PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Victims in a federal courtroom in Philadelphia literally applauded after a judge sentenced a mortgage fraudster to over 13 years in prison. Authorities say there were over 200 victims.
Judge Michael Baylson imposed the sentence and ordered 47-year-old defendant Gennaro Rauso taken into custody immediately, which prompted the reaction from victims, some of whom had lost their homes because of Rauso: “The defendant will go into custody right now, right in view of the defendants’ prior … (applause).”
Victims, including Jacquiline Malaszecki, applauded and then watched as Rauso was led from the courtroom in handcuffs.
“A letter came from Mr. Rauso. He came like an angel out of the sky,” Malaszecki says.
He made promises, but it turns out, he was no angel.
“We paid Mr. Rauso so much money, you know, over $16,000, because he always called on the phone and threatened (us).”
But still, she says, he kicked them out of the home where they had raised their kids, and he put them in another, dreadful place.
“Mr Rauso decided to come to my door and kick the entire family out while my husband and I were at work. So my mother and my two sons were out on the street.”
And she says they are still trying to recover.
Other victims tell a similar story, saying Rauso promised to help them save their homes, but instead collected thousands in rent and then kicked them out. They were suddenly homeless.
Authorities say there were hundreds of victims, and Rauso has previous convictions. In one case, he stole kids’ candy money from a fundraiser for scholarships that did not exist.
Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio 1060