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Bronx Drug Dealer El Viejo Sold Pedro and Mario And Faces 135 Months But No Sentencing Submission

By Matthew Russell Lee, SDNYLIVE

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 22 – A man prosecuted for drug dealing in the Bronx referred to as "El Viejo," the Old One, as far back as 2015 appeared for sentencing on May 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York courtroom of Judge George B. Daniels. But there was a problem: his lawyer Ramon W. Pagan had not filed a sentencing submission.

  During the proceeding Pagan argued that his client, Juan Hernandez-Torres, was sick and shouldn't even be here today.  Judge Daniels asked why this hadn't been addresses months ago. Pagan insisted that he had asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Cooper for the report of the medical expert referred to in Cooper's 6 December 2018 letter to Judge Daniels.

  As far back as August 2018 Pagan had argued to Judge Daniels in writing that "in my opinion Mr. Hernandez-Torres any sentence of incarceration is a death sentence."

 In the 2015 Complaint sworn to then-SDNY Mgistrate Judge James C. Francis IV, DEA Agent Mark A. Hadzewycz said that El Viejo had offered both Maria (heroin) and Pedro (cocaine).  After SDNY Judge Katherine B. Forest signed a wire tap order, El Viejo was heard to offer meth in Pennsylvania.

  The government's sentencing submission filed on 24 July 2018 put the sentencing guidelines for El Viejo at 108 to 135 months. But there has been no sentencing submission for El Viejo. The case is 15-cr-401 (GBC)....

On May 17 a man known as Bob King but also other names, charged with firing a gun in a bodega on White Plains Road in the Bronx but now claiming insanity, appeared shackled in the SDNY courtroom of Judge Andrew L. Carter. Inner City Press was the only media there are files this report.

  Back on November 2018 Judge Carter ordered the Bureau of Prisons to conduct a psychiatric or psychological exam of Mr. King. It was done, by an MCC doctor Ms. Jenkins. But now that King's lawyer wants a hearing to question Doctor King, it emerged Friday that Ms. Jenkins is on maternity leave.

  The government opposed any hearing. But Judge Carter to his credit ordered one, first suggesting a June date. The government replied that since Ms. Jenkins is on maternity leave that will not be possible. (The defense asked why the BOP would have assigned Ms. Jenkins to the exam if they knew; there was not answer). Finally a new date in August was arrived at, with Mr. King remaining in custody. He wants his name to be clear, however - at MCC the BOP insists on using other names.

   Judge Carter said he will sign an order on how to refer to Mr. King. And the wheels of justice, such as they are, crank onward. At least Judge Carter or his courtroom Deputy make it a rule to post on the wall outside their courtroom what cases they will hear that day. Other than Magistrate Judge Moses, others have yet to follow. See @SDNYLIVE.

   Back on May 15, also before Judge Carter, an Arizona based crypto-currency maven with multiple accounts with the HSBC entered not guilty pleas to four felony counts. Reginald Fowler was given until May 29 to perfect the $5 million bond he is free on, and was told he need not come back to New York for the next status conference on July 24.

   While the indictment, initially under seal, refers to Bank-1, the forfeiture allegations specify two HSBC Bank USA Accounts including 141000147, an HSBC Security USA account and two HSBC Securities USA / Pershing LLC accounts. Given the Justice Department's history with HSBC, for example on the bank's money laundering for drug gangs, some wonder why HSBC was not indicted. This is a case Inner City Press will continue to follow.

Chase Bank USA, N.A. told Abraham Friedman his debt was discharged but told Experian that it was still owed - so Friedman filed a lawsuit. That was back in November in New York State Supreme Court in Rockland County, but Chase soon moved to removed it to the
SDNY, where the case arrived at day's end on May 14 in the courtroom of SDNY Judge John G. Koeltl. Friedman's lawyer Daniel Zemel, his office listed in Clifton, New Jersey, appeared by phone. Chase and Experian both had lawyers in the courtroom, where Inner City Press was the only media.

 Judge Koeltl said it was sad that this Fair Credit Reporting Act case couldn't just settle before more attorneys fees. He asked Zemel if he would consent to proceed before a Magistrate. Zemel said he preferred a District Judge.  Fine, Judge Koeltl said, setting a trial date in November, a year after the case was filed in Rockland County. Inner City Press will follow the case as it can.

Back on April 18 the systemic scam of marshals seizing money for factoring companies from out of state banks emerged with Inner City Press again the only media present in the SDNY courtroom of Judge Koeltl. A receiver in from Detroit was contesting a factoring company using NYC Marshal Beagle to seize money from Michigan's Comerica Bank. The factoring company's lawyer, with the same last name, said it was fine since Comerica like BB&T - the example he gave - use the New York courts, so should they turn over money. The marshal's lawyer's argument were less clear, but they are due on June 14. Inner City Press will cover this - and BB&T.

 Earlier on April 18 before SDNY Judge Koeltl a doctor facing an NYPD parking ticket and reportedly saying "I'm the hero" back in 2016 resurfaced before Judge as a police brutality jury trial. Rachel Wellner was at the plaintiff's table and NYPD officer Vega was on the stand, getting asked Didn't you touch near her breast? Wellner was a breast surgeon at Montefiore Hospital in The Bronx but got fired after what the tabloids called her "cop ram" incident. On April 18, Wellner took the stand and by day's end was grilled by the City on when she called the New York Post, and about saying she was led out of the precinct in a chain gang. She said based on the photo the chain gang must have come later. She said the New York Post called her, and she asked them not to publish her name. They've since reported on and excerpted from what they called her "semi-autobiographical novel." The judge has told the jurors not to seek out any information on the case - or presumably the novel. They will not sit on Good Friday but resume on Monday. By the end of April 18 her lawyers had used seven hours and 50 minutes; the City had used three hours and 32 minutes. Inner City Press stayed another two hours for a crack sales plea agreement, a pharmacist pleading not guilty to oxy sales, a sentenced man staying out for months taking his wife's narcotics and finally a lawsuit on controversial seizures by New York marshals of out of state debtors' assets. Watch this site.

When Wellner began she made a point of immediately telling the jury that she organized medical missions to Nicaragua and that along with his $450,000 salary at Montefiore she was able to be back with the Latino community she feel in love with. The government / defense did not object. Across the hall an insider trading prosecution got interesting - but Inner City Press will return to the Wellner case.  Back on April 16, the second day of the trial, Vega's partner Nicolett Davodian was on the stand and her deposition and previously filed reports were being used against her. When did she start saying that Vega's knees were swollen? That Wellner had allegedly called all female NYPD officer a derogatory word for lesbian? And the now somewhat famous, "I'm the hero, the cops are not heroes"? There were many I can't recalls. Coming next is the two officers' supervisor, who allegedly reprimanded Davodian for gloating to Wellner upon subsequent full arrest, Are you happy now you crazy f*cking b*tch? Inner City Press will be there - watch this site.

Both the Daily New and the New York Post at the time mocked her for saying she was the hero and the NYPD was not. Her civil complaint recites her voluntary work in Nicaragua and Israel. SDNY Judge John G. Koeltl at the end of questioning on April 15 told the jury to be sure not to check social media (how realistic that is today is a question), then held several off the record sidebars with the case's attorneys, followed by pleasantries with visitors from Australia. We'll have more on this trial.

   Earlier on April 15 former NYPD officer Gerard Scparta pled guilty on April 12 to theft of public funds in the form of SSI disability benefits and to tax evasion.  SDNY Judge Alison Nathan set his sentencing date for July 16; the US Attorney's office has agreed to a sentence guideline between 30 and 37 months in prison. As part of the plea ritual Judge Nathan asked if the events had taken place in the SDNY. First there was mention of Staten Island - which is the Eastern District - then that the Social Security office Scparta dealt with was in Orange County, in the SDNY. The strip club where he work while claiming to be disabled was in Manhattan. But there's more: as recounted in the complaint that was superseded on April 15, " a cooperating witness ("CW-1") 2 , I have learned the following, in substance and in part: a. Between in or about 1987 and in or about 1990, GERARD SCPARTA, the defendant, and CW-1 both worked together as NYPD officers on a taskforce in the 1st Precinct in Manhattan. b. Between approximately in or about 1992 and in or about 2012, CW-1 referred NYPD police officers to CC-1 so that CC-1 could assist the officers to defraud the SSA by submitting applications for SSD that contained false statements regarding purported disabilities. Because officers who had sustained legitimate injuries while working could still perform certain types of work, many of the officers referred to CC-1 by CW-1 falsely stated to the SSA that they were depressed and/or had mental health issues in order to certify that they were incapable of performing any gainful activity. In exchange for referring these officers to CC-1, CW-1 received four months of the disability benefits received by any officer who was approved to receive benefits. c. In or about 1997, approximately one year prior to SCPARTA's submission of an application for SSD benefits to the SSA, CW-1 referred SCPARTA to CC-1. Specifically, CW-1 escorted SCPARTA to CC-l's residence for meetings on approximately three or four occasions over the course of a year." There is a footnote: " Like CC-1, CW-1 has pleaded guilty to grand larceny in New York State Court for his involvement in this scheme to defraud the SSA. CW-1 is cooperating with law enforcement with the hope of receiving a more lenient sentence." Inner City Press aims to have more on this, and on the two counts in the superseding information that Scparta pled not guilty to on Monday.

Back on April 12 when Will Baez came up for sentencing on he faced a mandatory minimum ten years in prison for five kilos of heroin and a .45 handgun and ammo in his Bronx apartment. The courtroom of SDNY Judge Ronnie Abrams was packed with dozens of family and friends, and Baez spoke about his seven year old daughter and dream of opening an auto body shop. His lawyer spoke of conditions in the MCC: 26 men on 13 bunk beds in a unit with one toilet and one shower and rodents in the walls. There was no discussion of the safety value provisions of the First Step Act, which later in the day got a reduction for another defendant caught with five kilos of what he thought was heroin. Judge Abrams showed those in the courtroom the sentencing guidelines book and said Baez need not be defined by the worst day in his life. But ten years are ten years. He waved as they led him to the elevator of 40 Foley Square in shackles.

Another defendant on April 9 before SDNY Judge Gregory Woods had no fewer than three defense lawyers with him, more than some defendants who face and receive much longer sentences. But Judge Woods' reasoning for imposing a sentence of 48 month in prison rather than the lower guideline of 57 months was that Martinez was that his was the lower level of the gang, that this will be his longest sentence on 15 convictions, and that Judge Woods hopes Martinez can get back to his 13 year old son faster than 57 months. It was as is often the case with Judge Woods a comprehensive and human sentencing, ending with an "I wish you well" and "Thanks." The lawyers, it seems, were from DLA Piper; it contrasts to other cases Inner City Press has witnessed this year, where a defendant complained that his passport was not returned, for example. We'll have more on this.


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