BALTIMORE, July 8 -- Allan H. Pearlstein, a former owner with Jeffrey A. Levitt of Old Court Savings & Loan Association, was sentenced today to eight years' imprisonment after his conviction last May of stealing more than $640,000 from the now-defunct thrift.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Edward J. Angeletti brushed aside a tearful plea for leniency by Pearlstein's wife Rosemary, saying Pearlstein's role in the collapse of Old Court in 1985 and the ensuing savings and loan crisis in Maryland required that he serve time in prison.
"The position you've taken from the beginning was 'the depositors be damned,' " said Angeletti, referring to the 17,000 Old Court account holders left stranded without funds after the thefts of millions of dollars by Levitt, Pearlstein and another former owner Jerome S. Cardin. The thrift eventually was closed by state authorities.
Angeletti, who ordered Pearlstein to post a $1 million bond by 11 a.m. Thursday or go to jail pending appeal of his conviction, also fined the 57-year-old shoe manufacturer $4,000 and ordered him to pay the state $640,786 in restitution, the amount he was convicted of stealing.
Deputy Attorney General Charles O. Monk II, chief prosecutor against Pearlstein, said after the 90-minute sentencing hearing that Angeletti's action was "very fair and just."
Pearlstein's sentencing completes the prosecution of Old Court's three former owners. Levitt, former president and key figure at Old Court, pleaded guilty in 1986 to stealing $14.7 million from the thrift. He is serving a 30-year prison sentence. Cardin, a lawyer and 18 percent owner of Old Court, was convicted of stealing $385,000 and sentenced to 15 years. He is free on bond awaiting appeal.
Pearlstein, who owned 41 percent of Old Court and until recently was president of his family-owned shoe factory in Hanover, Pa., was charged in a six-count indictment with stealing nearly $700,000 in unearned fees from Old Court between November 1983 and May 1985, when the thrift collapsed.
Pearlstein acknowledged receiving the fees, saying he was unfamiliar with the thrift's internal procedures and accepted the payments from Levitt as legitimate. Prosecutors contended the $700,000 was for phony consulting fees, topping the $1.8 million he received under an agreement to provide "general business advice" from 1983 to 1985. Prosecutors did not contest the legitimacy of the $1.8 million.
On May 4, Pearlstein was convicted of four counts of theft, totaling $640,786, and acquitted of two counts for lessers amounts.