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Long IslandCrime

LI Crime Briefs

ISLANDWIDE/3 plead guilty in mortgage scheme

Two attorneys and a former attorney from Long Island pleaded guilty Wednesday in Manhattan federal court to participating in a $66 million mortgage-fraud scheme.

Jacquelyn Todaro, 42, of Westbury, Neal Sultzer, 61, of Plainview, and Michael Schlussel, 50, of Merrick, each face up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

The three were among 14 people charged last year with participating in a scheme to use straw buyers and lie on loan applications to get fraudulent mortgages from banks on more than 100 properties on Long Island, in New York City and Westchester and Dutchess counties.

They operated the scam through a company called First Class Equities, also known as Thunder Funding and TAT Mutual Capital, with offices in Oceanside and Old Westbury, prosecutors said.

Todaro and Sultzer were both lawyers, and Schlussel was a disbarred former lawyer representing himself as an attorney in good standing, prosecutors said, who used their positions to distribute the money to members of the conspiracy.

"These individuals exploited their trusted positions as attorneys," Bharara said.

Altogether, nine defendants have pleaded guilty, and five others are scheduled for trial July 2. Lawyers for Todaro, Sulzer and Schlussel declined to comment or did not respond to messages.


RIVERHEAD/Boy, 5, struck by truck, hospitalized

A 5-year-old boy was airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center on Wednesday night after he was struck by a pickup truck on Horton Avenue in Riverhead, police said.

Riverhead Town police said the boy, whose identity was not released, suffered cuts and bruising. His condition Thursday was not disclosed.

The driver of the pickup, Cornelius M. Trent, 41, of Flanders, was not injured and was not charged.

Police said Trent was driving his 1997 Mazda pickup north on Horton in Riverhead when the boy stepped into the road about 8 p.m.


MANORVILLE/Woman lost in pine barrens rescued

A woman who got lost walking in a wooded area of Manorville on Wednesday evening was led to safety after police located her from a helicopter overhead.

About 7:45 p.m., the woman, who was not identified, called 911 to report she was lost, Suffolk police said. Seventh Precinct officers, parks police and an aviation unit responded.

Police narrowed the search field to an area of the Long Island pine barrens region northeast of County Route 111 and Route 51, Suffolk County police said.

The aviation unit found the woman, who was not injured. -- JOHN VALENTI

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