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Hugh Austin Charged in Crypto Fraud Got Time for Co-Signers, Wants to Privately Meet Son

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY Exclusive, Nov 9 – A man charged with financial and cryptocurrency fraud, whose son as already pleaded guilty, was arrested and presented on July 5 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Jennifer E. Willis. Inner City Press was there, the only media in the courtroom. Thread.

AUSA: He and his son victimized 20 people for over $10 million, offering crypto through other family members' bank accounts. He has a history of mental health issues and oxy use, living a nomadic lifestyle 

AUSA: He serially opened free 1 month gym memberships in variations of his name. 

Defense: He has A.D.D. and used fentanyl only once, by mistake, in 2021. He is not affluent - look, he is here in short and a T-shirt.

Judge Willis has returned to the bench and notes that defendant didn't flee after son's plea. He is being released tonight, with no GPS yet, with 2 days to come up with a co-signer. 

 Jump cut to August 7 - the conditions still no yet, Austin reappeared in Mag Court. Inner City Press went, thread:

OK - now Eugene Austin is in Mag court, in a track suit. Conditions of bail not met. 

Judge Gorenstein: why didn't you seek an exrension? Defense counsel (by phone) US wanted this hearing. Because of publicity, no one will sign.

Judge: He could be remanded right now. Did you see my email? When can you come in person?

Defense: Tomorrow afternoon?

 Austin is sitting at defense table in his track suit.

Judge comes down off bench to look at big View Sonic computer monitor, says Maybe the email wasn't sent. Or, it was in my order.

Defense lawyer: I couldn't open my email. Judge: It's an order on ECF. Defense: I want a modification, not an extension.

Judge: Lot of mysteries here. I'm on the brink of remanding him, but I'd like you to be present if I do. Do you hear me? Defense: No, there is an echo.

 Now judge speaking softly directly into phone. 

Defense: I'm leaving the country Thursday at 10 am.

Judge: Wednesday at noon. Have the Marshals present.

 Afterward Austin said he left his phone at home because he thought he'd be remanded today. So the non-appearance (in person) and non-filing may have won him two days - or more.

On August 8, the US opposed Austin's motions for more time, acknowledging that a potential co-signer had been served with a grand jury subpoena but adding that "the defendant does not allege that the Government threatened this co-signer." His sister Margaret Cherpak "apparently has been unwilling to post her home to securte the defendant's appearance in court."

On August 9 Austin and his lawyer were in the Mag court in person, as was Inner City Press. Thread:

OK - Accused crypto fraudster Hugh Austin, last here Monday in a tracksuit, is back in SDNY Mag court in a blue Oxford cloth shirt, untucked. 

Defense: His sister has no equity in her Port Jefferson house. Austin: She's working with lawyers.

Judge: The money is not important. You need two more co-signers. Defense: Give him two weeks. AUSA: He can seek them from a phone in jail.

 AUSA: He's reaching out to victims. Judge: I'll give him, to find 3 co-signers, until August 23, 11 am. No co-signers, expect remand.

 Question: But can the Magistrate Judge on duty on August 23 be bound by this?

Apparently not. When Austin showed up at 11 am on August 23, Inner City Press was there. Austin's lawyer said Austin's ex-wife had been about to sign until her new husband got involved. He was given until August 25 at 10 am. Thread:

Austin has not found the co-signer. His ex-wife was going to, defense says, until her new husband got involved. Judge: He's been given time....

Judge: If he finds one, he could be released. Defense: Just a few more days. Judge: What will change?

Defense: One day we'll be before a judge who won't take any more. Judge: This may be the day. I may be the judge.

AUSA: We may interview a prospect on Friday. Defense: How about his former mother in law, now that Ms Walker backed out.

Judge: I'll give you to Friday 10 am - satisfy the bond or remand, no hearing needed.

Next, after a continuance in the interest of justice, Austin was indicted on October 4, and the case assigned to Judge Jennifer H. Rearden.

On October 11 it was reassigned to Judge P. Kevin Castel, to whom Austin's counsel wrote on November asked for Hugh Austin to meet without counsel present with his son Brandon who has pleaded guilty and is set to be sentenced on February 22, 2024 - by Judge Castel.

Watch this site.

  The case is US v. Austin, 23-cr-508 (Rearden)

More including on son's case on Substack here


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