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Zilberberg Guilty of Bank Fraud Got 30 Months Now Cooperator Kahane Gets Time Served

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 15 – Mendel Zilberberg was indicted for bank fraud while he was a board member of Park Avenue Bank. His trial was to start on January 23, 2023 - but actually began on July 5, 2023. Inner City Press was there - all the way to the verdict: " JURY VERDICT as to Mendel Zilberberg (1) Guilty on Count 1,2,3,4,6.

Back on January 11, 2023 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge George B. Daniels held an in-person final pre-trial conference.  Inner City Press went to cover it.   

   When Judge Daniels took the bench, the parties asked for an adjournment, in light of 20,000 pages of FDIC documents just produced. No new trial date was agreed. Instead, a March 28 pre-trial conference was scheduled. 

 Judge Daniels asked about a related loan, to Zilberberg's niece.

 The prosecutor emphasized that she was a special education teacher, and did not have a business for the business loan. Judge Daniels said it might be cumulative, and/or prejudicial. 

 Brafman said the jury could be confused by the issue of taking advantage of a younger relative. Judge Daniels asked for a letter.

  Brafman wrote in the Loan 2, the Niece Loan, "has little, if any, probative value."

 On March 21, Judge Daniels had a final pre-trial conference and largely agreed, unless the door is opened during the trial to this loan. The trial was moved up to July 5 for jury selection.

On April 10, co-defendant Aron Fried who pled guilty submitted a lengthy but redacted sentencing submission, including on medical condition, asking for a below guideline sentence. But how much below?

On April 13, the US Attorney's Office asked for 30 to 37 months.

On April 18, Inner City Press went to Fried's sentencing. There were more than a half dozen supporters in the gallery. Judge Daniels asked about what Fried knew, and when. Fried spoke of bone cancer and bad advice.

 Judge Daniels sentencing Fried to a year and a day. Lead defense counsel asked for home confinement - Judge Daniels said no but that he might reconsider if major (presumably negative) developments on health before the surrender date. Defense counsel asked for a recommendation of designation to Otisville.

On July 5 the trial began. Ben Brafman told teh jury to pay attention to his cross examination of the cooperator, and return with a verdict of not guilty. Then the US put on the stand a man who makes prosthetic limbs and who sought a loan from Park Avenue Bank.

On July 6, the prosecution put on the stand FDIC Examiner Todd Goodman and showed notes and his and the NYSBD's meetings with Park Avenue Bank, about loans in violation of Reg O and TARP subpoenas. Zilberberg was there.

On July 7, the prosecution put on a witness drilling down into particular loan applications which Zilberberg had pushed, based on "high credit score and debt service coverage ratio." Some jurors' eyes rolled. Elsewhere in the SDNY courthouse on July 7 Judge Jed Rakoff derided mandatory minimum sentences and the trial penalty they impose. The former doesn't apply here - so would the latter?

And then the verdict: " JURY VERDICT as to Mendel Zilberberg (1) Guilty on Count 1,2,3,4,6.

On August 11 Zilberberg's counsel wrote to Judge Daniels that he "will reply on the record and arguments made as part of his Rule 29 motion and will not be filing post-trial motions in this matter."

On February 5, 2024, Zilberberg's counsel wrote in asking for a sentence of probation with a period of home confinement - then redacted. The submission does, however, mention the Binyan Adey Ad organization, and The Menorah Project of A TIME.

Days later, the US wrote in asking for a sentence of 48 months.

On March 19, Inner City Press went to the sentencing, here

OK- now at sentencing of Mendel Zilberberg for bank fraud.

Zilberberg's lawyer Ben Brafman: If my client is given prison time, he will not have access to his pain medication Oxycodone or special chair or bed. This is degenerative vertabrae. We are requesting home confinement.

 Outcome: 30 months, beginning Aug 1, 2024 at 2 pm.

Defense requests designation to Otisville camp.

On May 15, Judge Daniels sentenced cooperator Abraham Kahan to time served - but added 200 hours of community service as well as restitution.

That case is US v. Kahane, 18-cr-158 (Daniels)

 The trial case is US v. Zilberberg, 19-cr-802 (Daniels)


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