Crypto Fowler Gets 75 Month Sentence Starting in 21 Days With US Citing SBF and Silvergate
More here below the fold / paywall line
SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 5 – Arizona based crypto-currency maven Reginald Fowler, with multiple accounts with the HSBC, appeared ready to plead guilty on January 15 to a single count, "operation of an unlicensed money transmittal business."
After that fell through on financial issues, Fowler was hit with a five count Superseding Indictment, adding as a fifth count the catch-all, Wire Fraud. On March 5, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Andrew L. Carter emphasized this fifth count to Fowler, see below.
On April 21, 2022, Fowler wrote in seeking for the second time to plead guilty, and soon: "As counsel to Defendant Reginald Fowler, I write to inform the Court that after much deliberation, Mr. Fowler is prepared to forego his right to trial, and, instead, to enter an open plea to the charges contained in the instant indictment. We, therefore, respectfully ask the Court to schedule a Rule 11 change of plea hearing, and we seek guidance as to whether Your Honor will conduct the hearing, or refer it to magistrate’s court, and, if the latter, whether the Court would like the government and me to make those arrangements. I respectfully request that the change of plea hearing be scheduled for this coming Monday, April 25th, and that the hearing occur virtually, if at all possible. Mr. Fowler resides in Arizona, and the daily average of “confirmed and probable” Covid-19 cases in New York City has dramatically increased." Full letter on Patreon here.
On April 22, Judge Carter approved and scheduled it: "Change of Plea Hearing set for 4/25/2022 at 02:00 PM before Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr."
Reginald Fowler has just said "guilty" to five counts after bristling at possible maximum sentence of 90 years.
Fowler says, I know very little about crypto. I did business with AmericaExpress. I am really sorry, mote than you know.
Fowler is fading in and out. Will this second Fowler plea also fall apart? His lawyer: Reggie, try to speak up. Or I could allocute for him. AUSA: That is not our preference.
There's more: the court reporter has an attorney client relationship with Fowler's lawyer. Judge Carter: Can you take the record accurately? A:Yes.
Judge Carter has just accepted Fowler's (2d) guilty plea.
AUSA Swett says forfeiture may be as high as $750 million. Fowler's lawyer: we do not agree with the US theory.
Sentencing was first set for August - then on June 22, this: "ORDER as to Reginald Fowler. Due to a conflict on the Court's calendar, the August 30, 2022 sentencing is being adjourned to September 13, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. on 6/22/2022)."
On September 13, Fowler's sentencing was pushed back to March 14, 2023.
And on March 2, it was pushed back again: "ORDER as to (19-Cr-254-1) Reginald Fowler. The sentencing scheduled for March 14, 2023 is adjourned to April 20, 2023 at 3:30 p.m. SO ORDERED. ( Sentencing set for 4/20/2023 at 03:30 PM before Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr.)(Signed by Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. on 3/2/2023)."
On March 15, the US Attorney's Office wrote in to ask Judge Carter to "restrict him from gambling activities." They says "the Government has obtained records from a casino company in Arizona that indicate that during the pendency of the defendant's criminal case, he has gambled hundreds of thousands of dollar." They do not say if Fowler won or lost, only that "every dollar the defendant has risked at these casinos is a dollar less likely to be paid to victims in restitution."
On March 23, Fowler's lawyer wrote in to say "we do not object to the Government's request."
On March 24, Judge Carter granted the US Attorney's Office's request: " ENDORSEMENT: The application is GRANTED. So Ordered. (Signed by Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. on 3/24/2023)."
On April 18, the US filed a letter seeking a sentence of 84 months - and forfeiture of $740 million, restitution of $53 million to the Trustee of the Alliance of American Football.
Early - 4 am - on April 20, the day set for sentencing, Fowler's lawyer wrote in to ask for a delay, saying among other things "Alliance of American Football (“the League”) written after the lawyer compiled more than one million records, engaged in discussions with creditors, and interviewed former League representatives, their attorneys, and the cofounder of the League. I will need to adequately review this proffer and the very important issues raised in it to prepare to cross-examine this important witness... It is now after 3:30 a.m., and we worked together until just a few hours ago." Full letter on Patreon here.
Early on the afternoon of April 20, Judge Carter denied the request for delay: "ENDORSED LETTER as to (19-Cr-254-1) Reginald Fowler addressed to Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. from Attorney Edward V. Sapone dated April 20, 2023 re: I am counsel to Defendant Reginald Fowler. I write to respectfully request a one-week adjournment of the sentencing hearing from today at 3:20 p.m. to anytime on April 27th. ENDORSEMENT: The application is DENIED. So Ordered. (Signed by Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. on 4/20/2023)."
Inner City Press went to the sentencing at 3:30 pm. But it was not a sentencing. Instead, only one witness spoke, from the podium. In the audience, Mr. Engel said he would not return on on May 2 due to a trial he described in Texas. So the sentencing is pushed back to May 17, with a join status letter due on May 2.
On May 3, with a one day delay, the US filed a joint letter stating that Fowler's defense intends to cross examine Engel on May 17, but that no further Fatico hearing is needed. The defense also intends to make legal but not factual arguments about the sentencing guidelines and forfeiture.
On May 16-17, the sentencing was delayed again, to June 5: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr: Telephone Conference as to Reginald Fowler held on 5/16/2023. AUSAs Sebastian Swett, Samuel Raymond and David Zhou for Government. Defendant appears with attorney, Edward V. Sapone. The 5/17/23 sentencing is adjourned to 6/5/23 at 10:00 a.m. (Sentencing set for 6/5/2023 at 10:00 AM before Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr.)."
On June 5 Fowler was sentenced to 75 months. Inner City Press was there, thread here:
Judge Andrew L. Carter: I've reviewed several victim impact statements. The defense objects to the sentencing guidelines calculation, of 188 to 235 months; it says the loss is above $250 million but less than $550 million
Judge: I find the loss to be greater than $550 million, and more than 10 victims, includimg the AAF. I will apply a reduction under 4c1.1 even though it is not in effect yet. So, guideline of 151 to 188 months. Restitution of $53 million already sign by Mr Fowler
Fowler's lawyer: The proposed forfeiture of $740 million violates the 8th Amendment AUSA: Fowler hasn't made financial disclosure Judge: I'll get back to that. In terms of sentencing, I'm thinking that 6 or 7 years would be appropriate. But I'll hear from counsel
Fowler's lawyer: He built ice skating rinks. He was in a dark place: the bank didn't lose a dollar. We admit AAF players were hurt for 60 days. We ask for grace and mercy, home detention only. Judge: He had a had upbringing - but committed this crime at 59.
AUSA: THe irony is that Fowler hurts people just like him trying to raise themselves by sports. He lied to banks that these were real estate accounts.
AUSA: Fowler's fraud was the beginning of the more recent frauds in the crypto space, and the failure of banks like Silvergate and Signature. [Note: prosecutor names those, but not FTX or SBF. What sentence would they ask for SBF?]
AUSA: Fowler kneecapped the AAF football players- they were on national TV but not being paid. [Fowler passses Sapone a note] AUSA: Fowler had counterfeiting materials in 2016 at the Canadian border and again in 2019. Fowler can't just fake it til he makes it
AUSA now mentions SBF lying to banks; says Fowler "picked up this offense and ran with it," more football wordplay, along with a new reference to "heavy lifting."
Fowler: I have harmed the people of the AAF and my family. I am embarrassed and ashamed. (Sobs) I don't ever want to be here again. Judge: I believe a variance downward is appropriate: I am not considering the counterfeiting just raised. I will impose 75 months
Now AUSA asks for immediate remand to prison, saying that Fowler's romantic partner recently went to Europe and withdrew money he controls
Note: There are no US Marshals here in the courtroom. Fowler's lawyer: Let him go home and organize his affairs. His romantic partner may have gone to Europe but didn't withdraw any money
Judge: I'll think about this. I'll be back. Judge is back, asks why he cannot consider release under exceptional circumstances? I'll step back out and let you think about it. Leaves. Still no US Marshals here in the courtroom
Judge is back again. Fowler's lawyer: He runs a business; he has a dog. Judge: I am not going to remand him today. He is not likely to flee. GPS when back. 21 days then surrender to Marshals in Phoenix by 10 am on June 30.
more below the fold / paywall line here
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