SCRANTON — A federal judge on Tuesday said he is giving Anthony Lupas Jr. one last chance to file a petition seeking another psychiatric evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial on money laundering and mail fraud charges.
Lupas, through his attorneys, Joseph M. Blazosek and William Ruzzo, filed a petition on Monday asking the federal court at the court’s cost to appoint a psychiatrist to conduct a mental-health evaluation. The petition was filed under seal and not provided to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani on Tuesday denied the request, saying the petition filed Monday was expected to be filed by the close of business day on Friday. Mariani said the petition that was filed on Monday lacked any evidence that Lupas is indigent, meaning he has no money to pay for the evaluation.
Mariani’s order claims Lupas had been evaluated at least twice, once by Dr. Richard Fischbein and the other by Dr. Timothy Michals. Fischbein was court-appointed in May 2012.
Fischbein determined Lupas is not competent to stand trial at this time, while Michals believes he is competent to stand trial.
The conflicting opinions by Fischbein and Michals led to a phone conference on April 24 between Mariani, Lupas’ attorneys and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. During the phone conference, Lupas attorneys said a petition would be filed on Friday seeking a court-appointed psychiatrist at the court’s cost because Lupas has no money to pay for an evaluation.
Lupas, 78, was originally indicted in March 2012 on charges he stole money from one client. Prosecutors later secured a second indictment against him in August, charging him with bilking eight investors out of more than $6 million.
Mariani said Lupas has never indicated a sanity defense or sought indigence, despite retaining two private attorneys to defend him, since he was charged more than a year ago. Lupas has been staying at an assisted living facility at which the expense is unclear how he is paying to reside there, Mariani stated.
Lupas’ attorneys contend he suffered neurological damage in a fall in November 2011 and is not competent to stand trial.