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Hooper Pleads To Carbon Credits Fraud and Wright to Cyprus Wires So June 16 Sentencings

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY Courtroom Exclusive, April 8 – Roger Ralston, Christopher Wright and Steven Hooper all faced a joint wire fraud conspiracy trial on May 12, 2022.

     On February 18, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff held a lengthy in-person oral argument. Inner City Press went and covered it.  

 Among the issues raised is whether the trials should be severed. Hooper proffered to the US Attorney's Office for some 18 hours and almost got a cooperator's deal. Now, counsel for Ralston argues, Hooper's information could never be effectively "Bruton-ized" at trial. 

  [See, Bruton v. US, 391 U.S. 123 (1968)]

   Hooper's counsel countered, why not a bench trial for him, with stipulated facts? Judge Rakoff said it would not be a problem for him, but asked the government. Assistant US Attorney Jessica K. Feinstein said they will "take it under advisement."

 On March 15, severance was granted -- but not on the Brutonization grounds, but due to a serious health problem for Ralston due to a recent accident.

Hooper and Wright would be put on trial on April 25; Ralston to follow on September 12.

 On April 5, a change of plea (to guilty) was set for two of the defendants: "held on 4/5/2022 without transcription or recording. Melissa Kelley of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP for Defendant Wright and Shaelyn Gambino-Morrison of ChaudhryLaw PLLC for Defendant Hooper were present. A change of plea hearing concerning both defendants is set for 4/8/22 at 3:00 p.m."

Inner City Press went and covered the in-person guilty pleas, the only media in the courtroom. Both Wright and Hooper got sentencing ranges of 70 to 87 months, but 60 months is the cap. After Wright pled (allocuting to Cyprus to Saint Vincent wires) and left, it was said Hooper had been offered a cooperator's deal, and that the government at this sentencing on June 16 at noon will say he told the truth.

 His allocuation described fraudulent carbon credit, a scheme he withdrew from on this own.

 But when Hooper's counsel asked that he be allowed to travel back to the UK before sentencing, the AUSA opposed it and Judge Rakoff agreed, keeping the conditions of release including GPS bracelet, the same.

The case is  US v. Ralston, et al., 19-cr-774 (Rakoff) 


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