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Ex-Abramoff partner admits fraud in SunCruz case

Adam Kidan's plea bargain requires his help in trying the Washington lobbyist.

Associated Press
Published December 16, 2005

MIAMI - The former business partner of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the ill-fated purchase of the SunCruz Casinos fleet of gambling boats pleaded guilty Thursday to federal fraud and conspiracy charges involving the 2000 deal.

Adam Kidan, 41, said, "Guilty, your honor," when asked for a plea by U.S. District Judge Paul Huck. A plea agreement with the government requires that Kidan cooperate in the SunCruz case - including possible testimony against Abramoff - in order to get a reduced prison sentence.

"Mr. Kidan has acknowledged his wrongdoing and taken responsibility for his actions," said his attorney, Joseph Conway.

Kidan pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy and wire fraud and faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines at sentencing set for March 1. Four other counts in a grand jury indictment were dismissed.

Kidan, whose left arm was in a sling after a fall on ice near his New York home, declined to speak with reporters after the hearing, though Conway described him as happy with the outcome.

Abramoff and Kidan were indicted in August for allegedly concocting a fake $23-million wire transfer to make it appear they had put a significant portion of their own money into the $147.5-million SunCruz deal.

Lenders agreed to provide $60-million in financing based on that supposed transfer, according to court documents.

Abramoff has claimed in court papers that Kidan was to blame for any irregularities in the deal and that he only found out about it later. Abramoff is scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 9 in Miami federal court.

Kidan's guilty plea comes after another of Abramoff's former associates, Michael Scanlon, agreed to cooperate in the SunCruz case as part of a plea agreement in a separate federal case in Washington. Abramoff is being investigated in Washington for allegedly defrauding his Indian tribe clients of millions of dollars and possibly using improper influence on members of Congress.

Abramoff was a prominent Republican fundraiser and lobbyist who had close ties to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who faces money laundering charges in Texas. Kidan also is involved in the investigation of the 2001 murder of SunCruz founder Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, who was slain while driving his luxury car in Fort Lauderdale. The killing, about five months after Boulis sold SunCruz to Kidan and Abramoff, came during a bitter dispute over control of the company.

Police in September arrested Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, 67, Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, 48, and James "Pudgy" Fiorillo, 28, on murder charges in Boulis' killing. Moscatiello, who worked for Kidan and allegedly has ties to New York's Gambino crime family, told police in an interview after his arrest that Kidan may have been involved, something Kidan has denied.

Kidan "has no knowledge of the murder of Mr. Boulis," Conway said Thursday.

SunCruz, which operates gambling cruises off Florida, fell into bankruptcy after Boulis was killed and has since emerged under new management.

[Last modified December 16, 2005, 00:53:08]

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