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Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

Online Gaming Alleged Fraudster Presented Without Transparency in SDNY Day After Taliban Case

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope video, II III

NEW YORK CITY, February 7 – The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York arrested and apparently presented before SDNY Judge Ona Wang an ongoing gaming promoter, for defrauding his investors. Inner City Press was in the courthouse all afternoon, covering among other things the sentencing of a man already held four years in jail, but did not receive notice until it left, with no way to know when the presentment would be. Here's from the press release: "Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that ROBERT ALEXANDER was arrested this morning on securities fraud and wire fraud charges stemming from his participation in a scheme to defraud investors by soliciting investments in his online gaming company (the “Company”) through false representations and using investor funds for his own personal use.        ALEXANDER is expected to be presented today in Manhattan federal court before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang.  U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Robert Alexander lied to investors in his online gaming company, fabricating information about his professional background and promising to use investor money solely to further the aims of the business.  Instead, Alexander allegedly used more than $1.3 million in investor funds on, among other things, gambling excursions, entertainment venues, and other personal expenses. As this arrest demonstrates, fraud on investors is no game." No game indeed. While the US government seeks a way to draw down its military forces in Afghanistan, on February 6 the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York unsealed the indictment of, and presented in the SDNY, Afghan national Haji Abdul Sattar Barakzai a/k/a Manaf for allegedly supporting the Taliban with heroin imports and sales. Inner City Press, covering the SDNY - on this day, a sentencing for crack sales and two police brutality cases about to go to the jury - went the courtroom of the assigned judge, Paul Crotty, but it was locked. 

  Down in courtroom 5A they said, Manaf is finished, it was done. Here's from the arrest warrant: "From at least in or about January 2018, up to and including in or about September 2018, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and in an offense begun and committed outside the jurisdiction of any particular state or district of the United States, HAJI ABDUL SATAR ABDUL MANAF, a/k/a "Haji Abdul Sattar Barakzai," the defendant, who is expected to be first brought to and arrested in the Southern District of New York, knowingly and intentionally did engage in conduct that would be punishable under Section 841(a) of Title 21, United States Code, if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States, to wit, the manufacture, distribution, and possession with intent to manufacture and distribute, of one kilogram and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of heroin, knowing and intending to provide, directly and indirectly, something of pecuniary value to a person and organization that has engaged and engages in terrorism and terrorist activity, to wit, the Taliban and its members, operatives, and associates, having knowledge that said persons and organizations have engaged in and engage in terrorism and terrorist activity, which activity violates the criminal laws of the United States, occurs in and affects foreign commerce, and causes and is designed to cause death and serious bodily injury to nationals of the United States while the nationals are outside of the United States."

Upcoming in the SDNY is a just-filed complaint by the Bangladesh Central Bank for the $81 million hacking of its funds, which were then wired through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a case that Inner City Press will cover. Times change. Watch this site.


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