Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

More: InnerCityPro
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

In SDNY Nigeria Fugitive Gets Time Served As Says Her Country Under Buhari Faces Civil War

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope video

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 17 – A 57 year old woman who absconded from criminal charges in New York in 1988 and changed her name to live in Georgia at sentencing on 17 June 2018 said that "in my country, there is the potential for civil war." She was referring to Nigeria.

 In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York courtroom of Judge Kimba Wood, it was only the defendant's family members, court staff and Inner City Press. Her lawyer Jason E. Foy had put together a sentencing submission of many, many letters, to rebut the charge of misusing the social security number she received in the name of Biola Sokunle, when her name was Atinuke Adetola. The case is 88-cr-928.

  Foy blamed the underlying offense, so old it is not in PACER except for a scan referencing bank robbery, on her husband and "cultural" issues. Judge Wood told the defendant that she forgave her, and agreed to time served. It was a kumbaya moment in the SDNY, with the only media present being Inner City Press, only an hour before evaded for a sentencing, perched over a PACER terminal, searching. The search will continue.

In a quite different intersection between Nigeria and the SDNY counthouse, when Colin Akparanta was brought in shackles, accused of sexually abusing female prisoners under his control in the Metropolitan Correctional Center prison, into the
SDNY Magistrates Court on May 21, his wife had been waiting for him for hours. So too his for now publicly paid lawyer. After a reading of the charges, Akparanta was offered $200,000 bail but only when others sign on to it. The U.S. Attorney's Office will go to the house he owns in Irvington, New Jersey to pick up his two guns, and then store them in a vault. His lawyer said Yes, he will be engaging in discussions about a pre-trial disposition, meaning a plea.

   The government argued for a curfew, saying that Akparanta is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Nigeria to which he retains strong ties. He didn't try to flee when first questioned - but it seems he thought he was under investigation only for bringing contraband into the MCC for female prisoners, not for the sex acts he traded the contraband and control for.

 The unsealed indictment in USA v. Akparanta lists as his nicknames or aliases "Africa" and "Akon." (A commenter on Inner City Press' thread about the arraignment noted that the singer Akon is not, in fact, from Nigeria - but neither is Africa a country.)

  Akparanta's lawyer expressed concern about where he would be detained on the night of May 21 while awaiting another signer for his bond and the retrieval of his guns. The prosecutors said he will not be in general population or even in any Bureau of Prisons facility but rather a contract one (sounds like GEO, a private prison.)

  The government asked that time be excluded under the Speedy Trial Act for discovery, which they said is voluminous even though the complaint says the sex acts took place off camera, referring to "The Bubble," and to discusss a pre-trial disposition, meaning a plea. Judge Freeman asked Akparanta's lawyer if he anticipated engaging in such discussions. Yes, was the answer. So how long, in a private prison? Inner City Press will continue to cover this case, and others.

  Magistrate Judge Debra Freedman, presiding over SDNY Courtroom 5A for the week, said the government's proposal of a curfew as a way to prevent flight to Nigeria did not make sense. She ordered that Akparanta not have contact with any current or former inmates except in the presence of his (still publicly paid) counsel, which implies he will not be going back to work as a correctional officer any time soon.

Jordan McDonald came to be sentenced on May 3 for robbing two businesses in The Bronx at gun point, a separate case of which he is already serving 61 months in prison for. But while in the Metropolitan Correctional Center he was stabbed, he said in courtroom otherwise empty but for Inner City Press of
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Laura Taylor Swain.

  Troublingly, this being stabbed while in jail was not in the Pre Sentencing Report. While the judge made a point of adding it, as part of Paragraph 110, she also said that the PSR will be sealed. Could this be called the cover up of human rights violations, in this case of a prisoner? The case is USA v McDonald, 16-cr-00826-LTS-11.

   McDonald's father was a drug addict often in jail; his mother was murdered when he was a teenager. He has a daughter he has not met, since being in jail. He pleaded on May 3 for a second chance, and after a time received an additional 24 months tacked on to the 61 months he is already serving.

  He asked that he be allowed to serve it not close to New York, as so many in the SDNY request, but rather at a Federal prison in Kentucky, where he was been taking job training for construction work in concrete. Judge Laura Taylor Swain gave him best wish and said, understandably, that she hoped to never see him again.

Two days earlier on the other side of Pearl Street in 40 Foley Square, defendant Jesus Lopez walked into the SDNY courtroom of Judge Valerie E. Caproni to be sentenced on May 1 for driving 10 kilograms of cocaine from California to New York.

  He was wearing a suit; he had been allowed out on bond while awaiting sentencing due to his mother having Stage Four cancer. Before the sentencing he uploaded a video directed at Judge Caproni but still online as of this writing on Vimeo, here.

   The courtroom was full, with two U.S. Marshals in the back row, and the two front rows, Inner City Press was later informed by a participant in the proceeding, filled by judges from China. Lopez' lawyer Jeff Greco argued in his sentencing submission for time served, essentially one month.

  But Judge Caproni, after asking Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Rhen why the government wasn't seeking forfeiture of the truck Lopez used to drive the drugs - "there's a lot of equity in there," she said -- looked sternly at Lopez.

   Judge Caproni was not impressed by Lopez' statement that he took drugs because he was bored, that boredom was one of his triggers. She said she did not believe that he had only agreed to drive the drugs in order to feed his own habit. First she sentenced him to 60 month, five years, in prison.

  Then as the U.S. Marshals rustled in the row behind Inner City Press, she said she would be remanding Lopex into custody today. Right now. Her courtroom deputy handed the Marshals an order to that effect.

   Defense attorney Greco said that Lopez' mother could die at any time, and that the Bureau of Prisons would be unlikely to let him out to attend her funeral. Judge Caproni said there was no way to know when his mother would die, and that she had allowed him to remain out on bond pending sentencing so he could spent time with her. The Chinese judges sat as Jesus Lopez took his wallet out of his pants and put his hands out for shackling.

  A well known courtroom artist in the SDNY has told Inner City Press about the time she managed to sketch a similar remand of a higher profile defendant, Bernie Madoff. But there was no artist present for the remand of Jesus Lopez, and cameras are not allowed - only this article. The case is U.S. v. Lopez, part of the larger conspiracy prosecution U.S. v. Soto et al., 18-cr-00282 (Caproni).

  Notably one floor above in 40 Foley Square, a man who pled guilty to stealing $7 million in Medicare and Medicaid fraud has had his sentencing delayed for a year already, and perhaps another year, so that his wife can finish a medical residency program. That case is U.S v. Javed, 16-cr-00601-VSB. Unlike the unpublicized case of Jesus Lopez, the Office of the US Attorney for the SDNY announced the Javed sentencing to the press (but not its subsequent deferral). Click here for that story.

  Which approach is the right one? How can these disparities be explained? These are among the questions that Inner City Press will be pursuing, in the SDNY. Watch this site, and the new @SDNYLIVE Twitter feed.

Background: Even in Judge Caproni's courtroom, there are more positive or lenient stories. When Todd Howe, who pled guilty in the New York State corruption case(s), came up for sentencing on April 5, Judge Caproni was told that Howe is now working more than 12 hours a day in Idaho, on ski slopes and now a golf course. After his guilty plea he had been remanded to the Metropolitan Correctional Center when he disputed to Capital One some credit card charges and the government believed it to be another attempted fraud.

With him out of MCC for seven months, Judge Caproni said it may have just been a mistake. She put off sentencing Howe, instead putting him on five years probation. If he "stays clean" during that time, it all goes away. If not, he faces serious time.

  In the elevator down after Howe's lawyer, in what she called her last criminal sentencing, said Howe still respects government service after his lobbying career meltdown, Inner City Press asked Howe what he thought for example of congestion pricing. He laughed and said it is not needed in Idaho. Meanwhile a shackled prisoner Jones was led into Judge Caproni's now empty courtroom to plead guilty to selling crack in The Bronx and hiding a gun after a 1999 felony conviction. That sentencing is set for August 1. Inner City Press and @SDNYLIVE will be there.


Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2019 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for