A South Florida attorney has been disbarred and ordered to surrender on Nov. 7 to serve 366 days in a Florida prison, according to Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.
Broward County Circuit Judge Pedro Dijols convicted and sentenced Anthony Scalese, of Pembroke Pines on Oct. 24. An investigation by the Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Fraud led to numerous felony charges for stealing insurance settlement payments from clients, Sink said.
Scalese was arrested in April on charges of organized fraud, grand theft, and uttering forged documents, and faced a possible sentence of up to 30 years in prison. He pleaded no contest to two felony charges of organized scheme to defraud and forgery.
In addition to the disbarment and prison sentence, Scalese was ordered to serve 15 years probation, pay more than $78,000 in additional restitution for a total of $113,500 in restitution to the identified victims, and pay more than $1,600 for investigative costs. If Scalese fails to surrender on November 7, he will be sentenced to 35 years in prison, Sink said.
DFS lead detective Gary Schiaffo found that Scalese received settlement monies from insurance carriers on behalf of his clients but never forwarded the funds to the clients, Sink said. Scalese was initially arrested on Dec.19, 2007, based on similar allegations. Then, Detective Schiaffo uncovered four more victims and advised Assistant State Attorney David Schulson, which led to additional charges.