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Unsealed records detail DA Thomas Spota’s probe of Robert Macedonio

Attorney Robert Macedonio at Suffolk County Courthouse in

Attorney Robert Macedonio at Suffolk County Courthouse in Riverhead on Jan. 27, 2016. Credit: James Carbone

Newly unsealed court records in the criminal case of defense attorney Robert Macedonio provided further confirmation that before he pleaded guilty to felony cocaine possession in 2008, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office targeted him in an extensive probe of serious crimes that included mortgage fraud, sale of cocaine, grand larceny and witness tampering.

In the documents, which were unsealed Thursday by acting Suffolk Supreme Court Judge James Hudson in response to a motion by Newsday, investigators for Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota alleged in a search warrant affidavit that they had found evidence Macedonio employed unlicensed brokers with criminal records, lied to state banking authorities and filed fraudulent mortgages while operating a real estate business out of his law office. Macedonio was also alleged to have been active in the drug trade, the records show.

Newsday published a story Thursday in which officials familiar with the case criticized Spota’s handling of the investigation. Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, the officials accused the district attorney, his top corruption prosecutor Christopher McPartland and then-chief investigator James Burke of allowing alleged and confirmed criminal activity from the wiretap investigation to go unpunished. Many of the allegations were corroborated by more than 100 pages of documents and other materials reviewed by the newspaper.

Macedonio’s sole conviction in the case was for felony cocaine possession, leading to the loss of his law license. But his conviction was later vacated with the support of the district attorney’s office, and he regained his law license.

Spota’s office opposed the release of any records in the case, in which many court documents were sealed without explanation. In opposition to Newsday’s April motion to unseal records, prosecutors had argued that nothing unusual had occurred in the case and that the newspaper’s efforts were “an attempt to gin-up interest in the mundane.”

Spota did not respond to a request for comment.

After ruling in Newsday’s favor, Hudson, who oversaw Macedonio’s criminal case, unsealed a search warrant affidavit filed by investigators before a January 2008 raid on the attorney’s law office, as well as the felony plea agreement that Macedonio signed in December of that year. Both sets of documents were heavily redacted to shield the names of unindicted co-conspirators, undercover officers, informants and other information Hudson deemed too sensitive to release.

In the search warrant affidavit, an investigator for the district attorney’s office stated that toward the end of 2006, Macedonio unlawfully allowed at least four individuals with criminal records to work as mortgage brokers using Macedonio’s own license. Macedonio received a split of their commissions, according to the affidavit.

Macedonio then lied in a sworn filing with the New York State Banking Department by attesting that he did not have any felons working for his mortgage company, according to the affidavit and attached exhibits.

The investigator also alleged that Macedonio had a role in a suspected narcotics dealer fabricating his occupation on a mortgage application to receive a loan.

In another section of the affidavit, the investigator detailed allegations concerning Macedonio’s illegal narcotics activity. The investigator said an informant had told authorities that Macedonio fronted money to a drug dealer in return for cash or cocaine and at one point sought to invest thousands in the purchase of a kilo of cocaine, according to the affidavit. It’s not known from the documents whether investigators verified those claims.

The plea agreement also released Thursday — bearing the signatures of Macedonio, his attorneys and McPartland — shows that prosecutors agreed not to charge Macedonio with drug and white-collar crimes, as well as witness tampering and intimidation.

Macedonio referred questions to his attorney, Sarita Kedia, who said Thursday she was unfamiliar with the claims in the search warrant affidavit. Kedia had previously stated that the uncharged crimes on the plea agreement were added only to protect her client from unwarranted charges.

Kedia said that Macedonio’s light treatment proved he had not committed more serious crimes.

“The manner in which he was treated shows that his criminal activity was not ultimately all that serious and was really his own substance abuse problem,” she said.

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