Attorney Anthony Lupas, the Luzerne County man who is accused of running a Ponzi scheme, was in federal court Thursday morning to face five counts of mail fraud.
After the prosecutor read off the charges against Anthony Lupas, his lawyers entered a not guilty plea on their client's behalf because they said Lupas isn't fit to stand trial and doesn't understand what's happening.
Lupas, 77, of Laflin looked frail and disoriented as he left federal court in Scranton. Inside the courtroom, he was formally charged with five counts of mail fraud two days after a grand jury handed up an indictment.
The grand jury accuses Lupas of scamming over $240,000 from a client, after he promised that client he would invest the money into a tax free account.
Several attorneys said it is all part of an elaborate Ponzi scheme that Lupas ran and duped millions out of dozens of clients.
Lupas' attorneys told the judge he is not competent to stand trial, and entered a not guilty plea on those five mail fraud charges.
"A client has to understand what he's been arrested for and then aid me in formulating a defense. If he can't aid me at all then he's incompetent," said attorney Chris Powell.
He is not representing Lupas, but said if a client can't understand what is going on, they can't get a fair trial and that is why the not guilty plea was entered.
"The main purpose is to have someone assist you in the trial, and if he can't assist you and doesn't understand what he's been arrested for, then it does keep him out of jail for a while," Powell added.
He said the U.S. attorneys will now have 30 days to order their own mental evaluation of Anthony Lupas.
Lupas will likely receive psychiatric treatment until a doctor decides if he is mentally sound to stand trial.