About The Case
Tony Viola was indicted three times and tried twice on identical charges by a multi-jurisdictional mortgage fraud task force. Prosecutors alleged Tony duped banks like JP Morgan into making 'no money down' mortgage loans that the bank didn't permit. Tony was convicted in federal court and sentenced to 12 1/2 years in jail. But from jail, and without an attorney, he proved his innocence at a second trial on the same charges using evidence the Justice Department hid before the first trial. Prosecutors possessed evidence proving Tony's innocence all along but never provided it to the defense. The Prosecutor's Office Manager, Dawn Pasela, gave Tony that evidence before the second trial, where the government's own documents and evidence were used to destroy its case. Tony proved banks weren't innocent victims of fraud schemes but knowingly approved 'no income no asset' loans and authorized -- in writing -- borrowers to receive cash back at closing. The evidence that proved Tony's innocence likely proves the innocence of most or all of the 1,300 citizens prosecuted by the Task Force.
Prior to the first trial, federal prosecutor Mark Bennett and state prosecutor Dan Kasaris interviewed bank executives, who said that lender employees were authorized to approve 'no money down' loans and waive underwriting conditions, but both prosecutors lied under oath and in writing, falsely stating no such interviews existed. But Ms. Pasela provided Tony with those interview summaries, called FBI 302 reports. Tony used those 302s at the second trial to confront bank executives with their own statements that banks allowed and knowingly approved the loans Tony supposedly tricked them into making. Ms. Pasela also provided lender files and internal spreadsheets that confirmed bank were fully aware borrowers were not making down payments. Since banks knew the loans in Tony's case were no money down and made them anyway, the results of the second trial prove there was no "mortgage fraud," the government's theory is wrong and the evidence suppressed before the first trial was material.
Tony refused to plead guilty, but prior to the first trial, Prosecutors Bennett and Kasaris directed Ms. Pasela, to pose as a graduate student studying criminal justice and working with local defense attorneys on similar cases. Ms. Pasela was directed to record a series of post-indictment conversations with Tony so prosecutors could obtain confidential defense trial strategy information. Ms. Pasela also donated finds towards Tony's legal fees so prosecutors could use her cancelled check to identify the law firm's bank account. Then, the FBI tracked investigative expenses and indentified potential defense witnesses -- who were promptly threatened with indictment if they testified for Tony's defense. Additional government misconduct in Tony's case includes undisclosed payments to government informants, the "loss" of computers seized during televised raids, forging Ms. Pasela's name on the evidence log, secret payments by banks to investigator Arvin Clar, the federal government's shifting of evidence proving Tony's innocence from the U.S. Attorney's Office to the Task Force location, then pleading ignorance to evidence it relocated there. Bennett and Kasaris also engaged in witness intimidation after Ms. Pasela offered to testify at Tony's second trial about prosecutorial misconduct. Ms. Pasela was threatened with indictment and federal prison if she appeared in court. Ms. Pasela was found dead in her apartment shortly after her scheduled testimony.
Following the acquittal at the second trial, involving identical charges as the first, Judge Donald Nugent refused to order an inquiry into Ms. Pasela's death, sealed records in Tony's case (Docket # 110) and refused to allow transcripts from the state trial to be added onto the federal record. According to Judge Nugent, "defendants are not allowed to obtain an acquittal" by presenting new evidence and "nothing that may or may not have occurred in the state court proceeding has any effect" on the federal case, so Tony is not allowed to present proof of his innocence in federal court, Nov 24, 2014 ruling, USA v. Viola, case # 08-cr-506.
Finally, in 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected the Justice Department's claims that it was not required to search the Task Force location for evidence prior to Tony's first trial and appointed Covington & Burling to represent Tony. Later in 2019, the Justice Department admitted lying about evidence in Tony's case.
Tony's investigative team also uncovered a romantic relationship between Prosecutor Kasaris and government witness Kathryn Clover. Dan Kasaris sent hundreds of e mails to Ms. Clover over a four year period professing his 'endless love' for her while also using government funds to provide her with undisclosed financial support. For details about secret tapes, missing computers and romantic e mails that are a part of a public records suit, please consult the PACER system, Viola v. Department of Justice, case no. 15-cv-242, Western District of Pa., or visit the FreeTonyViola.com Evidence Locker.
See the Facts For Yourself
Don't take our word for it, check out the evidence from Tony's second trial and see for yourself how prosecutors suppressed proof of Tony's innocence before his first trial. Our evidence locker tells the whole story, using the government's own documents and records to confirm that prosecutors broke the law to "win" the case.