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In SDNY Judge Crotty Sentences Jamaican Drug Deliveryman to 90 Months and Third Deportation

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Alamy photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 17 – Garfield Edwards came to the United States from Jamaica on a green card at the age of 23. On June 17 at the age of 53 he was sentenced for the fourth time on drug charges and ordered imprisoned for 90 months and then deported, for the third time.

His mother was in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York courtroom of Judge Paul Crotty.

 Judge Crotty emphasized that Edwards was a bit player, a "delivery man" as he put it, in this case for 12 kilos of fentanyl and 4.3 kilos of heroin. Edward when he spoke for himself, movingly, said the two prior times he had illegal re-entered the United States it was not for money but for love.

The first time to seek out a daughter he barely knew, a variation on that the second time. This time - after seven and a half years in Fort Dix - he said he will go back to driving a taxi in Jamaica, where he said things are not easy. Hardly.

Back on May 30 before Judge Crotty, after Megan Montoya came to plead guilty to playing a role in a scheme to steal identities, credit cards and money, with a stroller and a baby but no one to watch them, a strange thing happened.

   A group of lawyers replaced Ms Montoya at the defendants table; the name "Columbia" was said, without the number of the case. Then the defense lawyers said they were near settlement but wanted the proceeding to be sealed.

  Judge Crotty asked if the plaintiff - unnamed as we'll see below - had any objection. There was none. But the Columbia lawyer said, There is someone in the courtroom, pointing at Inner City Press. It was an open proceeding; Inner City Press did not move.

  The lawyers asked Judge Crotty, May we approach?  He said yes. They gathered and whispered. When they returned to their places Judge Crotty asked, When will you file the stipulation? Next week was the answer. Judge Crotty concluded, "Mr Townsend, say hello to Mr. Cole." It was over.

   While there are in the SDNY many, many cases against Columbia University, its Medical Center and Office of Institutional Real Estate and the like. There is one in which Columbia has been trying to get information sealed or redacted, going so far as to sue the plaintiff - now named "Doe" - for attorneys fees.

 In the case, Doe says that "although Columbia pays lips service to the ideals of a safe campus environment, the University has a track record of violating Title IX when responding to reports of sexual misconduct." And then of covering them up, getting them sealed in court after complaining that the Press is in the courtroom? Downstairs the five page list of the day's SDNY proceeding did not list one starting with the original plaintiff's name, nor any Doe v Columbia, nor any Columbia at all. We'll have more on this.

  Earlier Judge Crotty asked Megan Montoya, as her baby screamed, Tell me in your own words what you did. She did, briefly, and Crotty said he found her competent. You don't say. At the end he asked, How old is your baby? Eight months. Later as Judge Crotty allowed a major New York institution to make confidential its settlement of a public interest case, Ms. Montoya sat out on the long bench by the window on the 14th floor of 500 Pearl Street with her stroller. Is this how justice is served? The case is US v Megan Montoya, 18-cr-339.

Can the evidence to convict a person of felony wire fraud involving stolen gift cards fit into a single banker's box? It can, it emerged on May 29 in the delayed case of Sara Sakhrani before
Judge Crotty.

   This case which began in 2018 and has repeatedly been adjourned since received yet another extension from Judge Crotty on May 29, 45 more days in which to reach a disposition, meaning plea bargain. Back in February Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew C. Adams asked for a 30 day continuance and exclusion of time, footnoting that fellow AUSA Thane Rehn was then on trial before Judge Robert W. Sweet (RIP).  This case is USA v. Sara Sakhrani, 18-MAG-9674, now assigned to Judge Crotty.

  The underlying conduct took place in April 2015, iTunes gift cards bought with other gift cards, citing "an electronics wholesale business owned by Sakhrani in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street in Manhattan." The wheels of justice turn slowly, sometimes...

Earlier on May 29 also before Judge Crotty, alleged misdeeds by Wachovia Bank, now Wells Fargo, during the financial meltdown, memorialized in a case filed in 2012, were given a morning long hearing.

  Lawyer Sheron Korpus, citing former Federal Reserve economists and information asymmetry, referred to the "whole deck of cards going." He did not refer to the more recent an ongoing frauds of Wells Fargo. Defense counsel latched on to the card phrase, saying the case is not about the house of cards but rather these defendants, this deal.

"This is a common law fraud case," the lawyer said. "Where is the misrepresentation?" What begins in tragedy ends in farce. Judge Crotty said he will be issuing a decision on the motion for summary judgment and that the trial, if there is one, can begin three months after that. The case is Loreley Financing (Jersey) No. 3 Limited et al. v. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC et al., 12-cv-3732.

  In more current banks behaving badly news, Steven M. Calk of FDIC-regulated Federal Savings Bank was presented and arraigned on May 23 for financial institution bribery for corruptly using his position with FSB to issue $16 million in high-risk loans to Paul Manafort in a bid to obtain a senior position with the Trump administration, namely Undersecretary of the Army.

  Back on May 23 Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman accepted the government's proposal of $5 million bond with no co-signer (although that is usually required for moral suasion) and travel allowed throughout the United States (though more defendants are usually confined to the Soutern and Eastern District of NY and one other district). Money talks.

  Afterward in front of the SDNY courthouse Inner City Press asked Calk's lawyers Daniel Stein and Jeremy Margoles about Manafort saying he had misstated his financial situation to get the FSB loans. When did Calk know? They did not answer. Video here, Facebook video here.  Inner City Press' Alamy photos here.

  On May 23, still from the SDNY courthouse covering other cases including one involving the death penalty, Inner City Press reported finding no U.S. Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data for "Federal Savings Bank." But there's more.

The Federal Savings Bank's website, while providing a generic link to the FDIC, and a statement "Member FDIC," has no link for the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act. (Nor does it mention the indictment of Stephen Calk, simply listing his brother John Calk now as CEO and Vice Chairman. Who is the chairman?)

  It lists a loan production office on Avenue J in Brooklyn, and two deposit taking braches in Illinois. Did it see some exemption from the CRA and other consumer protection laws? From fair lending laws?

  Earlier on the morning of May 24 Inner City Press asked the FDIC, "Having covered yesterday's arraignment of the Chairman of The Federal Savings Bank in the SDNY courthouse, including the FDIC's involvement, I checked the bank's website and found "Member FDIC" but no mention of the Community Reinvestment Act."

  The FDIC's spokesperson David Barr, to his credit, responded quickly, writing to Inner City Press: "The Federal Savings Bank, Chicago, is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. They would be responsible for CRA and regulatory oversight. You should contact the OCC for more information."

  Now the OCC under Comptroller Joseph Otting has done everything possible to block the release of information, denying FOIA fees waivers and expedited treatment, refusing comments. But for now online the OCC has said this about The Federal Savings Bank: "While TFSB originated a substantial majority of its loans outside of its AAs; the bank’s business strategy is to operate as a mortgage banking entity with a nationwide presence and market place. Taking the bank’s business strategy into consideration the bank’s performance under this lending criterion is deemed reasonable." Reasonable? Bribery, too, seems to have been part of its business strategy, right under the nose of the OCC of Otting.

  Before 2 pm on May 24 Inner City Press in writing asked Otting's OCC: "This is a Press question for the OCC, from Inner City Press... Please confirm that The Federal Savings Bank is subject to HMDA, and/or if it is below a threshold, as I can find no data in its name on Also, please today provide as an OCC response to the Press this OCC-regulated bank's CRA public file and other information in the OCC's possession concerning the bank's CRA and fair lending performance.   Is it normal for a bank not to mention these things on its website, nor to provide any link to its actual regulator, the OCC, but only to the FDIC?     Please explain what steps the OCC is taking beyond Stephen Calk no longer being the CEO. What about his brother?"

  More than three hours later, even to the questions at the end, the OCC had only provided this:   "We are reviewing your questions, but we may not be able to respond by your deadline.     Regards,  Stephanie        Stephanie Collins  Manager, Media Relations  Public Affairs Operations  Office of the Comptroller of the Currency." This is the same OCC which has delayed FOR MONTHS providing basic information about a merger it has now already rubber stamped.

  On the morning of May 28 Inner City Press received from the OCC a statement that The Federal Savings Banks is subject to HMDA - how they are listed in the HMDA database remains a question - and this: "Question:  Is it normal for a bank not to mention these things [CRA and HMDA] on its website, nor to provide any link to its actual regulator, the OCC, but only to the FDIC?  [OCC answer:] This question is best directed to the bank."

  So wait: Otting's OCC leaves it entirely up to the banks it ostensibly regulates whether to mention on their website and presumably branches CRA, HMDA or even the OCC where consumers could complain? We'll have more on this.

  Stephen Calk was quoted, at least in 2012, opposing regulation: "As Mr. Stephen Calk writes in the September 7, 2012 edition of Origination News: “Basel III is designed to level the playing field among major banking institutions that operate internationally. Force-feeding these same rules to community banks in the United States is unnecessary and in fact counter-productive, particularly in the current economic environment.” Basel III is one thing. But no Community Reinvestment Act?

The Federal Savings Bank lists locations - and bankers - in       Arizona - Scottsdale California - Irvine Colorado - Fort Collins Delaware - Selbyville Florida - Sarasota Illinois - Chicago Illinois - Lake Forest Illinois - Oak Brook Illinois - Park Ridge Indiana - Bloomington Indiana - Indianapolis Kansas - Overland Park Louisiana - Laplace Maryland - Annapolis Maryland - Timonium CD Massachusetts - Lawrence New Jersey - Hackensack New Jersey - Lakewood New York - Brooklyn New York - Melville New York - New York New York - Queens North Carolina - Raleigh Ohio - Columbus Rhode Island - South Kingstown Tennessee - Nashville Virginia - Alexandria Virginia - Fredericksburg Virginia - Newport News Virginia - Richmond Virginia - Vienna Virginia - Warrenton...  We'll have more on this.

  In the indictment press release, FDIC OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Patricia Tarasca said, “Today’s indictment charges Stephen Calk with misusing his position as Chairman and CEO of a bank for his own personal gain.  The FDIC Office of Inspector General remains committed to investigating cases where bank officials cause multimillion-dollar losses to a financial institution and undermine its integrity.” (The FDIC stands to be the lead regulator of BB&T whose money laundering enforcement action was just terminated by the Federal Reserve to facilitate merger with Suntrust, click here for that and Inner City Press' FOIA request and appeal.)

  The indictment was unsealed the day after President Donald J. Trump lost his bid to stay the House of Representatives' subpoenas to two other banks, Capital One and Deutsche Bank. After the May 22 ruling in Trump v. Deutsche Bank by SDNY Judge Edgardo Ramos, Trump lawyer Patrick Strawbridge headed to the elevators in the windowless lobby outside the courtroom.

  He was disinclined to comment and even take questions from the press. When reporters got on the elevator with him, he got off, saying sacrastically but not bitterly, Much as I'd like to be asked questions in the elevator...

   Downstairs in front of the Thurgood Marshall courthouse there were demonstrators will a long Impeach Trump banner and the small black Congress Has A Right To Know signs, three of which had been quickly raised in the courtroom, and just as quickly taken down when Judge Ramos requested it.

  The SDNY Court Security Officers spoke to the sign holders but did not eject them, during the 10 minute recess Judge Ramos took to put the finishing touches on his 25-page decision.

   TV crews from CNN and Univision were set up across the street, and a gaggle of photographers set up on the sidewalk to wait for Strawbridge and the House of Representatives' lawyer Douglas Letter.  As time passed others passing the courthouse, and coming out of it, stopped to ask as so often happens, Who are you waiting for?

   While few had heard of Strawbridge and the House lawyer named Letter, the mention of Trump drew a range of reactions. The sight of long lens cameras -- Inner City Press had this day retrieved it, from the seemingly overflow Press Room in the basement of 40 Foley Square -- attracted others with cases in the SDNY.

  Accompanied by a trio of children in wheelchairs on a day when the disabled entrance on Pearl Street to the Thurgood Marshall courthouse was closed were lawyers in Abrams et al v. Carranza, one in a series of Federal lawsuits against campaigning NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio's Education Chancellor RIchard Carranza. They had a flier and expressed hope that SDNY Judge Alison Nathan would, as indicted, issue a ruling in their case within the week.

  Other litigatants were less media savvy or directed. Those in a criminal trial before Judge Vernon Broderick admitted the case made it hard for even them to stay awake -- Inner City Press has tried several times -- but noted that the U.S. Attorney's office promotes the prosecution each morning in an e-mail.

  The plaintiff side in an employment discrimination trial in front of Judge Valerie Caproni came out (the defense may have been less willing to approach the press), then Judge Broderick himself, down to earth as ever. It was growing late.

  To put its camera back in the 40 Foley press room, Inner City Press climbed the stairs only to be told, We close at five. Explaining that there is a Press Room next to the cafeteria and that the Trump case had done later was at first to no avail. Finally a supervisor was called who did not acknowledge any right to enter, but said he would allow it this one time. We may have more on this: even in the small strokes, press access rights are important, particularly in a courthouse.

                        Pearl, not 40 Foley, photo by Inner City Press

Earlier, before issuing his ruling Judge Edgardo Ramos had asked the lawyers for the two banks that got the subpoenas, Deutsche Bank and Capital One, if they wanted to speak. They did not. This even as House counsel Strawbridge detailed Deutsche Bank's long history with money laundering (and theft during the Holocaust, which didn't come up). Capital One is a rough, too, on predatory auto lending and the Community Reinvestment Act. But the banks lay low.

  Now under Judge Ramos' 25-page ruling, the banks become required to respond to the subpoenas in seven days, on May 29. That's the time during which the House has agreed not to enforce the subpoena, and the time during which Trump's lawyers seem certain to file an appeal and ask again for a stay from the Second Circuit Count of Appeals higher up, in both senses, in 40 Foley Square.

Earlier still in the May in the SDNY, Congressman Christopher Collins (R-NY) waived his right to be present for a May 3 hearing in the criminal insider trading case against him held past 5 pm in the SDNY courtroom of Judge Broderick. On May 10, Judge Broderick started on l'affaire Collins at 2 pm, after a case against BuzzFeed (Inner City Press coverage here). Early in the proceeding, before two shackled inmates were led in leading to a brief suspension of the white shoe SEC Congressman matter, Broderick made a joke about Donald Trump and evasive legal moves. I'm not going there, said one of the participants in Collins, who was an early endorser of Trump. Broderick said, "I should have either - but it is what it is."

   Three hours later, during which Inner City Press in full disclosure went one story down in the courthouse to cover a Fatico hearing about threats in the MCC, Judge Broderick was setting the time for Collins' lawyers to make motions. He arrived on four weeks after he rules on discovery, with the SEC to provide whatever he directs to the defense one week after the ruling. I'm not saying you're going to get anything, Judge Broderick said. Collins' lead lawyer said he is a optimist. More on Patreon; watch this site. 

  Collins' team of lawyers have made a slew of suggestions to Judge Broderick on what discovery to seek from the U.S. Attorney's office, from communications with the SEC to information about real estate, Cameron Collins and Lauren Zarsky and their sales of Immunotherapeutics stock after MIS416, aimed at secondary multiple sclerosis, failed the Drug Trial and Rep Collins made his calls from the White House Congressional picnic.

   On May 3 Judge Broderick was urging wide disclosure by the government, whether characterized as 3500 material or under Brady or Giglio. The notes to be produced, he said, didn't have to been entirely contemporaneous. He had a series of questions for the U.S. Attorney which he did not get through as it approached 6 p.m. and his courtroom deputy had gone for the day.

  Collins' lead lawyer from BakerHostetler, Jonathan R. Barr, directed Broderick to a decision by SDNY Judge Jed Rakoff during the Gumpta case, and Broderick said that he would read it. He confessed he had himself looked up applicable cases on Westlaw, adding that he might have missed some cases.  This case is  USA v. Collins, et al., 18-cr-00567 (VSB). More on Patreon, here.


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