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Bush changes mind, pulls back pardon order for Brooklyn 'scam-tainted' developer

By Staff

Washington, Dec 25 (ANI): President George W Bush changed his mind on Christmas Eve, pulling back a pardon he had extended a day earlier to a Brooklyn developer at the center of a Long Island real estate fraud case.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said the new decision was "based on information that has subsequently come to light," including on the extent and nature of Toussie's prior criminal offenses.

She also said neither the White House counsel's office nor the president had been aware of a political contribution by Toussie's father that "might create an appearance of impropriety."

"Given that, this was the prudent thing to do," FOX News quoted Perino, as saying.

The pardon was for Isaac R. Toussie, a 36-year-old New York developer who pleaded guilty in 2001 to making false statements in a Long Island mortgage fraud scheme.

Toussie and his father, also a developer, had previously been accused of conspiring with lenders and others to build and sell substandard homes -- a charge they denied.

The Toussies are also defendants in a lawsuit filed in New York federal court on behalf of more than 400 minority homebuyers who allege a conspiracy involving racial steering, racketeering and fraud.

Toussie, 36, was sentenced to five months in prison and a 10,000 dollars fine on September 22, 2003, as well as three years of supervised released conditioned on five months of home detention for selling overpriced land to Suffolk County and several home buyers who he helped qualify for HUD loans by lying about their income.

A class action lawsuit against Toussie and his father, Robert I. Toussie, alleged he also lied to the homebuyers by convincing them their property taxes would be deferred or reduced.

Though Bush granted 19 pardons and one commutation on Tuesday, the White House has ordered the pardon attorney to take a second look at the case.

"The president believes that the pardon attorney should have an opportunity to review this case before a decision on clemency is made," Perino said. (ANI)

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