Greylock fraud defendant suffers stroke, delaying sentencing

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PITTSFIELD — A former banker's worsening health leaves him unable to attend his sentencing, even remotely.

Whenever that day comes, Michael DiCenzo believes a judge should consider this fraud defendant's grim medical file.

Though he was to be sentenced Monday for defrauding the Greylock Federal Credit Union of more than $4 million, DiCenzo and his attorney argued that evidence of his diminished condition could not be provided to the U.S. District Court in time.

They secured a sentencing delay to July agreed to by a federal prosecutor.

Since Oct. 16, 2014, DiCenzo, the credit union's former chief loan officer, has been awaiting sentence. Last year, after former Greylock borrower Jeffrey Pierce was sentenced in a related case, DiCenzo began to document health setbacks including bladder cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a minor heart attack.

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In a filing May 6, the defendant and his attorney, Thomas J. O'Connor Jr., informed Judge Mark G. Mastroianni that DiCenzo suffered a stroke in March.

He is undergoing rehabilitation at the Mt. Greylock Extended Care Facility in Pittsfield, where as of May 1 he was able to take only 15 steps using a walker and is not stable on his feet, the filing said.

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DiCenzo is also working to improve his ability to speak, following the stroke. "It would be very difficult and risky for Mr. Dicenzo to attend any in-person sentencing presently," the filing says, "not only due to the presence of the novel coronavirus in our community, but also because of his general health concerns."

The former banker's condition makes it hard for him to be sentenced in either a telephonic or online session because of "ongoing rehabilitative and other medical needs, including regular dialysis treatments that last for hours at a time," the filing says.

On top of that, when updated medical records are available, DiCenzo believes they will "be highly relevant to the Court's determination of Mr. Dicenzo's sentence."

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The government has asked for a term of 30 months. That is 40 percent below federal guidelines for the crimes committed more than a decade ago: receipt of money through transactions of a credit union with intent to defraud, tax fraud and making false statements to federal officials.

DiCenzo has asked to be spared prison time. He steered millions in improper loans to Pierce from 2006 to 2009, receiving kickbacks in return.

Pierce, a Pittsfield builder, was sentenced last August to 20 months in federal prison.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-588-8341.


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