Sunday, August 12, 2007

Update: Wilkes-Barre Newspaper Picks Up Story of Forfeiture

Latest Update (9:10 pm): Senior Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Scott Alleman has now cleared up any confusion about whether or not the Virginia RICO charges could still be pursued at a later date. Responding by email this evening, he says, "Criminal charges are still a possibility, but we thought that the murder in PA obviously took precedence so we will wait until the PA trial is over to make a decision about charges."

The Citizens' Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre has apparently noticed the tale of how Virginia grabbed hold of Harlow Cuadra’s and Joe Kerekes’ assets and gave them a good shake, a story you first read here last month.

The paper’s Sunday edition quotes a lawyer from the Virginia Commonwealth Attorney’s office: “This is all stuff we seized in accordance to our criminal investigation here,” said [Senior Assistant] Scott Alleman, the attorney who prosecuted the forfeiture case.”

Cuadra’s lawyer was also questioned regarding the house at 1028 Stratem Court: “It’s unknown how much, if any, profit the two could get for their home, but it will be better than nothing, said Cuadra’s attorney Scott Flax, of Virginia Beach, who handled the forfeiture process.“It helps,” he said. “They’ll have an asset to sell to get some money.”

Alleman disagrees, indicating that “the duo was given back possession of their home’s title because it would have been an expensive and lengthy process to take it and there was a hefty mortgage left to pay."

Asked about the so-called conspiracy to deny Cuadra and Kerekes money to retain lawyers in their murder case, Alleman flatly denied it.

“The reason we didn’t file charges in Virginia is because the murder in Pennsylvania took precedent. We didn’t want to get in the way of Pennsylvania,” he said.

There’s no word on whether those Virginia charges are just on hold, or whether they won’t be pursued at all.