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Guilty Verdict on Fishbein For Real Estate Fraud US Wants 95 Months in Predatory Bender Age

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Feb 5 – A trial began on April 18, 2023 in US v. Paul Fishbein, before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Crotty. Inner City Press was there. 

 The prosecutors say Fishbein

"is charged with theft of government funds, wire fraud, and mail fraud for defrauding rental assistance programs by falsely claiming to be the owner and landlord of 20 properties in New York City, renting out the properties to families in need through the rental assistance programs, and collecting money as the purported owner and landlord of the properties."  

 The Assistant US Attorney's opening described the program defrauded, the notaries whose signatures were forged, the real estate broker whose license was usurped. 

  Fishbein's lawyer reminded the jurors of the 2008 subprime lending meltdown, and said his client was an unsophisticated real estate investor - that Fishbein was the victim, of bad advice.  

On April 19, the government had on the witness stand a Ms. Brown from NYC HRA, testifying about Medicare eligibility and the requirement to disclose all assets including those of household members. The jurors appeared less than transfixed.

On April 20, the real estate broker who said Fishbein "got ahold" of her license was on the witness stand. On cross examination she acknowledged emailing Fishbein a copy of her licence, no less than three times, and to provide information about Fishbein to a lawyer, David Rutherford. She also acknowledged not always checking New York’s "Automated City Register Information System" (ACRIS); multiple objections from the AUSA were overruled by Judge Crotty (who previously was the Commissioner of the City's housing agency).

On April 24, Fishbein himself was on the stand, blaming his problems on lawyer David Broderick. His lawyer asked, Why did you switch representation from Snipes to Broderick? Fishbein blamed it on a paralegal he met in the courthouse, Diana Rodriguez. Bigger picture, he described the real estate Wild West of the era of Predatory Bender... (reviews I, II)

On April 27, the verdict: "conviction in federal court of PAUL FISHBEIN of multiple counts of fraud and aggravated identity theft.  FISHBEIN stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from rental assistance programs administered by New York City’s Human Resources Administration (“HRA”) and New York City’s Housing Preservation & Development (“HPD,” and with HRA, the “Agencies”) by renting out properties throughout the City that he falsely claimed to own and by collecting made-up broker fees.  FISHBEIN was also convicted of Medicaid fraud."

On February 5, 2024 the US Attorney's Office wrote in and requested a top of the Guideline sentence of 95 months.

The case is  US v. Fishbein, 21-cr-296 (Crotty)


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