Disbarred real estate attorney Luigi Rosabianca, who is facing a first-degree grand larceny charge on claims he stole more than $4.4 million from clients, could serve as little as four years in state prison should he accept a plea deal from a state Supreme Court judge.
At a court appearance in Lower Manhattan on Friday morning, Judge Maxwell Wiley said the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is recommending a 5-to-15-year prison sentence for Rosabianca should he accept a plea bargain.
But Wiley added that should Rosabianca — who is currently being held in a Queens jail on $4.5 million fully secured bond — take such a deal, the “best [sentence] I can offer” would be 4 to 12 years in state prison.
The court appearance featured Rosabianca’s defense team discussing “positive factors” in the former real estate lawyer’s background with Wiley, the judge said.
Defense attorneys detailed how Rosabianca, who ran his own Manhattan law firm and worked as a real estate broker for Venice, Italy-based residential brokerage WIRE Consulting prior to his disbarment last July, did extensive charitable work for cancer foundations and community groups.
But Wiley added that the D.A.’s office is “ready to counter” such testimonies to Rosabianca’s character — with prosecutors using credit card records to support claims that Rosabianca repeatedly stole client funds from real estate transactions that he brokered to help support “a lavish lifestyle.”
The parties are next due to meet in court on April 20, when it will likely be decided whether Rosabianca will accept a plea deal or go to trial to face charges of one count of first-degree grand larceny and five counts of second-degree grand larceny.
First-degree grand larceny convictions in the state of New York are punishable by a minimum of one to three years in prison and a maximum of eight to 25 years for offenders with no criminal history, according to sentencing guidelines.
Wiley also said that Rosabianca’s defense team – led by Robert Schalk of Mineola, N.Y.-based Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn P.C., and Daniel McGillycuddy of Midtown-based Morrison Cohen LLP – had also proposed “alternative punishment” for Rosabianca, which in grand larceny cases often involves victim restitution. The judge added that he would “keep an open mind” to that idea.
Both the D.A.’s office and an attorney for Rosabianca declined to comment.
The court appearance was Rosabianca’s second since his arrest last October, having made his first appearance last month. The former attorney appeared clean-shaven and in a gray sweatshirt and was supported by half a dozen friends and family in the courtroom.