Oklahoma bankruptcy of Alamo follower investigated

Associated Press/December 18, 2009

Texarkana, Arkansas - A bankruptcy trustee in Oklahoma has met with an associate of convicted evangelist Tony Alamo as he investigates possible bankruptcy fraud.

Gerald Miller of the Eastern District of Oklahoma met with Thomas Scarcello and Scarcello's attorney, Darrell Johnson of Fort Smith. Both Miller and Johnson declined to elaborate on the meeting.

"All I can really tell you is that I can't really tell you anything," Miller said. "But the investigation is ongoing and the case remains open."

Johnson declined to comment specifically on the hearing as well.

"I really don't want to go into that," Johnson said. "All I can say is we had the hearing."

Last month Miller filed a motion to reopen the bankruptcy case to determine whether Scarcello duped the court by transferring assets before filing. Scarcello's filing, and those of several others listed as defendants, halted a civil lawsuit filed by Tempurpedic accusing Scarcello and several associates of profiting from the sale of mattresses, slippers and pillows meant for Hurricane Katrina victims.

On Dec. 7, Scarcello, Johnson and Miller met to review documents bankruptcy court judge Tom Cornish had ordered Scarcello to produce concerning money transfers, property conveyances, bank accounts and assets for multiple years preceding his September 2008 Chapter 7 filing.

In documents he submitted in the bankruptcy case, Scarcello claimed to have limited personal property, a wedding ring set and some clothing among his possessions.

The Tempurpedic lawsuit accuses Scarcello and his associates of selling the mattresses, pillows and slippers on Internet sites, in flea markets and from the backs of trucks. A large number of mattresses was found in a Booneville, Ark., warehouse owned by two females reported to be Tony Alamo's wives, according to court documents.

The bankruptcy trustee also is interested in documents pertaining to the civil suit.

During a deposition of Scarcello by a Tempurpedic lawyer, the Alamo loyalist repeatedly asserts his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself when asked who his bookkeeper is and what he did with $500,000 he accepted as payment for some of the mattresses.

Scarcello describes Alamo as a "holy man of God" in the deposition.

Alamo was sentenced to serve 175 years in federal prison last month by U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes in the Texarkana division of the Western District of Arkansas. A jury found the 75-year-old guilty of 10 counts listed in a federal indictment accusing him of bringing young girls across state lines for sex.

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