• NOTABLE CASES

We at Cedrone & Mancano, LLC recognize that results count.  Below  is a sample of matters in which we have successfully represented clients.  Many of our most successful representations, however, occur “behind the scenes” or outside the “public record.”  Because we value our clients’ privacy and are professionally obliged to protect confidential client information, we cannot report on some of our most significant successes. 

Cedrone & Mancano, LLC Notable Cases...

United States v. Patrick Squires, et al.

On January 28, 2016, following a two-week trial, Joseph D. Mancano, achieved a complete victory for Patrick M. Squires, when a federal court jury in Philadelphia found Mr. Squires not guilty of conspiracy and wire fraud charges.  In the matter of United States v. Squires, et al. (Docket No. 15-424), Mr. Squires, a distributor of various custodial and maintenance supplies and services was charged with conspiracy with the maintenance director of the Bristol Township School District to direct business to Mr. Squires and avoid School District purchasing rules.  The government also accused Mr. Squires of attempting to conceal his involvement with various of his companies that received work from the School District.  At trial, it was established that the investigators ignored exculpatory evidence and avenues of investigation that, if pursued, would have demonstrated Mr. Squires’ innocence.

After five (5) hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted Mr. Squires on all charges.

IRS cannot freeze assets of former state senator.

Vincent J. Fumo v. United States,

In the matter of Vincent J. Fumo v. United States, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania reversed tax, interest, and penalty jeopardy assessments of approximately $3 million by the IRS against former State Senator Vincent J. Fumo.  In a 63 page Opinion, the Court ruled that the IRS unreasonably employed “extraordinary measures which bypassed the established pre-assessment procedures that government uses to collect revenue.”  The IRS jeopardy assessments are a measure that sidesteps the normal process of determining whether a taxpayer owes taxes.  They allow the IRS to engage in collection actions for a tax that has yet to be determined by a court of law as required under the Internal Revenue Code.  The IRS also filed federal tax liens in Philadelphia and Dauphin Counties in Pennsylvania, and Atlantic County in New Jersey and levied a number of financial accounts owned by Fumo which had the practical effect of freezing nearly all of Senator Fumo’s assets.

Mark E. Cedrone challenged the jeopardy assessments by first filing an appeal with the IRS, then filing suit in federal court in Philadelphia.  The Court’s decision was rendered in response to cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Senator Fumo and the government.  In granting summary judgment in favor of Senator Fumo, the Court held that the IRS’ actions were “not reasonable under the circumstances.”  The Court ordered that the jeopardy assessments against Fumo “shall be abated.”


 

Federal Jury Acquits Bridge Painter

United States v. Frangos, et al, Mr. Zubialevich

In November, 2014, following a three-week trial, Mark E. Cedrone scored a major victory for bridge painter, Mikail Zubialevich, when a federal court jury in Philadelphia found Mr. Zubialevich not guilty of all charges.  In the matter of United States v. Frangos, et al, Mr. Zubialevich and two other defendants were charged with conspiracy to lie to government officials about whether the bridge workers disturbed peregrine falcons, a federally protected bird of prey.  Mr. Zubialevich was also charged with harboring an illegal alien, but the Honorable John R. Padova dismissed that charge as to Mr. Zubialevich in the middle of trial, after the government presented its evidence.

The not guilty verdicts were particularly significant because Mr. Zubialevich, a Belarussian national, was in the United States on a green card.  Had he been convicted, he would have been deported.

Owner of Personal Care Home Vindicated

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Mina Panah

Joseph Mancano represented the owner of a licensed personal care home charged by the Pennsylvania Attorney General with neglect of a care-dependent person, a felony offense in Pennsylvania.  The charges were brought when a resident of the home suffering from severe diabetes, developed diabetic ketoacidosis that resulted in the amputation of his leg.  The Attorney General alleged that the home’s owner failed to properly monitor the resident’s diabetes and afford appropriate medical care.  The home’s owner was a young wife and mother with no prior history of criminal behavior or regulatory violations.  A conviction would have meant a jail sentence, loss of license for the personal care home, and serious financial penalties.

Following an unprecedented three-day preliminary hearing, where the court allowed extensive cross-examination of government witnesses and presentation of defense evidence, the court dismissed the felony charges.  Immediately after the hearing, the Attorney General voluntarily dismissed the remaining misdemeanor offenses resulting in complete vindication for the home’s owner.

Undercover Sting Exposed

United States v. Kobeski and M. Brizer and Company, Inc.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture ran a fourteen-month undercover “sting” operation in Northeastern Pennsylvania that nabbed five meat processing plants and eleven plant operators for processing and selling beef unfit for human consumption.  Joseph Mancano represented one of the plant operators, Francis Kobeski and his company, M. Brizer and Company, Inc., both caught in the sting dubbed “Operation Roundup.”  According to the government, Kobeski and his company conspired with a corrupt on-site USDA inspector who branded the unfit meat as having passed inspection.  The government claimed that the inspector received money from Kobeski to look the other way.

The “sting” involved sending an undercover USDA agent into the meat plant with medicated cows to see if Kobeski and the inspector would accept the livestock for slaughter.  After the livestock was accepted for slaughter, Kobeski, Brizer, and the alleged corrupt on-site inspector were indicted.

Joseph Mancano and his defense team launched an intensive investigation that lasted several months to determine what happened.  The defense concluded that the undercover agent knowingly withheld information that would have exonerated Kobeski and Brizer from the U.S. Attorney.  Mr. Mancano presented evidence about the agent’s misconduct to the U.S. Attorney, who then asked the court to dismiss all charges.  Shortly before the scheduled trial, the court dismissed the charges and publicly criticized the USDA for its actions.

Medical Doctor Vindicated

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Paul W. Cosby, M.D. 

A medical doctor was wrongfully charged by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with illegally dispensing controlled substances and record keeping discrepancies.  The charges concerned the doctor’s treatment of a patient suffering from severe migraine headaches.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania alleged that the doctor illegally dispensed controlled substances to manage his patient’s pain.  After arrest, the doctor retained Mr. Cedrone to represent him.  Following review of discovery discovery and retaining an expert, Mr. Cedrone forced the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to ultimately dismiss the charges just as the case was about to proceed to trial.  The doctor has since sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the arresting officers for violating his civil rights.  That matter is pending before a federal court in Pennsylvania.

Internal Revenue Service Concedes Cases

880 South West End Boulevard Novelties & Gifts, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service

In this and five related matters before the United State Tax Court, the Internal Revenue Service made significant adjustments to the income tax returns of six corporations that operate adult book and novelty stores throughout the northeast section of the country.  The Internal Revenue Service proposed significant deficiencies against the book stores.  Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service disallowed all deductions for rent, consulting fees and management fees. The total exposure to the entities exceeded $1,000,000.  At the suggestion of the accountant who was representing the entities in the Internal Revenue Service audit, the entities hired Mark E. Cedrone to represent them before the United States Tax Court.  Mr. Cedrone firmly believed the Internal Revenue Service’s adjustments lacked any credible basis.  After becoming involved in the case  and developing a firm understanding of the companies’ inner workings, Mr. Cedrone was able to establish irrefutable evidence supporting both the necessity and reasonableness of the disallowed payments.  Thereafter, Mr. Cedrone  convinced the Internal Revenue Service to concede its position in all six related cases.

Victory at Tax Sentencing Proceeding

United States v. Joseph Smith

Mark E. Cedrone represented the defendant in a criminal tax sentencing where the court was required to calculate the tax loss to determine defendant’s imprisonment exposure.  Originally, the government and the United States Probation Department took the position that the tax loss approximated over $500,000 and sought a significant term of imprisonment. 

Because tax loss was in dispute, the court was required to receive evidence and make an independent tax loss determination.  At the sentencing hearing, Mr. Cedrone presented complicated industry related statistics and forensic accounting witnesses.  After receiving evidence from both parties, the court found the tax loss to be less than $10,000.  This resulted in a significantly reduced sentencing guideline imprisonment range.  Ultimately, the court sentenced the defendant – who had been previously convicted of insurance fraud and state sales tax violations – to a term of only five months imprisonment.