SPRINGFIELD — A defendant's poor health has again delayed sentencing in a decade-old Pittsfield bank fraud case.
Though he was to be sentenced Monday, Michael DiCenzo won a month's extension after he said a stroke and other medical conditions leave him too weak to travel to Springfield — and also at risk of "catastrophic consequences" due to the pandemic.
The U.S. Attorney's office did not contest DiCenzo's request. A judge in U.S. District Court in Springfield granted DiCenzo a 30-day extension on his planned sentencing. DiCenzo faces punishment for orchestrating millions of dollars worth of improper loans for Greylock Federal Credit Union while a top executive there from 2004 to 2009.
His sentencing has been delayed more than a dozen times since he admitted to the fraud six years ago. At the time, DiCenzo accepted a plea agreement in which he admitted to receiving money through violations of the credit union's loan policies, engaging in tax fraud and making false statements to federal investigators.
Along with steering about $4 million in loans to borrower Jeffrey Pierce, then receiving kickbacks, DiCenzo also admitted he stole from two nonprofit groups in the Berkshires.
In a recent court filing, DiCenzo's attorney, Thomas J. O'Connor Jr., said a remote sentencing isn't possible because DiCenzo does not have the means to participate in a videoconferencing format and suffers vision problems.
DiCenzo is living in an extended-care facility in Pittsfield, where he continues to receive rehabilitation, as well as kidney dialysis treatment three days a week. "Mr. DiCenzo suffers from persistent left-side weakness, has difficulty walking, and requires assistance dressing and with personal hygiene tasks," the filing says.
It says DiCenzo's underlying medical conditions include diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure, all of which make him "particularly vulnerable" to COVID-19 and are a reason why he should not travel to public places, such as a courthouse.
In arguing for a postponement, O'Connor also said he hasn't be able to gather his client's medical records for presentation to a medical expert who is expected to relay a recommendation to the court.
Judge Mark G. Mastroianni has requested documentation of DiCenzo's medical condition in advance of sentencing.
Pierce, the only other defendant in the fraud case, was sentenced last August to 20 months in federal prison.
While DiCenzo's lawyers have asked that he be spared jail time, prosecutors want him to be sentenced to 30 months. The court set sentencing for 11:30 a.m. Aug. 19.
Larry Parnass can be reached at email@example.com, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-588-8341.