Niagara Gazette

Courts

March 18, 2013

Chef takes plea deal in sex abuse case

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A prominent local chef and restauranteur has pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a teenager in a case that dates back to July 2004.

Filippo Inglima is also reportedly on the verge of accepting a plea deal from federal prosecutors in an international drug smuggling case brought against him in 2009.

Inglima, 46, 2825 Thornwood Road, Wheatfield, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in Niagara County Court to a single count of second-degree sexual abuse. He faces a sentence of up to one year in the Niagara County jail when he's sentenced on July 18.

He will also have to register as a sex offender. That registration is likely to lead to the Sicilian citizen's deportation.

"He's probably looking at deportation after he does his (jail) time," Assistant District Attorney Robert Zucco said. 

The lengthy wait for sentencing is to allow Inglima and his lawyer to settle a federal drug conspiracy case that has been pending against him. Inglima, his business partner in a North Buffalo restaurant and 22 other individuals were indicted in November 2009 on charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 500 grams of so-called "club drugs" like Ecstacy.

At a hearing in U.S. District Court in Buffalo on Friday, federal prosecutors said they have offered a plea deal to Inglima. Judge Richard Arcara gave Inglima until April to decide if he wants to take the plea.

Sources have told the Gazette the plea offer could leave Inglima facing up to a decade in federal prison.

A Niagara County grand jury indicted Inglima on four counts of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of second-degree sexual abuse, three counts of third-degree sexual abuse and a single count of endangering the welfare of a child in November.

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