12/18/09 – TG: Investigation continues in possible bankruptcy fraud case of Tony Alamo follower Thomas Scarcello

Texarkana Gazette
December 18, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Investigation continues in possible bankruptcy fraud case

The investigation into possible bankruptcy fraud by a high-ranking associate of Tony Alamo will continue, an Oklahoma bankruptcy trustee said.

Gerald Miller of the Eastern District of Oklahoma met last week with Thomas Scarcello and his lawyer, Darrell Johnson of Fort Smith, Ark.

“All I can really tell you is that I can’t really tell you anything,” Miller said. “But the investigation is ongoing and the case remains open.”

Johnson declined to comment specifically on the hearing as well.

“I really don’t want to go into that,” Johnson said. “All I can say is we had the hearing.”

Last month Miller filed a motion to reopen the bankruptcy case to determine whether Scarcello duped the court by transferring assets before filing. Scarcello’s filing, and those of several others listed as defendants, halted a civil lawsuit filed by Tempurpedic accusing Scarcello and several associates of profiting from the sale of mattresses, slippers and pillows meant for Hurricane Katrina victims.

On Dec. 7, Scarcello, Johnson and Miller met to review documents bankruptcy court judge Tom Cornish had ordered Scarcello to produce concerning money transfers, property conveyances, bank accounts and assets for multiple years preceding his September 2008 Chapter 7 filing.

In documents he submitted in the bankruptcy case, Scarcello claimed to have limited personal property, a wedding ring set and some clothing among his possessions.

The Tempurpedic lawsuit accuses Scarcello and his associates of selling the mattresses, pillows and slippers on Internet sites, in flea markets and from the backs of trucks. A large number of mattresses was found in a Booneville, Ark., warehouse owned by two females reported to be Tony Alamo’s wives, according to court documents.

The bankruptcy trustee also is interested in documents pertaining to the civil suit.

During a deposition of Scarcello by a Tempurpedic lawyer, the Alamo loyalist repeatedly asserts his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself when asked who his bookkeeper is and what he did with $500,000 he accepted as payment for some of the mattresses.

Scarcello describes Alamo as a “holy man of God” in the deposition.

Alamo was sentenced to serve 175 years in federal prison last month by U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes in the Texarkana division of the Western District of Arkansas. A jury found the 75-year-old guilty of 10 counts listed in a federal indictment accusing him of bringing young girls across state lines for sex.

Recently, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the next step for Alamo in his bid for freedom, issued a stay in the appellate case. The issue of restitution Alamo could be assessed as recompense for the harm he caused to the five Jane Does who testified against him will be decided at a hearing scheduled for Jan. 13 before Barnes.

Waiting until after the hearing will allow Alamo’s lawyers to appeal the restitution order at the same time as his conviction and maximum sentence, said one of Alamo’s attorneys, John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock.

Alamo is also represented by John Ervin of Houston, Phillip Kuhn of Florida and Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana.

The government is represented by assistant U.S. attorneys Kyra Jenner, Clay Fowlkes and Candace Taylor.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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