Legal analysts surprised new charges filed against Titus after sentencing
New Orleans, La - Legal analysts say it's one of the most unusual cases they've ever seen. The federal government filed new charges Thursday against Dominick Fazzio, River Birch landfill's chief financial officer and his brother-in-law, Mark Titus. This comes just a day after Titus was sentenced to prison.
Mark Titus was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to embezzlement charges. During sentencing, prosecutors alleged Titus tried to hide his assets from the government. Just one day later, the government filed new charges against Titus, including fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. His attorney, Jimmy Ardoin told FOX 8, "They're clearly trying to punish him. I mean, they got the max on the plea agreement they got the other day, and now they're trying to go get additional charges and pile on."
An indictment was also filed Thursday against Titus' brother-in-law, Dominic Fazzio. Fazzio is the chief financial officer for River Birch Landfill, and already faces embezzlement charges for the same alleged scheme that Titus plead guilty to. But unlike Titus, Fazzio plead not guilty, and isn't talking to the government.
The new indictment alleges Fazzio, while acting as a tax preparer for an oilfield services company, plotted to reduce the amount the company would have to pay in federal taxes. His attorney, Buddy Lemann responded to the new charges by saying, "The government has launched another torpedo at my client and my response is damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."
FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says it's highly unusual for new charges to be filed against someone who had been cooperating with the government at first, like Titus, after he was sentenced. Raspanti commented, "The same concept is there, you work with us, we'll go easy on you, you don't, it gets worse for you."
Just hours before he was sentenced Wednesday, Titus tried to change his plea from guilty to not guilty. He claimed the government reneged on a secret deal not to take any of his property. Judge Ivan Lemelle didn't believe that claim, and gave Titus a stiff sentence. He's to report to prison October 26th. Raspanti doesn't think that will change given the new charges he faces. "It's up to the judge ultimately but he very well could still have to report on that date for that crime and have to defend himself from jail," Raspanti said.
Jimmy Ardoin says he will challenge this new indictment and file an appeal to the five year sentence Titus received Wednesday.
Dominick Fazzio is set to go on trial on the embezzlement charges October 22nd. But Buddy Lemann says it'll probably be postponed because of these new charges.