Former Suffolk County Legislator George Guldi was found guilty of insurance fraud and second-degree grand larceny, the 12-member jury at the in Riverside ruled Tuesday at 5:15 p.m.
Guldi was found not guilty of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and second-degree forgery.
After the verdict was read, Judge James Doyle set Guldi's bail at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond, despite a request by Assistant District Attorney Thalia Stavrides to hold Guldi without bail, claiming he was a "serious flight risk."
Guldi argued that he has five children and serious health problems and would not skip bail.
A bail source hearing is expected to be set. In the meantime, the judge has scheduled the sentencing for March 18.
Guldi faces up to two-and-a-third years to seven years for insurance fraud and five to 15 years for grand larceny.
Gudi was led away in handcuffs with tears in his eyes, and was remanded to Suffolk County Jail in lieu of bail.
"It’s a comfort to know this has come to an end and he will be disbarred," Stavrides said of the verdict. "Mr. Guldi has made a living by manipulating and distorting words and engaging in criminal conduct."
Stavrides said she was not surprised by the acquittal on forgery charges because she said it was the weakest part of the case.
Chris Brocato, Guldi's court-appointed legal advisor, said Guldi will appeal.
"Obviously we were disappointed," he said. "George is not going to stop fighting to prove his innocence, absolutely without a doubt."
Borcata said he will start working on an appeal after the March 18 sentencing.
Guldi’s trial was marked by high drama as the former lawmaker fought against charges that he forged the endorsement of Countrywide Home Loans on an $863,000 insurance check paid out by AIG after his Westhampton Beach home was ravaged by fire, and that he placed the proceeds into his own bank account.
Highlights of Monday’s proceedings — the courthouse was closed Friday in observance of Lincoln’s Birthday — included summations by both Guldi, an attorney, who represented himself in the proceedings, and Stavrides.
During more than four weeks of testimony, a steady stream of witnesses was brought to the stand, including high profile individuals such as Ethan Ellner and Dustin Dente, co-defendants with Guldi in a pending mortgage fraud case. Authorities says Guldi was a central figure in an $80 million mortgage stacking scheme.
No date has been announced yet for the start of proceedings in that case, in which Guldi will face a laundry list of charges.
Media frenzy was sparked after county Executive Steve Levy was subpoenaed by Guldi to testify during the trial regarding his alleged ties to Ellner. Guldi has said Ellner received county gigs from Levy in exchange for “pay-to-play” campaign donations. After much speculation about whether Levy would take the stand, Doyle granted a motion to quash Levy's subpoena.
In addition, the judge ruled that the name of a high ranking county official Ellner accused in his testimony could not be uttered in court. Guldi instead referred to him as “He Who Must Not Be Named.”
Both attorneys took great pains to build their cases, with Stavrides calling witnesses to paint a picture of Guldi as a man who was broke and facing foreclosure on a number of fronts at the time the check was deposited in his account.
Guldi, meanwhile, in a surprise move, took the stand to testify himself. His testimony highlighted key points of his defense, including the issue of who held the note to his $1.4 million mortgage. Guldi maintained that MERS, not Countrywide, was the owner of the note.
In addition, Guldi produced phone records pinpointing cell tower locations to illustrate to the jury that he could not have been in the places, nor had the phone conversations, that Ellner testified to and that a conversation Ellner said he had with Guldi, in which he said Guldi told him he planned to forge the check and deposit it into his personal account, never took place.
Guldi also raised questions about Ellner’s testimony regarding the appearance of the porch at the home where the fire took place and about the presence of “antique pots” Ellner said he remembered but Guldi said were never there.