LARGO — Matthew Mauceri, whose twin brother stood in for him during a trial this year, was back in court this week.
But not for long.
Mauceri arrived as scheduled for the first day of his fraud trial Tuesday, but not for the second day Wednesday. He contacted the judge's office that morning and said he was having car trouble, according to comments made in court. But when he hadn't arrived by noon, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Cynthia Newton let the trial proceed in his absence.
Mauceri was convicted of scheming to defraud, which carries up to 30 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set, but a warrant was issued for his arrest.
"No matter how long you do this, things just never cease to amaze you," said prosecutor Evan Brodsky.
Mauceri, 40, was originally scheduled to go on trial in May for a 2007 fraud case involving his auto business, checks that didn't clear and $160,000 in auto parts he never paid for.
But then came what appeared to be a grown-up version of the "twin switcheroo" prank that schoolkids sometimes play, when one twin poses as another.
Mauceri's attorney in that trial noticed something strange: His client didn't seem to remember their previous conversations about the case. Eventually it became clear that the "client" he was speaking to was not Matthew Mauceri but his twin, Marcus.
Marcus was held in criminal contempt and released from the jail Sept. 10. Authorities said Matthew Mauceri could face a new charge of failing to appear for this week's trial.