Former Nassau County District Court Judge Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Conspiracy
Defendant Conspired to Launder Proceeds from the Sale of Stolen Jewelry
Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, announced the guilty plea of former Nassau County District Court Judge DAVID A. GROSS to the charge of conspiring to launder over $400,000 obtained through the sale of purportedly stolen diamonds and watches. GROSS entered his guilty plea today before United States Magistrate Judge William D. Wall at the U. S. Courthouse in Central Islip, New York
In January 2005, while GROSS ran for re-election as a Nassau County District Judge, co-defendant NICHOLAS M. GRUTTADAURIA, a member of the Genovese crime family, introduced GROSS to an undercover FBI agent posing as a trafficker in stolen jewelry. Following a series of meetings, GROSS and GRUTTADAURIA agreed that they would launder money and sell stolen jewelry provided by the undercover agent. GROSS subsequently introduced the undercover agent to Freeport restauranteur, co-defendant KIM BRADY LAND, who joined the scheme. LAND agreed to launder the stolen jewelry proceeds and also agreed to produce phoney invoices to make it appear that the proceeds were the product of catering parties held at LAND’s restaurant, Café by the Sea, in Freeport. Between January and August 2005, GROSS and his two co-defendants laundered approximately $130,000 in cash for the undercover agent and kept between fifteen and twenty percent for themselves. In addition, GROSS and GRUTTADAURIA each sold or agreed to sell more than $280,000 worth of purportedly stolen jewelry provided to them by the undercover agent.
GROSS was first elected to the Nassau County District Court bench in November 1999. He was arrested on money laundering conspiracy and related charges in August 2005 and was suspended from the bench in September 2005. GROSS was not re-elected in November 2005. GROSS’s arrest grew out of a two-and-one-half-year investigation by the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office into the operation of organized crime-backed illegal gambling clubs on Long Island that netted approximately $16,000 per week in profits. To date, thirteen defendants have been convicted on charges including operating an illegal gambling business and illegal possession of firearms.
“Sworn to do justice, a sitting judge violated his oath as well as the law when he partnered with a member of organized crime to launder the proceeds of criminal activity,” stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. “We are committed to rooting out the corrosive influence of organized crime in our communities.” Ms. Mauskopf thanked the Nassau County Police Department’s District Attorney’s Squad and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the case.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, “The corruption of a sitting judge by members of organized crime is a multi-faceted threat to the community in which he sat and to the system that he was sworn to serve. Today’s guilty plea affirms our commitment to rooting out and redressing the most egregious betrayals of the public trust.”
When sentenced, GROSS faces a maximum prison term of twenty years, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. He also faces the possible loss of his license to practice law as a result of his conviction. Under the terms of the plea agreement entered into with the government, GROSS agreed to forfeit to the United States $7,000 in cash representing his profits from the money laundering scheme, an automobile that he used to transport laundered money, and a pair of 1.7 karat diamond-studded earrings GROSS received from the undercover agent as compensation for his role in the laundering scheme. On April 20, 2007, GRUTTADAURIA pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiring to operate an illegal gambling business, and faces a maximum sentence of twenty-five years of imprisonment. LAND pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy on June 12, 2007, and faces a maximum sentence of twenty years of imprisonment. The defendants will be sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Arthur D. Spatt.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James Miskiewicz, Cynthia M. Monaco, and Richard Lunger.
DAVID A. GROSS
NICHOLAS M. GRUTTADAURIA
KIM BRADY LAND
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