Documents show Charleroi attorney subject of criminal probe

August 17, 2017
Keith Alan Bassi

Court documents obtained Thursday show a Charleroi attorney was suspended from practice amid a federal criminal investigation that involves money belonging to someone identified only as an “incapacitated principal.”

A petition for the suspension of Keith Alan Bassi, 61, states Bassi hasn’t practiced law since June, “after learning he is the subject of a federal investigation involving ... his use of funds belonging to an incapacitated principal and other charges.”

The state Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday temporarily suspending Bassi, effective Sept. 15. Bassi’s attorney, Stephen Stallings, and the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel jointly filed the petition.

Stallings reportedly told disciplinary officials Bassi, who was formerly part of Bassi, Vreeland and Associates, intends to cooperate with their investigation into his “alleged wrongdoing in connection with funds belonging to an incapacitated principal” and efforts by his former firm to have a guardian appointed for that person.

Stallings didn’t immediately return a call Thursday morning.

According to the petition, Stallings said his client intends to pay full restitution before entering a guilty plea in federal court to unspecified criminal charges in August or September.

Bassi’s suspension is pending the conclusion of the criminal case and any further disciplinary proceedings.

No charges had been filed as of Thursday. Margaret Philbin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Pittsburgh, declined comment.

Bassi was admitted to the state bar in 1982.

He was no longer with Bassi, Vreeland and Associates, which has offices in Charleroi and Washington, as of June 19.

Todd Pappasergi, an attorney with the firm, said he couldn’t discuss the circumstances surrounding Bassi’s suspension.

“I can’t comment on that because I haven’t seen the petition,” Pappasergi said Thursday.

Bassi also is listed on the website of business-media company Bloomberg as general counsel for CFS Bank in Charleroi. Bank president and CEO Neil Bassi, Keith’s brother, couldn’t be reached for comment. The bank’s website lists Bassi, Vreeland and Associates as the bank’s counsel.

Keith Bassi also is an owner of the Mon Valley Independent newspaper, which ran a short item acknowledging the suspension. The newspaper said Bassi had announced his retirement from the firm in August and said he “was going to explore other business opportunities, including remaining focused with the newspaper.”

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