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John Nicolo, 75, his wife Constance Roeder, 65, and David Finnman, 61, have all been sentenced for their roles in a real estate scam involving real property tax appraisal and assessment schemes. Last May, after a 10-week trial, a jury convicted Nicolo and Finnman with defrauding Eastman Kodak Company, IBM, Global Crossing, ITT Industries, Inc., and the taxpayers of Greece, New York, in connection with several real property tax appraisal and assessment schemes. Nicolo and Roeder were also convicted of numerous tax fraud counts. Nicolo was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Roeder received probation. David Finnman got a 21-month in sentence.
John Nicolo was convicted of three conspiracy charges, nine mail fraud counts, eight wire fraud counts, and twenty-one money laundering counts, while David Finnman was convicted of one conspiracy count, two mail fraud counts and two money laundering counts.
The charges stem from various schemes in which David Finnman, and later Mark Camarata, while working at Kodak, would hire John Nicolo, a real property appraiser, to perform real property appraisal services for Kodak in connection with many of Kodaks’s properties during the years 1997 through 2005. In return for hiring John Nicolo, David Finnman would receive money representing kickbacks from Nicolo. In addition to the kickbacks received by Finnman, the trial established that the Greece, NY, Town Assessor also received payments from Nicolo in connection with various property tax assessment matters involving property located in Greece.
While there were several schemes proven at trial, the largest scheme involved the Town Assessor accepting bribes in return for reducing the real property tax assessment for Kodak property located in Greece, NY. Kodak had property located in Greece known as Kodak Park. Based on the reductions the Town Assessor made to Kodak Park’s real property tax assessment, John Nicolo calculated the tax savings to Kodak over a 15-year period to be $31,527,168. They also calculated Nicolo’s fee from Kodak to be $7,881,798.00, which was 25 percent of Kodak’s projected tax savings.
Additionally, John Nicolo and Constance Roeder were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. Nicolo was convicted of nine counts of filing or aiding and abetting the filing of false income tax returns. Roeder was convicted of five counts of filing false income tax returns.
The indictment also contained forfeiture allegations against John Nicolo and David Finnman. The government seized over $12,000,000 dollars in assets during the investigation. The Honorable David G. Larimer has issued a preliminary order of forfeiture regarding the seized assets, and additionally imposed a forfeiture money judgment against Nicolo in the amount of $9.7 Million and against Finnman in the amount of $140,000.