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After Guilty Verdicts In IcomTech Crypto Ponzi Trial US Says Jurors Should Not Be Contacted

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 22 –  For a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme called IcomTech, which held a promotional event in or near NYC's Times Square, David Carmona on December 21 pled guilty before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jennifer L. Rochon. Inner City Press was there to cover it - and a related upcoming trial. But first, pleas.

On January 12, the US Attorney's Office wrote in asking for Ruiz Ochoa a sentence near the top of the 57 to 71 month range.

On January 19, Inner City Press attended the sentencing, to five years, thread

On March 11, the cooperator of the witness stand was asked by the prosecution about a lengthy Excel speadsheet, then cross examined about money laundering for drug dealers, and buying cars including BMWs and what he called a "Lambhor jee-nee."

On March 12, the government had on the stand a witness who had bought into IcomTech then made money bringing in others "down line" from her. On cross examination she repeatedly asked to provide longer explanations, but was told that would have to be on re-direct. But it may be fast: by day's end it was said that closings can be on May 13.

And they were, including Brend being described, or shown, to be demanding a $12 fee on top of $3300 he was taking from a victim. Next up: verdict.

In came late on March 14, not without drama, here:

OK - now in case of Brend / IcomTech, there's a verdict sent out by jury- along with a note expressing concern about juror anonymity and safety. Defense says this is serious, wants time to brief.

Defense counsel cites a case he says was about John Gotti and problems cause by juror fear. Judge: I will not grant a mistrial. I don't see any indication of outside influence. The note does not say there is fear, only concern about confidentiality

 Judge: This is very different than a juror being approached by mobsters. So I will take the verdict - any concerns can be raised in post-trial motions, depending on what the verdict is. I will direct the parties not to contact the jurors. Defense: We'd like to contact

 Jury entering! Judge: I have an envelope, I'll now open it. I'll ask my Deputy to hand the verdict form to the foreperson, please. On the sole count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Brend? Guilty. Gustavo Rodriguez? Guilty. [Jurors are polled]

[There are now US Marshals in the back of the courtroom - will the prosecutors be asking for immediate remand to prison?] Judge: I thank you for your decision making. You are free of your obligation not to discuss the case. It's up to you

Jury leaves. Judge: Does the government have any applications? AUSA: Now post verdict, see 3143(a)(1), the burden is on the defendants. We think Mr. Rodriguez should be detained. Mr. Brend, we'd add home detention, GPS in Tampa where he lives.

AUSA: Mr. Rodriguez is not a US citizen. This is an aggravated felony; he is presumptively deportable. He faces a very significant sentence here. There's an enhancement for over $25 million. He was involved in other MLMs. He has family in South America: 11 trips

 Update: in the middle of the post-verdict remand arguments, a woman walking out of the court room collapsed, with her eyes closed. 9-1-1 was called. She was described as defendant Brend's mother in law, speaking only Portuguese. Now a break has been taken

 EMS arrived: court resumes. AUSA: Gustavo Rodriguez might just flee to Argentina. Defense: His 18 year old son is here, willing to testify, he would not leave him or his 16 year old. Judge: There is a guilty verdict, Mr Rodriguez will be detained

Rodriguez' lawyer: May my client speak with the son before he is remanded? To tell him how to get home? Judge: Marshals, can you wait a few minutes? Marshal: Yes.

On March 22, the US Attorney's Office argued that the ban on contacting jurors imposed after the verdict should continue, that they not be harassed by the defeated party (citing Moten, 582 F.2d at 664). The only exemption, they say, if if racial animum is expressed, not relevant here.

More on X for Subscribers here and Substack here

The case is US v. Carmona, et al., 22-cr-551 (Rochon)


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