Michael Colasuonno, Monrovia Mini Madoff, Close to a Plea Bargain
By Susan Motander
On Thursday morning, August 27, the two criminal cases of Mark Colasuonno almost reached a plea bargain. In these cases he was charged with embezzlement, fraud, fiduciary abuse of an elder and theft.
It appeared that Colasuonno would withdraw his not guilty plea and accept a sentence of four years in state prison and be required to pay restitution of over $3 million dollars. The restitution would be to the victims in these two cases as well as several others that the District Attorney’s Major Fraud Unit is investigating.
After stating the basic terms of the agreement, the court trailed the matter to 8:30 a.m. on Friday, August 28. The necessary pleas and waivers should be taken at that time.
The two matters, the first case having been set for trial and the second for a hearing on the setting of the preliminary hearing, were delayed several times during the morning. First, the deputy public defender was late and then had to confer with her client Colasuonno. By 10:30 a.m. the Judge began the jury trial which was also set in that courtroom.
Unfortunately by the time all the parties were in the courtroom and ready to proceed at approximately 11:30 a.m., another problem arose and the Judge stated to the attorneys that “There has to be some closure on this case. Either we take a plea today or we set this for a preliminary hearing.”
After several hurried phone calls, Deputy District Attorney Melanie Buccat stated the terms of the agreement to which Colasuonno and his attorney, Deputy P.D. Sempda Kedia, had agreed.
After the basic agreement was stated for the record, Judge Teri Schwarz, stated that it being only five minutes to noon, there was insufficient time to take all the waivers necessary to accept the plea and trailed the matter to the next day. As a result of budget cuts, the courts can no longer work into the lunch hour and it became apparent that the judge did not wish to inconvenience the jurors on the purse snatching case she was in trial on. These jurors had been ordered to return at 1:30 p.m. after their lunch.