Feds seize Nicolo assets, including three luxury cars

Gwen Chamberlain

Former property appraiser John Nicolo is in custody, serving the 12 year sentence that was handed down in February by U.S. District Judge David Larimer. But there’s more to his sentence.

In early March, Larimer signed a court document that orders the forfeiture of $9,729,264 to the United States.

To satisfy the order, the U.S. Attorney’s office has seized cash, bank accounts and three cars so far. Details about the total cash and bank accounts that have been seized were not available at press time, but Sean Eldridge, of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Rochester says the cars are:

• 2005 Bentley GT Continental

• 2004 Volvo C70

• 2002 BMW 745

The cars are in storage and are likely to be sold at public auction.

There is no information available about the status of real property owned by Nicolo in Yates County.

Seizing real property for a judgement is a lengthy process, according to Eldridge.

According to records in the Yates County Real Property Tax Service Office, Nicolo owns seven properties on West Bluff Drive with a total value is $332,800. A 219-acre property at 2293 Friend Road valued at $578,200 is where Nicolo spent some time in custody while he was awaiting his sentence. But that property has been owned by his wife, Constance Roeder since 1996.

Nicolo, 76, was found guilty last May of 51 counts of fraud and conspiracy, money laundering and tax evasion in a trial that lasted 10 weeks.

Prosecutors said Nicolo conspired with retired Greece Assesor Charles Schwab, 61, former Kodak executive David Finnman, 61, and Finnman’s replacement, David Camarata, 46, to scam area companies, including Kodak. Schwab, they claimed, would raise assessments of Kodak property so Finnman and, later, his successor, Camarata, would have the imaging company hire Nicolo to negotiate a lower assessment. Based on the reductions the town assessor made to Kodak Park’s real property tax assessment, Nicolo calculated the tax savings to Kodak over a 15-year period to be $31,527,168. They also calculated Nicolo’s fee from Kodak to be $7,881,798, which was 25 percent of Kodak’s projected tax savings.

He was first arrested in May 2005.

Roeder, 65,  was convicted of five counts of filing false income tax returns, and was sentenced to probation.