FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Former Plantation cop Joseph Guaracino is about to learn what a federal pen is like from the inside out, after he was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison Friday after pleading guilty in a mortgage fraud case.
It could have been much worse. Guaracino had faced 33 counts, but federal prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to just 2, for mail fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, cutting his potential sentence significantly. A mistrial was declared last year after a 5 week trial, and prosecutors offered the plea to avoid having to hold a a re-trial.
As part of the deal, Guracino was ordered to pay $3 million in restitution.
Investigators say the $16 million scheme involved use of false loan applications to buy properties, then rent or sell them at a profit.
Guaracino was among eight current or former law enforcement officers and an attorney originally indicted in the case. Three officers and an FBI agent were acquitted. Two former Plantation officers were convicted, and prosecutors dropped charges against another officer after a mistrial.
Guaracino’s original sentencing was delayed so he would be with his wife when she gave birth to their 4th child. He tried to delay reporting to prison, but US District Judge James Cohn quashed that request, telling him to surrender and immediately begin serving his time.