Riverhead

Former Suffolk County Legislator George Guldi at Riverhead Criminal Court, where he announced he will represent himself in a mortgage fraud case. (Aug. 9, 2010) (Credit: James Carbone)

Travel deals

Former Suffolk Legis. George Guldi said Monday he would defend himself in court against mortgage fraud charges after his attorney left the case.

Guldi, in papers filed with Suffolk County Judge James F.X. Doyle, said Hauppauge attorney Paul Gianelli was forced into "involuntary servitude" because Guldi could not pay him after prosecutors seized his assets following his arrest last year in connection with the alleged $82 million.

Guldi, 57, of Westhampton Beach, has pleaded not guilty to more than 100 felony counts of conspiracy, money laundering, grand larceny, forgery and fraud. Suffolk prosecutors say Guldi served as an attorney in the fraudulent purchases of 60 homes using straw buyers and falsified documents. Guldi is free on $500,000 bail.

In addition to Guldi, 16 other people were charged in connection with the alleged mortgage fraud, which District Attorney Thomas Spota has called the biggest in Suffolk history.

In the papers filed Monday, Guldi said prosecutors engaged in "systematic misconduct" and used illegal surveillance to spy on him.

"This case seems destined to break every constitutional right there is," he said in the court filing.

Assistant District Attorney Thalia Stavrides declined to comment outside court.

Doyle on Monday granted Gianelli's request to be excused from the case. Guldi said he would be his own attorney.

Guldi, who has been an attorney since 1979, told Doyle he had represented defendants in criminal trials, "but I've never tried a felony."

He said he had to fire staff at his Westhampton Beach law office due to the seizure of his assets. Guldi declined to comment outside court. Doyle said Guldi's trial likely would begin in January.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday