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Crook’s assault record could prompt extra prison time in fraud cases

Target 12

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The violent criminal record of accused conman Marcus Crook could add significant time to convictions from pending fraud cases in three cities.

The Rhode Island Attorney General cited two felony domestic assault convictions from Crook’s long rap sheet in notifying the court he is eligible for up to 25-years of additional prison time if he is sentenced to more than one year for any of the open cases.

Marcus Crook_634976

Crook pleaded not guilty last month to 19 charges connected to Providence, East Providence, and Pawtucket fraud investigations.

According to an attorney who asked not be identified, Crook appeared to make a statement to another attorney in the courtroom during a pre-trial hearing Monday morning.

The attorney told Target 12, Crook told Ryan McNelis, “I’m glad you think it’s funny. Glad you think this [expletive] is funny.”

McNelis’ twin brother Robert was arrested in early 2018 on 11 counts prompted by a statement Crook made to state police, alleging McNelis conspired with him on a $12,000 check fraud scheme involving the attorney’s client trust account.

The charges against McNelis were dismissed last September.

Ryan McNelis offered a brief statement about the new development.

“The McNelis family has no comment other than we remain committed to working with state authorities to see that just is served in this matter,” Ryan McNelis said.

In the past, Ryan McNelis alleged Crook used a computer app to fabricate text messages that implicated his brother.

After the charges were dropped, Robert McNelis said cell phone records would have proven the texts in question did not come from his wireless account.

Crook would get into more trouble after the McNelis investigation, with allegations surfacing in Pawtucket, then Florida.

He was extradited to Rhode Island last month after spending about a year in the Levy County Jail for several crimes tied to what a car dealership executive called a vehicle “Ponzi scheme.”

A few weeks before Crook allegedly used someone else’s identity to land the General Manager job at the car lot involved in the Florida “scheme,” he was accused of conning a Pawtucket woman out of money and a motorcycle.

In addition to a bank fraud charge from the Pawtucket case, Crook is accused of 14 counts of felony forgery & counterfeiting and one count of felony obtaining property by false pretenses in Providence.

East Providence police charged Crook with one count of felony embezzlement.

After he was extradited and entered not guilty pleas to the three fraud cases, he also pleaded no contest to misdemeanor check fraud charges out of Woonsocket and Lincoln.

He was sentenced to one year in prison for both crimes, with 305 days suspended, and 60 days to serve, retroactive to July 12.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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