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Woman Pled To COVID NYC Hotel Fraud Now Wants Much Less than 33 - 41 Month Guideline

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

SDNY MAG COURT EXCLUSIVE, May 4 -  In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on December 2, a guilty plea was taken by Magistrate Judge Stuart D. Aaron from Chanette Lewis, charged with participating in schemes to defraud the New York City COVID-19 Hotel Room Isolation Program, to obtain fraudulent unemployment benefits, and to defraud NYCHA.

  Inner City Press was there, the only media in the Mag Court. Thread:

Plea agreement has sentencing guideline of 46 to 57 months.

Judge Aaron: How do you plead?

Lewis: Guilty... It was only one month, April to May, 2020.  Me and my co-Ds sold hotel rooms using wires. Then the NYCHA count, larger apartments - not for myself!

   It emerged that the defendant used a COVID hotel call center, and information on doctors to book and sell rooms for health care workers to others. Also advertised on Facebook how to scam NYCHA- but disputes that anyone ever moved into the apartments. The Assistant US Attorney insists they did.

  Also, the AUSA read out what the US would prove on unemployment fraud, but Lewis' Federal Defender pointed out she is not pleading guilty to that, saying it will be addressed at sentencing.

The plea was accepted; the sentencing is set for May 18 at 3 pm.

And on December 13, another plea: "Hearing as to Tatiana Benjamin held on 12/13/2022. Deft. Pres w/att Farinella, AUSA Neff. Court reporter. Deft pleas guilty to count 2 of the Indictment. Judge Cott Recommends that Judge K[] accept plea. PSR ordered. Sent date set for 5/18/2023."

This case is US v. Lewis, 21-cr-729 (Kaplan)

An early co-D, also courtroom exclusive, 1st reported here: this COVID-19 fraud plea agreement is for a sentencing guideline of 33 to 41 months

Tatiana Daniel's hair is deep purple. At first this morning she said she was NOT prepared to plead guilty. 144 nights of stolen hotel rooms, with co-defendant working in the City's program

Tatiana Daniel falsely collected unemployment using 10 people's Social Security numbers.

Cell phone had fake COVID results; she got fraudulent PPP loans from the SBA - for her "illegal bootlegging operation."

 Defense lawyer Ezra Spilke confers with AUSA Neff. Seems there's a problem with the plea agreement...

 AUSA Neff: She is admitting overt act of selling fabricated COVID results on 7/20/21 and 8/2/21. 

Spilke: Her spouse Tiana is here. (Only us 3 in gallery - the third apparently a colleague of Spilke).

Judge Kaplan was set to sentence on March 29, 2023 at 2:30 pm. But that was pushed back to May 18.

On May 4, while Judge Kaplan presided over the Carroll v. Trump trial, Tatiana Daniel's sentencing memo was filed. Her sentencing guidelines are 33 to 41 months. She asks for "a substantial downward variance," emphasizing that she was willing to plead guilty earlier than the prosecutor's schedule allowed, and that being a convicted felon is punishment in itself.

Inner City Press will stay on the case(s).

The case is US v. Daniel, 21-cr-729 (Kaplan)



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