Criminal Charges Dismissed Against Alzheimers-Stricken Attorney Accused Of $6 Million Ponzi Scheme

A federal judge has granted a request by federal prosecutors to dismiss criminal charges against a Pennsylvania attorney accused of operating a $6 million Ponzi scheme and recently deemed unfit to stand trial after being diagnosed with Alzheimers disease.  U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani granted a request by prosecutors to drop an indictment against Anthony Lupas, 80, and ordered that Lupas be released from a federal medical prison once private transportation was secured.  Lupas's condition also means that his victims cannot pursue an ongoing civil lawsuit.  

Lupas was a once-prominent local attorney who once served as counsel to a local school board and whose son was a local judge.  According to authorities, Lupas solicited clients to invest with him, promising steady 5% returns through an investment in tax-free trusts.  This continued for years, until Lupas suffered injuries in a 2011 fall that allegedly diminished his mental faculties.  Lupas's injuries resulted in his inability to keep up with investor payouts, and his son, Judge David Lupas, later contacted authorities after discovering certin suspicious circumstances surrounding his father's investment operations.  After an investigation, the elder Lupas was arrested and charged with 29 counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Last November, Judge Mariani held a competency hearing after Lupas's attorneys sought to have their client declared unfit to stand trial.  After hearing testimony, Judge Mariani sided with Lupas's attorneys and found that Lupas had "lost his perception of reality."  While Judge Mariani's order ordered that Lupas be reevaluated in several months, the move by prosecutors to dismiss the charges demonstrates that Lupas's condition certainly has not improved.

While Lupas's victims may not have the ability to see Lupas face the allegations in court, they have had the benefit of recouping a significant amount of their losses due to Lupas's status as an attorney.  Last November, it was announced that victims would share in a $3.25 million payout from a Pennsylvania state fund supported through annual attorney registration fees.  Additionally, prosecutors have signaled that they may seek to distribute funds seized from Lupas during the investigation to victims.  Further updates are expected in the coming days.