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Fancy Pups Attorney Pleads Guilty in $2.6 Million Fraud Cause

Mark J. Bellotti, the attorney who argued for Fancy Pups owner Rocco Garruto, is now facing five years in jail and a $100,000 fine in his own fraud case.

The attorney who was defending the owner of pet store against accusations of consumer fraud pleaded guilty himself Tuesday of committing $2.6 million in fraudulent mortgage loan applications.

Mark J. Bellotti, the attorney who defended Fancy Pups owner Rocco Garruto in Woodbridge Municipal Court earlier this month, admitted his complicity in conspiracy and theft charges just days later in Freehold Superior Court on Feb. 21. 

Bellotti, along with co-conspirator Jonathan P. Domash, a mortgage broker, admitted to filing false paperwork to fraudulently obtain mortgages on 7 homes that all went into foreclosure, according to a press release from the NJ Attorney General's Office.

A 55-year-old Marlboro attorney, Bellotti pleaded guilty to second degree charges and faces five years in prison and a $100,000 fine. 

On Feb. 9, Bellotti represented Garruto in Woodbridge Municipal Court, where Garruto in a case brought by the Middlesex County Dept. of Consumer Affairs. Customers who purchased pets from Garruto complained that the puppies were sick with parvovirus, a highly contagious and usually fatal disease, or that the pets were sick with a variety of other ailments not disclosed to them.

Garruto also admitted in court that he wasn't an American citizen, a statement that shocked Bellotti and everyone else in court, according to Doreen Longo, whose puppy died of parvo less than two weeks after she brought it home.

Longo is suing Garruto and Fancy Pups in a separate civil action. She said that Garruto had been refusing service of a summons, so while she and her attorney, Edward Harrington Heyburn, waited in a court antechamber, Heyburn served Garruto with the summons while Longo took a cellphone video of it as proof of service.

Heyburn posted the video on his website and on Youtube. The video predominantly features Garruto, but his attorney, Bellotti, can also be seen.

Garruto said he only found about Bellotti's legal woes on Friday. "He ends up having a problem. I got a phone call Friday. I didn't know him in 2007," during the time when the fraudulent paperwork was done, Garruto said.

The relationship between Garruto and Bellotti started, appropriately enough, over canines. "I sold him and his wife two puppies," the Fancy Pups owner said.

Now that Bellotti is unavailable, Garruto is looking for other legal representation. "[Bellotti] told me he's going to be in jail for 90 days," Garruto said. "I guess I have to find another attorney."

tweetiexx February 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM
A THIEF representing a PUPPY MURDERER. Remember the old addage>>Birds of a feather DO flock together. There's a special place in hell for both these MONSTERS!!!!!!!!!!
tweetiexx February 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM
PS.....Rocco is a liar, I personally told him about Billotti's criminal activites during the week of 12/20/2012. Rocco wouldn't know the truth if it jumped up and bit him.
Tom Maras February 27, 2012 at 02:58 PM
According to records obtained from the Township of Woodbridge, Health Department, through and OPRA request, Fancy Pup has had “Conditional” inspection reports in the past. The most recent being in January 2012 (after serious private citizen complaints were filed against the establishment) but was given several “Satisfactory” reports over the years between 2006 and 2011, despite serious animal health and care issues. In 2008, Fancy Pup was issued three (3) separate Complaints requiring Court appearance, owing to incomplete record keeping on all animals received and/or disposed of, not separating quarantined or sick animals from health animals, and failure to provide multiple animals with primary enclosures of minimum legal services. The establishment also has a record of late renewals on their Pet Shop licenses and the status of their 2012 license is being questioned. The establishment was told in March 2007 by the Health Inspector to not board more than four (4) animals at a time and to “please finish/seal crate enclosure in isolation area”! In August 2007 the Health Dept. Inspector told the establishment to stop the practice of keeping boarded animals in with puppies for sale. The only Kennel license (according to the records provided by the Township Health Department through a recent OPRA request) was issued to Fancy Pup on 5/31/2011. Many may question why this establishment had its licenses renewed, given their history. What say you?
Tom Maras February 27, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Update. As of this morning, the Woodbridge Health Department states it does not have a record of Fancy Pup's 2012 license (Pet Shop, Kennel) renewals. The last ones expired 12/31/2011.
tweetiexx February 27, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Ask the mayor, he knows exactly what's going on with Fancy Puppies. He's a happy customer and been protecting this scam artist all along.
Carol February 28, 2012 at 12:07 AM
How can they be operating without a license. Why aren't them being closed down now
tweetiexx February 28, 2012 at 01:12 AM
@Carol That's the magic question. EVERYONE should call Mayor McCormac at 732-634-4500 and ask WHY. But don't be surprised if his office gets extremely nasty with you. They continue to protect Rocco Garruto.

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