SCRANTON -- A federal judge has rejected a plea agreement that a former educator from Lackawanna County made with prosecutors after he was accused of stealing from taxpayers.
The federal case against Fred Rosetti was essentially a done deal until now. The former director of the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19 made a deal with prosecutors to go to prison for 12 to18 months, but before he could be officially sentenced a judge rejected the deal calling it "inadequate" and "unjustified.”
Former educator Fred Rosetti left the federal courthouse in Scranton back in October and since then he's been waiting for a judge to decide whether to accept his guilty plea and the deal he reached with prosecutors for his punishment.
Now, nearly four months later, the former head of Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19 learned the answer is no.
U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani rejected the plea deal and now it's back to the drawing board.
We stopped by Rosetti's home in Archbald, a home that's now for sale, but Rosetti didn't come to the door.
The NEIU is headquartered in Archbald. Rosetti ran the agency that helps school districts in Lackawanna, Susquehanna, and Wayne counties educate kids with special needs.
Rosetti was indicted last year and accused of using thousands in NEIU money for personal expenses, taking unauthorized vacation days, and paying himself even more money that he wasn't entitled to.
Last fall, Rosetti pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. He agreed to serve 12 to 18 months in prison and pay back $120,000.
When the plea was entered in court, Judge Mariani expressed reservations about the agreement. In his decision rejecting the plea deal, the judge questions whether that punishment was sufficient.
“The defendant’s longstanding, pervasive, and wide-ranging criminal activities, his consistent abuse of the authority granted him as executive director of the Neiu #19 over the 12 years of his employment in that position, and his coercion of NEIU #19 employees unavoidably led to the conclusion that the sentence and other terms of the plea agreement are inadequate.”
Now that the judge has said no to Rosetti's plea deal, Rosetti has the option to take back his guilty plea and take his case to trial. If he doesn't, Rosetti could be sentenced to two or more years in prison and owe more money to the NEIU.
Rosetti is scheduled to be back in federal court in about two weeks.