Casey Anthony attorney, and Rancho Santa Fe resident, Todd Edward Macaluso, Sr., is going to prison, sentenced in federal court to five months for fraud.
Guess who’s not going to sue me over this story.
I’m not surprised Macaluso was sentenced for his role in defrauding clients by forging their signatures to obtain millions of dollars from investors.
I’m just surprised it took this long to get some justice for this dude.
Let’s start with the inimitable Anthony herself. This high-profile Florida “tot-mom” was all over the celebrity trial news in 2011 in the spectacular case involving the highly suspicious death of Caylee, her 2-year-old daughter in 2008. To wit…
CASEY ANTHONY CASE IN A NUTSHELL:
Anthony did not report her daughter’s disappearance for a month and was arrested after telling a string of lies about the case to police. Caylee’s remains were found in December 2008 near the home Casey Anthony shared with her parents.
Prosecutors alleged that Anthony suffocated her daughter with duct tape because motherhood interfered with her desire for a carefree life, but her lawyers said the girl drowned in an accident that snowballed out of control. Some of the jurors who acquitted Anthony said they believe she bears some responsibility for her daughter’s death, but that prosecutors failed to prove that she murdered the child.
Anthony had remained in jail to finish a four-year sentence for lying to investigators. With credit for the nearly three years she’d spent in jail since August 2008 and good behavior, she had only days remaining in her jail term when she was sentenced July 7.
A personal injury attorney living at a $5.3 million home at 4805 Linea Del Cielo, Macaluso, now 53, somehow glommed on to the case assisting lead attorney Jose Baez. Don’t ask me how he did it, but he did.
Fellow Anthony attorney Cheney Mason, called the entire group that got Anthony acquitted, as if by magic, “this type of dream team.”
Flash-forward to August 2011. Dawn Olsen, celebrity reporter deluxe with The Morton Report, and yours truly, revealed that the acquitted Anthony, now broke and in search of a crash pad, alighted mysteriously enough at Macaluso’s palatial estate.
After all, when you’re acquitted in one of the more spectacular murder cases of the century where better than Rancho Santa Fe and Macaluso’s infinity pool-studded, highly secure estate, probably purchased, as we now know, with defrauded investor money.
It was the perfect murder trial acquittal hideaway, conveniently reached by Macaluso’s Pilatus PC-12 jet “which enables us to travel anywhere within the United States in seven hours,” he said on his web page.
“We also own and operate a Bell Jet Ranger 20-6 helicopter…” Macaluso continued. That helicopter, by the way, apparently whisked Anthony from Palomar Airport to a private landing pad at Macaluso’s home.
National media picked up our little scoop. Nancy Grace had her usual field day with the information. Reports circulated everywhere tabloid and other media wags wagged on while loose lips flew asunder.
All the San Diego TV stations contacted Dawn and myself for updates. We were even invited to go on several morning news shows. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.
Enter stage left, however, the endearing Todd Macaluso, Esquire, Sr. As Dawn and I discovered his property actually was in foreclosure, he started sending off a barrage of threatening emails, all of which ended with some sort of “I’m going to sure your ass off” type-threat, or legalese to that effect.
Don’t care. Didn’t care. When you got nothing you got nothing to lose, as they say. The TV stations, not exactly paragons of fearless journalism as we all know, immediately became intimidated and backed away from the story, truthful though it was.
Here’s what I wrote at the time:
“The legal threats by Macaluso directed against Dawn Olsen apparently began when KSWB-TV’s Fox Morning Show contacted Macaluso to ask for comments about the reported sighting of Anthony at his disputed property. KSWB also had invited Olsen and myself to the studio for a Thursday morning appearance. Macaluso sent an email to the station making untrue charges, which he forwarded to Dawn and me. In my case, I pointed out I never said I spoke to his neighbors — the emails are posted below — and he seemed to apologize, or at least square things with me. Dawn, out of Los Angeles, wasn’t so lucky.”
End of story. Not. As Paul Harvey was wont to say, now “for the rest of the story.” In this case, it’s end game.
While forgive and more importantly forget, should be our thing, I’ve had this thing about Macaluso ever since his bogus legal threats. That this loose cannon could kill legitimate news coverage through this exercise in nothingness truly stuck in the old craw.
Therefore, it is with great interest; and in the pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way that we report about Macaluso’s inevitable demise.
Let’s recap the situation:
In federal court Monday, Macaluso apologized for defrauding clients by forging their signatures to obtain millions of dollars from investors.
“I accept full responsibility,” Macaluso said to U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez.
For the record, Macaluso pleaded guilty earlier this year to wire fraud.
Prosecutors said Macaluso used the future value of his clients’ cases as collateral for payments he received from investors and didn’t tell his clients he’d essentially “sold” their cases.
Macaluso also forged his clients’ signatures and used forged notary stamps to persuade investors to lend him millions of dollars, according to prosecutors.
“Macaluso’s clients were stabbed in the back by the lawyer who was supposed to have their back,” U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement. “Today there is a modicum of justice for them.
In addition to serving five months in federal prison, Macaluso must pay a $100,000 fine and $150,000 in restitution payments.
Federal guidelines put Macaluso’s sentence between 10 and 16 months. So, he still skated. Reports from the courthouse were that many defrauded former clients who attended the sentencing were outraged.
Judge Benitez also ordered Macaluso to serve three years on probation after his release from prison. Macaluso will be allowed to spend the holidays with his family.
Macaluso reports to federal prison by 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8.
So Todd, sue me for saying that, and good night Gracie, or Casey, that’s all she wrote.