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Prosecutors attempt to seize Lupas’ properties

Federal prosecutors filed documents Wednesday seeking to seize properties worth nearly $900,000 owned by prominent Wilkes-Barre attorney Anthony J. Lupas Jr., who faces fraud and conspiracy charges in an alleged Ponzi scheme that cost investors $6 million, according to a grand jury indictment.

Criminal proceedings against the 77-year-old Lupas have been on hold while his medical condition is evaluated to determine if he is competent to stand trial. His attorneys say he suffered brain trauma in a fall in November.

Lupas promised his alleged victims annual tax-free returns of 5 percent to 7 percent from an investment trust but pocketed their money, using cash from new investors to cover monthly payments to longer-term investors, according to the grand jury. There are more than 80 victims in the case, according to attorneys for several investors who have filed civil claims against Lupas.

The documents filed Wednesday seek the seizure of three properties Lupas co-owns with his wife, relatives and others. They include 454 acres in Bear Creek Township that contain 12 electricity-generating wind turbines visible from portions of the Wyoming Valley.

The windmills are the only structures on the property, which is worth $642,000, according to county records.

Prosecutors also want to seize a Buck Township property worth $76,600 that contains a fishing cabin, and 140 undeveloped acres in Laflin worth $178,000, according to county records.