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Ex-Legis. George Guldi gets 4 to 12 years

Former Suffolk County legislator, George Guldi, inside Riverhead

Former Suffolk County legislator, George Guldi, inside Riverhead courtroom with his attorney, Leonard Lato. (March 21, 2011) Credit: James Carbone

Calling the theft of $863,000 "very serious business," a Suffolk County Court judge Monday sentenced former county Legis. George Guldi to 4 to 12 years in prison after his conviction last month of grand larceny and insurance fraud.

Judge Robert F.X. Doyle also ordered Guldi, 57, of Westhampton Beach, to pay restitution in that same amount. In addition, he signed an order of protection requested by a witness who testified against Guldi at his trial. The witness, insurance adjuster Bruce Schlosser, said he felt threatened by Guldi, according to the presentencing report.

Guldi, who has spent the last month in the Suffolk County Correctional Center in Riverhead because he was unable to make bail, did not make a statement.

In an interview with a reporter at the jail last week, Guldi said, "I'll file my appeals and go forward."

Guldi, an attorney who was disbarred because of his conviction, represented himself at the trial and vowed to represent himself again in his upcoming $82-million mortgage fraud case involving dozens of luxury homes on the East End.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world," he said in the interview.

Last month, a jury found Guldi guilty of grand larceny and insurance fraud in connection with an $863,473 insurance check he collected after his Westhampton Beach home burned down in November 2008. Guldi was acquitted of forgery and criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Prosecutors said Guldi forged the mortgage lender's endorsement on the check, which should have been used to pay off the mortgage. Instead, the money was deposited into Guldi's checking account.

Attorney Leonard Lato, of Central Islip, who represented Guldi at the sentencing, urged the judge to consider Guldi's mental and physical health and said Guldi takes eight different medications for a host of medical and emotional problems.

Assistant District Attorney Thalia Stavrides said that Guldi abused his position of trust as an attorney. She said Guldi had rejected plea offers that would have resolved the upcoming mortgage fraud case and urged the judge to impose consecutive sentences for the grand larceny and insurance fraud.

Doyle did just that, sentencing Guldi to 3 to 9 years for the grand larceny and 1 to 3 years for the insurance fraud. In an interview afterward, Lato said the combined sentence was 4 to 12 years. He called it "excessive."

Doyle noted that Guldi was "not remorseful" and said, "I hope that you use the time, Mr. Guldi, to straighten your life out."

Guldi was elected to the Suffolk Legislature in 1993 and served until 2003, when he was defeated for re-election.

Asked about how he felt about being in jail, Guldi shrugged and said, "This is where I am."

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