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UNITED STATES v. MONGELLI

June 30, 1994

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ROBERT A. MONGELLI, Defendant. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ROBERT A. MONGELLI, Defendant.


MARTIN, JR.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN S. MARTIN, JR.

JOHN S. MARTIN, Jr., District Judge:

 Perhaps the least recognized victims of crimes are the families of the criminals. If those contemplating the commission of a crime could foresee the utter devastation their arrest and conviction would inflict on their families, few would be hard-hearted enough to commit the crime.

 In most cases, the criminal's callousness to the risk of injury to his family may be explained by the fact that the criminal did not expect to be caught. In the case presently before the Court, however, Robert Mongelli has caused and continues to cause extreme damage and pain to his wife and children, first by his crimes of which he stands convicted and now by his knowing and wilful refusal to obey a lawful order of this Court. By the simple act of obeying this Court's order, Mongelli could end his family's ordeal and perhaps obtain a remission of the civil fines which his lawyer argues have so devastated his family. *fn1"

 Rather than take this straightforward way out of his family's problems, Mongelli schemed with all too compliant lawyers, paid by his brother, to have a sham divorce proceeding commenced in his wife's name so that his assets could be sequestered in that proceeding and thereby protected from the Government's attempt to enforce a contempt judgment of this Court. *fn2"

 On June 7, 1994, this Court conducted a hearing to determine whether a divorce action commenced on October 1, 1993 by Robert Mongelli's wife, Joann, was a sham. Based on the evidence produced at that hearing, the Court finds that the divorce proceeding was indeed a sham, conceived and orchestrated by Robert Mongelli and his lawyers for the purpose of frustrating this Court's contempt orders.

 While Kenneth Kemper, the lawyer who purports to represent Mrs. Mongelli in this proceeding, testified that the divorce action was commenced in good faith solely at her behest, his testimony is contradicted by a memorandum from the files of his own firm, *fn3" prepared by his associate, in which the genesis of the divorce action is set forth as follows:

 
Robert Mongelli's criminal lawyers came to us to ask our advice about what, if anything, could be done to protect the remaining assets from the civil contempt judgment. Here's what we did:
 
We started a divorce proceeding in behalf of Joann, and by order to show cause, (with notice to the feds) had a Receivor [sic] and Sequestrator appointed to take possession and title to the liquid marital assets. (Parenthetically, our client does not really want a divorce. She happens to be a lovely lady with three children - someone whom both Ken and I like a lot - not at all your idea of a Mafia wife. Our grounds for divorce are the imprisonment for three years of the husband (which claim has not really ripened, which the feds don't seem to have picked up on, but which we acknowledged up front to the state court judge, telling him we would amend to cruelty if it became necessary. So far, it hasn't)). After getting our Receiver in place, we made a motion for pendente lite support.

 That Robert Mongelli, and not his wife, was the moving force behind the divorce action and the fact that she did not want a divorce is also established by the contents of telephone conversations between Robert Mongelli and others that were monitored and tape-recorded as a routine procedure at the prison where Mongelli was incarcerated.

 The collusive nature of this divorce proceeding is demonstrated by phone conversations between Mongelli Mr. Kemper, in which they scheme to delay the filing of the divorce action so that it does not interfere with Robert Mongelli's negotiations for a modification in his plea agreement. That the lawyer appearing for Mrs. Mongelli was carrying out Robert Mongelli's wishes is reflected in a portion of the conversation where Mongelli states:

 
Listen, Mr. Kemper, I, you know, uh, there is nothing I can say to charge you up. I think you heard enough from Mike [Mongelli's criminal lawyer] and Mike has laid it out well for you.
 
* * * *
 
I appreciate your taking the case and thank you very much. If there is anything I can do to help please, I'm ...

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