By Ted Waddell
JUNE 22, 2001 --MONTICELLO On Friday, Analyze This actor Richard Richie Castellano (aka Castaldo) appeared before Sullivan County Court Judge Frank J. LaBuda in the last act of what some folks are calling the countys longest-running soap opera.
In 1999, Castellano and his wife, Jocelyne Castellano (aka Marie Rousseau) came to the small hamlet of Narrowsburg with big plans: an acting studio, modeling studio, multi-million-dollar film complex, a yet-to-be-released indie film called Four Deadly Reasons and two editions of the ill-fated Narrowsburg International Independent Film Festival (NIIFF).
In the wake of a series of civil actions filed against NIIFF and the Castellanos, criminal charges were lodged against the ex-con-turned-actor for scamming locals for cards in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
After a grand jury indicted Richard Castellano on several felony charges for taking $12,536 with promises to deliver SAG cards to hopeful actors, he admitted to the scam.
He was facing several years in the county jail on reduced charges before Sullivan County District Attorney Steven Lungen agreed to a deal whereby if Castellano repaid his victims to make them whole, his office would seek to have the beleagured actors sentences run concurrently.
As the events unfolded in court during May, the troubled actor was out on $10,000 bail when supporters in Hankins put their house up as security.
Castellano was a repeated no-show for sentencing. First, his lawyer told the judge that his client had been arrested naked on the Verrezano Bridge and had been committed to Bellview after an apparent suicide attempt.
Well, not exactly. The half-clothed actor had been picked up by paramedics in Brooklyn and taken to the hospital.
As Castellano was checking out of Bellview, he was arrested by Sullivan County Sheriffs Department deputies and returned to the county.
On May 30, Judge LaBuda sentenced Castellano to a year in county jail on one count of attempted grand larceny. He gave the actor until June 22 to come up with the rest of the restitution money. If he didnt, Castellano would be sentenced to consecutive prison sentences on all four counts. In February, Castellano pleaded guilty to all four charges of attempted grand larceny.
On Friday, the handcuffed Castellano was led into court wearing an orange jailhouse-issue jumpsuit.
As his case was called before the bench, Castellanos attorney, Jeffrey Schwartz, handed Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney James R. Farrell a handful of money orders totaling $4,486 to pay off the remainder of what his client owned the SAG card scam victims.
But it wasnt over yet.
Judge, cant you knock off three months of my sentence? said Castellano.
The actor also asked LaBuda to let him out of jail so he could attend his daughters July 29 wedding on Staten Island.
Cant you find it in your heart to let me go to my daughters wedding? he pleaded.
I apologize to the people Ive done wrong to. . . . Weve had to sell all our furniture, and Im stuck in here. . . . Were broke right now. Somewhere along the line, Ill make it up to the people Ive hurt.
But the judge didnt buy it.
Mr. Castellano, this is not Lets Make a Deal, said LaBuda. This is a sad situation all around . . . a situation you created. . . . Its sad you cant walk your daughter down the aisle because of all your schemes.
Castellano was sentenced to a year in jail on each of the four counts, the sentences to run concurrently. With time served and time off for good behavior, the actor could be out of the county jail by Christmas.
Judge LaBuda also exonerated the $10,000 property security bail reportedly put up by the couple in Hankins.
Were pleased that the victims were made whole again, said ADA Farrell. Were pleased that the judge gave us what we asked for, and were pleased that Mr. Castellano made restitution.
According to Castellanos attorney, He hopes to make everything up. . . . Doing three more years would have depressed him a bit.