• damientfisher

Stephan Condodemetraky, the man behind Dusty Old Cars, is in legal trouble again after he was arrested on charges of stealing cars from a Nashua dealership.

Condodemetraky, 52, of Bedford, was arrested this week after police say he took five cars from the Toyota of Nashua dealership, according to police.

“It was determined that Stephan Condodemetraky obtained control of three vehicles through an act of deception. It was further learned that Stephan gained control of the remaining two vehicles through use of another individual,” the police state in a release on the arrest.

The arrest was first reported in the Nashua Telegraph.

The other individual involved in the alleged thefts is not named in the police statement, and there is no affidavit yet on file in the Hillsborough Superior Court - South in Nashua.

The arrest comes weeks after Condodemetraky’s federal lawsuit against the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office alleging malicious prosecution was dismissed. In the lawsuit, Condodemetraky claimed that state authorities targeted him and his business, Dusty Old Cars.

“The AG’s office acted as the Judge, Jury and Executioner, taking away the rights of the small business owner, denying him the ability to work with his customers without any reliable evidence of wrongdoing,” Condodemetraky wrote in the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court in Concord.

Condodemetraky currently has an open case charging him with securities fraud in the Nashua court, and the lawsuit could have interfered with any further prosecution. That potential obstacle has been removed for prosecutors with the lawsuit dismissal.

Condodemetraky’s business empire, which he boasted as growing at 30 percent a year, fell apart starting in 2016 when he was placed under investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office for allegedly defrauding consignment customers at Dusty Old Cars.

Condodemetraky was indicted in three different superior courts on various theft and forgery charges and went to trial in Merrimack and Rockingham courts.

Dusty Old Cars customers started filing complaints with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office as far back as 2015, with more than 100 people eventually seeking redress from the state. The classic car dealership’s consignment customers alleged that Dusty Old Cars took their cars and charged them for bogus repair and other fraudulent fees, and sometimes did not pay at all when the consigned cars sold.

While there were numerous complaints, the state has not had much success in prosecuting Condodemetraky.

In March of 2019, he was found guilty of one count of theft in the Rockingham Superior Court, and sentenced to 48 hours in jail and barred from going into any other retail car businesses in New Hampshire.

Condodemetraky appealed the conviction but the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled against him in September, upholding that theft conviction.

Condodemetraky was found not guilty in November of 2019 on 20 charges of fraud and forgery in Merrimack Superior Court.

Condodemetraky filed for bankruptcy in 2017 as the criminal and civil cases were swirling around his business. The court-appointed a trustee to oversee the liquidation of the business, Nashua based attorney Michael Askenaizer, eventually filed a lawsuit against Condodemetraky on behalf of the creditors, accusing the former used car king of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

Askenaizer states in his lawsuit filed in United States Bankruptcy Court that Condodemetraky took in money from loans and investors despite the fact Dusty Old Cars had been insolvent as a business as far back as 2013.

“Condodemetraky directed the operation of the business of Dusty Old Cars … and controlled and manipulated its books and records in such a way as to hide the losses incurred and to allow him to extract millions of dollars from creditors with no expectation, nor realistic way, of paying back that which was taken.”

At the same time, Condodemetraky was taking in money from investors in his businesses based on the false financials he kept, according to the lawsuit. Each new investor’s money was used to pay off previous investments, according to the lawsuit, while the business allegedly duped customers out of their cars, Askenaizer stated in the lawsuit.

“Mr. Condodemetraky knew, or should be treated as knowing, that the business model was defective, that the sole purpose of the business was to create a façade of success that he could use to induce customers and lenders to provide him with money or things of value on the promise of repayment with extraordinary returns, but with no actual prospect or intent of repaying them,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Condodemetraky used the flow of money and vehicles that came to him by virtue of the unrealistic promises of extraordinary returns or of a better price, to enrich himself through shareholder distributions, inflated salary, and the payment of household expenses by the company.”

Askenaizer eventually settled with Condodemetraky in the Bankruptcy Court in 2018 over the fraud lawsuit. Despite seeking close to $5 million in the case, the parties settled for $110,000.

Condodemetraky's business started in Derry, but eventually moved to a larger facility in Nashua where Dusty Old Cars had a warehouse containing more than 400 classic cars, and 25 employees. He has since started operating a towing company called Tradz LLC. That towing company is implicated in the latest theft case, according to Nashua police.

Condodemetraky is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in August. In the meantime he is barred from going to the Toyota of Nashua dealership as part of his bail conditions.

Photo courtesy Nashua Police

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  • damientfisher

MANCHESTER — Roman Catholic Bishop Peter Libasci is named as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by a New York man who claims Libasci sexually abused him as a child.

The lawsuit, filed in the Suffolk County Supreme Court in New York last week, accused Libasci of abusing the man when the man was a 13-year-old altar boy at Saints Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Church and Libasci was the pastor. According to the lawsuit, Libasci repeatedly groped the boy over a period of time starting in 1983 and ending sometime in 1984.

The church, as well as the parish school located in Deer Park, New York, and the order of nuns who ran the school, the Sisters of Saint Joseph based in Brentwood, New York, are all named as defendants in the lawsuit. The school is now known as Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School following a recent merger of parishes in the diocese.

All of these entities fall within the Diocese of Rockville Centre, where Libasci served as auxiliary bishop starting in 2007 before coming to Manchester in 2011. Rockville Centre is not a party to this civil action, and the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2020.

Adam Slater, the attorney for the alleged abuse victim, did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Bevin Kennedy, representative for the Manchester diocese, said Wednesday that Libasci remains serving as bishop despite the civil lawsuit.

“At this time, the status of the Bishop remains unchanged. Following standard protocol, the matter has been reported to civil authorities,” Kennedy said in an email responding to a request for comment. “Because this is an ongoing matter and out of respect for the individuals involved, the Diocese will not be providing additional information at this time but will provide updates when we are able to do so.”

Bishops accused of abuse are subject to a new form of discipline from Rome, under rules set down in 2019 by Pope Francis. The new “Vos Estis” protocols allow for reports of sexual abuse made against bishops to be sent through the local metropolitan and to Rome. The Vatican would then direct the metropolitan on how to proceed with an investigation. Such investigations conducted under “Vos Estis” rules must be complete in 90 days.

The metropolitan for the Manchester Diocese is Archbishop Sean Cardinal O’Malley in Boston. Terrence Donilon, representative for the Boston Archdiocese, declined to comment about the matter and referred all questions to the Vatican.

Kennedy said there is currently no “Vos Estis” investigation underway.

“At this time, because it’s a civil suit, it remains in the civil courts,” Kennedy said in a follow up email.

The “Vos Estis” rules were promulgated in the Vatican decree titled “Vos estis lux mundi,” which means “You are the light of the world.” The decree was created partially in response to reports that prominent American cleric, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, was a serial sexual abuser and predator. The decree is considered an experiment by Rome and the protocols set forth under “Vos Estis” are set to expire early next year.

Libasci cannot be removed from his post absent an order from Pope Francis, as only the Pope can remove any Bishop under Roman Catholic law. Libasci was appointed to replace scandal-plagued Bishop John McCormack who was found to have helped former Boston Archbishop Bernard Cardinal Law cover up decades of sexual abuse.

(Recent photo of Bishop Peter Libasci courtesy Diocese of Manchester.)

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  • damientfisher

The alleged ringleader of a multi-million dollar bitcoin money laundering scheme, Ian Freeman, is getting out of jail after Federal Judge Joseph LaPlante granted him released on conditions.

Freeman, 40, is charged with several federal felonies along with other members of his liberation activist circle based in Keene. He had been held without bail after prosecutors in the case called him a danger to the community and a flight risk.

LaPlante agreed to release Freeman this week on condition that he post a $200,000 bond, and that he stay off social media, among other conditions. Freeman's computers and internet use will be monitored during his pre-trial release. He’s also to refrain from drugs and alcohol, and not possess any firearms.

Freeman, Colleen Fordham, 60, of Alstead, Renee Spinella, 23, of Derry, Andrew Spinella, 35, of Derry, Nobody, 52, formerly Rich Paul, of Keene, and Aria DiMezzo, 34, of Keene were all taken into custody during March raids on Freeman’s businesses in Keene and other locations. Only Nobody remains in custody, as he has waived his right to a bench trial.

Part of the alleged scheme had Freeman taking money from the victims of scams, which he converted into bitcoin for the perpetrators to take, according to prosecutors. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and difficult for law enforcement to trace.

Freeman was known to charge a higher transaction fee than other, legitimate bitcoin sellers, and he did not keep proper records that would allow federal agents and banks to identify his customers, according to prosecutors.

He allegedly hid his transactions as donations through his various churches, and had contracts with other people to operate churches and church bank accounts on his behalf, in order to get around bank security, according to prosecutors. Freeman had denied wrong doing in the case.

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