Anthony Lupas, Competent to Stand Trial?

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SCRANTON -- Anthony Lupas didn’t give a clear answer when asked if he knew why he was in Federal Court and the serious charges he faced.

The 78 year old prominent attorney from Luzerne County is facing dozens of federal mail fraud charges, allegedly for defrauding his former clients of more than $6 million in investments.

But now prosecutors set out in a hearing in Scranton to try to prove Lupas is Competent to stand trial after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

"If he's found incompetent, he can't stand trial, and that's it,” said defense attorney William Ruzzo.

“Today he (Lupas) would not be able to manipulate, feign or conspire for his own benefit,” said medical expert Dr. Mario Cornacchione.

The Judge watched Lupas carefully in the courtroom during the hearing as he fell asleep and seemed very much unaware of what was going on.

However, a psychiatrist for the prosecution said during his meeting with Lupas at a nursing home he clearly said he understood the charges.

"He (Lupas) said he tried to help these people he knew for a long time and that he tried to get them more money on their investment," said Dr. Timothy Michals.

"He's delusional, and still competent enough to have some kind of a scheme to get himself out of a nursing home into a prison, it doesn't make sense,” said Attorney Ruzzo.

Lupas’ caregivers and family members also took the stand.  His nephew Eugene Bartoli said his uncle now talks about horse races in the hallways of the nursing home, people who have passed away and at this point in his uncle’s life says, “I'm actually glad because this needs to come to a close. I don't think at this point it matters if he spends his final days in the facility he's in or in prison.”

The Federal Judge told both attorneys to expect a decision in this case soon, but didn’t say exactly when that decision might be.