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In SDNY Ex Brooklyn Judge Ash 15 Month Sentence & $80K Fine After $10M MCU Fraud

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Alamy photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 20 – Former Brooklyn Supreme Court judge Sylvia Ash was first brought by US Marshals on October 11, 2019 to be presented in SDNY Magistrates Court on charges of obstructing the investigation of fraud at the Municipal Credit Union, where she was a board member.

  She was found guilty at trial and on April 20, 2022 was up for sentencing. Inner City Press went in-person and covered it, then thread here

Former Brooklyn judge Sylvia Ash has just been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment in MCU Credit Union scam. Also $80,000 fine. To begin July 20 in Danbury, minimum security.

Ash spoke about a series of unfortunate events - aunt with cancer, father of her son with stroke, she with a cane - and for a time during the sentencing it seems she might get time served (Judge Kaplan said it "would" be hard to replace her care). Then: 15 months

As AUSA Eli Mark described her taking MCU money for a trip to Las Vegas, and telling the FBI to call her "Judge Ash" as she wiped her iPhone, some in the gallery shook their heads. Her lawyer said more supporters would have come, but that Ash asked them not to

Judge Kaplan let MCU's general counsel speak, then said he that was only in an abundance of caution and he hadn't considered it in the sentencing. MCU will be filing to be recognized as a crime victim and get restitution.

Inner City Press will cover that as well. For now, this streaming video of Ash's exit from SDNY, here

  Back on November 4, 2019 she appeared with her Court Street lawyer Roger Archibald before SDNY Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. Things did not go well, see below.

On December 13, 2021, with the jury deliberating, they sent in a note requesting a clear definition of intent. Judge Kaplan came up with a proposal, then agreed to drop the word "special" at the request of AUSA Eli Mark (to whom he remarked, off the record, that earlier in the day the Supreme Court denied cert in US v. Gatto, which Inner City Press also covered).

  The jury came in and Judge Kaplan, used a hand-held microphone so he could look at the jurors, read them his response. Then he said deliberations would continue to 5 pm, unless of course there were a verdict before then.

And there was. The jury found Ash guilty on three counts including conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and making a false statement to a federal agent - but not guilty on another count. Inner City Press rushed up to the 23rd floor of the courthouse in time to catch Ash and a handful of supporters getting on the elevator. The mood was downbeat. Will the sentence, set for April 20, involve jail time? Watch this site.

On June 2, 2020 Judge Kaplan denied Ash's motion to suppress in its entirety (the 19 page Order is online), and noted this: "Archibald had an actual or potential conflict because he appeared to have been involved in the conduct charged to Ash. The involvement was as follows: On July 6, 2018 Ash, through Archibald, made an allegedly incomplete production in response to the June 18, 2018 subpoena, which had required that she produce, among other items, all correspondence with Wong and all documents regarding any items of value received from Wong or the MCU ."

 On September 1, 2021 the trial was firmly set for November 30. And on November 30 both sides belatedly unsealed motions in limine and responses regarding whether Ash came cross examine Witness-1 about providing a relative's codeine to Kam Wong of the MCA. Ash argues it goes to truthfulness - and also wants to offer evidence about the money laundering investigation into the MCU.

On December 6 Ash's lawyers told Judge Kaplan that only the day before, on Sunday, the US Attorney's Office had given them copies of newly disclosed documents concerning possible legal profession sanctions Ash faced or faces, and argued that their introduction as evidence should be precluded.

  On December 7 the prosecutors wrote to Judge Kaplan asking him to exercise his "gatekeeping function" and bar the introduction of exhibits through former MCU Board Treasurer S. Nana Osei-Bonsu, and Norman Kohn, interim CEO after the removal of Kam Wong. Watch this site.

  Back on October 11, 2019 after a proceeding replete with State versus Federal court and Brooklyn versus Manhattan cultural clashes, Sylvia Ash was freed on $500,000 bond with a GPS location monitoring bracelet.

  Her Court Street lawyer Roger Archibald told reporters that she must be presumed innocent, then went back into the SDNY Magistrates Court to work on the logistics of his client's release.

  The release had not been sure. Assistant US Attorney Eli Mark complained that Ash's lawyer Archibald had inaccurately told prosecutors that Ash was on her way to Africa. Then that Archibald, when he learned Ash was instead on the way to Miami, had not updated or corrected the false information.

 Archibald for his part said Ash she be released without condition, given what he called her "pedigree." SDNY Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang quoted this back in her decision, saying that accepting that logic would mean unconditional release for any defendant with a degree.

  When Judge Wang asked Archibold to make his arguments under the applicable Federal statute under the Bail Reform Act, Archibald said he did not have a copy. Later he asked for the preliminary hearing on October 21, when the government has at least 21 days for defendants who are bailed.

   It was state versus Federal, Brooklyn versus Manhattan....

The case is US v. Ash, 19-cr-780 (Kaplan)



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