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 In SDNY Pro Se Check Cash Fraud Defendant Stasiv Found Guilty On All 3 Counts Despite Shadow Counsel

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Periscope

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 16 – A defendant charged with fraudulently cashing checks in many U.S. states appeared for trial beginning May 6 representing himself, pro se, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York courtroom of Judge Kevin Castel. Late on May 15 the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all three counts. Mid-afternoon on May 15 Stasiv's shadow counsel was three stories above, in the gallery for another case about a felon in possession in The Bronx. Then he, and Stasiv, were gone. We hope to have more on this - the U.S. Attorney's Office, perhaps understandably given the underdog aspects of the trial, has yet to put out a press release about their win.

On May 6 the jury was selected, with Marko Stasiv several times making use of the Ukrainian language interpreters on hand.

   On May 14, the government's case against Stasiv plodded forward, with photographs of cell cite toward both urban (on top of a T-Mobile shop) and rural (made to look like a pine tree), and and explanation for the jury about how pinging and triangulation work. Stasiv sat at the defendant's table, looking at his own phone records, with a (then) home address on East 82nd Street in Manhattan.

  Back on May 9, Stasiv made an objection to Judge Castel to the prosecution putting into evidence a printer and checks from Pennsylvania it said were part of the wider conspiracy. Stasiv said this Pennsylvania scheme had nothing to do with him; Castel said he can cross examine. But that apparently won't be until Monday. Inner City Press will continue to cover this case.

  On the morning of May 8 Stasiv conducted some cross examination of the FBI's CART Agent Vincent P Radice who has partially extracted a Samsung Galaxy phone. Stasiv asked him about the case number and name - not his - under which the phone and SIM card were searched. Radice said repeatedly that he didn't know. Meanwhile the government has asked Judge Castel to redact racial words from text messages they want to introduce to convict Stasiv. For example, as the crew drives around waiting for a check cashing store, CW-1 texts Razumovskiy "It's such a f*cking c*nt of a black neighborhood here." The government wants to take out the word "black," so that the jury thinks between of CW-1. Watch this site.

  On May 7 Stasiv conducted cross examination of FBI Agent Fox, who had a box of seized cell phones, ID and bank cards in front of her. Stasiv asked Agent Fox, Did you observe me in the check cashing store? No, she had not. He questioned her about  the dates of the complaint and the warrant but she said she was not part of that process. One of the three Assistant U.S. Attorneys facing off against Stasiv -- they are Janis Echenberg, Noah Falk and Jonathan Rebold -- objected but Stasiv, now hopping around on a cane, prevailed. Defendant's Exhibits A and B are now part of the record.

  Also now part of the record are IDs belong to some of those charged along with Stasiv in the scheme, including Gennady Toporov and Mikhail Dikler.  The government says that two will testify against Stasiv, among a total of 28 government witnesses. Will the jury view this as overkill? Could rooting for the underdog result in a verdict of not guilty? More on Patreon, here.

  At day's end, after a defrauded check cashing CEO brought up from Georgia to testify, Stasiv was put back into shackles and taken back to the MCC. Some one remarks, For the U.S. Attorney's office, there is only downside here. Inner City Press covering and amplifying this trial, which so far is akin to watching a person try to conduct brain surgery on themselves while talking. The case is U.S. v Stasiv, 18-cr-259 (Castel). Watch this site.

 On Saturday May 4 Assistant U.S. Attorney Janis Echenberg wrote to Judge Castel with new arguments and information, noting that it could not be delivered to defendant Stasiv in the MCC. Inner City Press will be covering this trial - watch this site. 
  Back in late April, Judge Castel told the government to make the 3500 material and other discovery available right away or he'll fashion a remedy they will not like. In other fashion news, Judge Castel has signed an order for Stasiv to be appropriately dressed during his trial. Inner City Press and @SDNYLIVE will be there - watch this site, and that feed.

On April 23, two defendants arrested at Newark International Airport for an advance fee scheme, essentially predatory lending, were presented late  in the SDNY arraignments courtroom, presided over by that week by retiring Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman. One of them, Omar Young of 107 West Fourth Street, Granton, Wisconsin, was given a free / publicly funded lawyer despite having $215,000 in a business checking account. The other, a Mister Perlman of northern Georgia, has $161,000 in the bank but his counsel, from the white shoe firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, argued that he should be given a free lawyer - and that the whole proceeding should be sealed. But it was held in open court, and Inner City Press was there, albeit the only media present. Why is a corporate law firm like Sullivan & Cromwell representing a predatory lender -- alleged, of course -- and arguing they should be paid, and it should be sealed? Inner City Press aims to have more on this case. For now we note that in the open court proceeding it was said that no hotel can be found in or around New York City for less than $250 to $300 a night, and each defendant was allowed while getting publicly funded counsel to spend $2000 a week while in New York. That's $102,000 a week, deemed reasonable by the court and Sullivan & Cromwell, in a District where many families don't make that in a decade. Inner City Press will have more on this.

   Earlier on April 23, also by Judge Pitman, a defendant accused of selling fake IDs over the Dark Net was told to stop using that platform while given bail on April 23. The defendant, apparently also an Italian citizen and a restaurant consultant, has social media showing his shooting guns and has, according to the government, purchased "SWAT-ing" services (Google it). But Judge Pitman told him not to use the TOR net, while asking rhetorically if they even make phones anymore without the Internet, other than those advertised in the back pages of AARP Magazine. Indeed.

Earlier on April 23 a man was denied bail after naming his Instagram account "Catch Me If You Can."  A Mister Crowder, wearing a "World Sacrifice Tour" t-shirt, was requesting bail. But Judge Pitman asked about the naming of his Instagram account, and the two excuses given, that it was named after a Leo DiCaprio movie ("I've seen it," Judge Pitman said) and that he later changed "if you can" to "if you could," were unavailing. The marshals took him back into the cell block Judge Pitman said to close the door to, less than an hour before affluent opioids distributor Laurence Doud was released on $500,000 bail and walked with his lawyer Mister Gottlieb across Foley Square with Inner City Press asking questions, Periscope video here. We'll have more on this.

Back on April 18 a defendant pled guilty to selling marijuana and having a gun in Manhattan, to a plea agreement specifying 37 to 46 months. Magistrate Judge Moses asked the defendant if he had written his allocation himself. Sporting an ACE bandage on his right wrist, he said Yes. Moments later a Mr. Butler, with neck tattoo, stepping up with a financial affidavit and a lawyer, to be appointed as he is a material witness. So you work construction? Judge Moses asked. The answer was yes, and that it was seasonal - he was not going to work tonight because it was going to pour rain. Judge Moses asked, Is it? And by 6 pm, there was still no rain. But her week was over, and not uninteresting, including disputes with both the Federal Defenders and, less so, with the government. We will continue to cover this.


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