Palmyra man’s bank fraud sentence reduced

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 12, 2009, at 10:08 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The prison sentence of a Palmyra man whose crime mirrored the plot of a popular television show was reduced Wednesday by a federal judge from two years to 15 months.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock resentenced Robert Alfano, 28, to the greatest amount of time allowed under the recommended federal sentencing guidelines — nine to 15 months.

The portion of the original sentence that included five years of supervised release, payment of a $1,000 fine and restitution of $3,100 still stands.

Last year, Alfano, who is incarcerated at a federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., successfully appealed the two-year sentence imposed on March 27, 2007, in U.S. District Court in Bangor to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The court found that his guideline range had been calculated incorrectly and that his court-appointed attorney had failed to challenge the guideline calculation at his sentencing hearing.

Alfano’s guideline range was between 24 and 30 months rather than between nine and 15 months because U.S. Probation and Parole incorrectly concluded that he had stolen a real person’s identity when he created phony checks on his computer using an account number assigned to his employer, Toys “R” Us in Bangor. Instead, Alfano used a fake name.

The guidelines call for an increased sentence if the identity of a real person is used in bank fraud but not if a fictitious name is used.

Defense attorney Michael Whipple of Portland recommended that Woodcock resentence Alfano to nine months, the time he already has served on the federal sentence. After the hearing Wednesday, Whipple filed a motion to appeal the new sentence.

Alfano and his then wife, Abigail Alfano, 27, “attempted to perpetrate a scheme involving counterfeit checks,” Woodcock wrote in the order that led to Robert Alfano’s resentencing. “What so confounded the ‘CSI’ actors, however, did not deter the United States Secret Service, and both the Alfanos were found out, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced for bank fraud.”

The Alfanos told investigators that they got the idea for the theft from an episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” according to court documents.

The couple cashed six counterfeit checks at Maine businesses, including a Shop ’n Save in Pittsfield and a Shaw’s Supermarket in Saco, totaling $3,100, according to court documents. The Alfanos fled to Florida but were arrested in March 2006 in Orange County and returned to Maine.

Alfano’s federal prison time is consecutive to a two-year sentence in state prison for purchasing a car in 2003 using his brother’s name and credit history. He was sentenced on Oct. 10, 2006, in Penobscot County Superior Court on charges of forgery and failure to appear.

Abigail Alfano was sentenced in November 2006 in federal court in Bangor to 240 days or time served on the federal charge of bank fraud. She also was ordered to pay a $500 fine and $3,100 in restitution.

The couple jointly are responsible for paying the $3,100 in restitution.

jharrison@bangordailynews.net

990-8207

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/02/12/news/bangor/palmyra-manrsquos-bank-fraud-sentence-reduced/ printed on August 22, 2014