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In NBA Fraud Case Dentist Wahab Got 36 Months Now Washington Found Guilty Pro Se

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Video

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 28 – Former NBA players Anthony Allen, Sebastian Telfair, Terrance Williams and 15 others former players were named in an indictment unsealed on October 7, 2021 for defrauding the NBA health fund, in Telfair's case, for $350,000.

  Telfair nevertheless got a publicly funded lawyer. Inner City Press was there, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrates Court and live tweeted it here and below(street video here)

On January 12, Telfair's lawyer filed a sentencing submission asking for no jail time, only probation, as he fights his New York gun case - while the UN Attorney's Office wrote it to ask for a sentence below the 15 to 21 month guideline.

On January 26, 2024, Telfair got time served: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Valerie E. Caproni: Sentencing held on 1/26/2024 for Sebastian Telfair (16) Count 1ss.  Defendant sentenced to time-served."

On April 19, 2024 co-defendant Gregory Smith through counsel wrote in seeking a time served sentence. The letter recounts his brief NBA career, then attempts to revive it in Turkey, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Mexico, until final retirement in 2020. With Williams, he falsely collected $157,000 and gave Williams half.

On February 1, the sentencing of William Washington was thrown into disarray. He emailed Judge Caproni, then his appointed CJA lawyer wrote in that privileged materials had been provided and that he would, without directly conferring with Washington, be requesting a delay. Or a withdrawal?

On February 6, Washington wrote it seeking to fire his CJA attorney and go pro se, stating that "this step is crucial for presenting my defense." He asks for an evidentiary hearing, "deeply anchored in the foundational principles established by Brady v. Maryland."

On March 4, Judge Caproni docketed: "Dr. Washington's motion to withdraw his guilty plea or letter stating that he does not wish to withdraw his guilty plea and wishes to proceed to sentence remains due tomorrow, March 5, 2024. If Dr. Washington does not move to withdraw his guilty plea, any additional objections to the Presentence Investigation Report or supplemental submissions are due March 15, 2024, and sentencing will be held on Friday, March 29, 2024."

On March 5, William Washington pro se moved to withdraw his guilty plea, concluding that he is "prepared to proceed to trial or consider other judicial directions the Court deems appropriate."

On May 7, Judge Caproni granted him access to previously "attorney's eyes only" discovery - at the FBI in Seattle: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to William James Washington....ENDORSEMENT...All material previously marked "attorneys' eyes only" is re-designated as "highly confidential" material. Because the Defendant did not raise objections specific to the Government's proposal to make the material available for inspection and review at the local FBI office, Dr. Washington must coordinate with the Government to do so. The Government is ordered to promptly make the material available for Dr. Washington's review at the FBI Office in Seattle. The Court finds that the Government has satisfied its discovery obligations. Because Dr. Washington has access to all of the discovery material to which he is entitled to at this stage, the balance of Dr. Washington's motion to compel is DENIED for the reasons set forth in the Court's April 23, 2024, Order. Dkt. 1400."

On May 16, this: "ORDER as to William James Washington: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Dr. Washington's motion for an order permitting him to introduce portions of the MILs Opinion is DENIED because the MILs Opinion is irrelevant. Federal Rule of Evidence 402 provides that "[i]rrelevant evidence is not admissible." IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties must appear for an in-person oral argument on the Government's motion in limine on Friday, May 24, 2024, at 10:30 A.M. in Courtroom 443 of the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, New York, New York, 10007. Dr. Washington must be prepared to: Present a completed version of the financial affidavit appended to this Order to demonstrate that he is entitled to the appointment of standby counsel at the public's expense."

On June 28, after a trial parts of which Inner City Press attended, William Washington was found guilty by the jury.

Back on November 13, 2023 the trial of William Bynum and Ronald Davis was winding down. Bynum was being cross examined about paying Terrence Williams $30,000. Asked if he'd stopped speaking with Terrence Williams, Bynum said only money, "I'm a positive person," still talking about basketball. Rule 29 motions were denied and one rebuttal witness' testimony trimmed but not precluded.

On November 15, the jury found both guilty "of a criminal scheme to defraud the NBA Players’ Health and Benefit Welfare Plan."

On April 16, Bynum (who submitted a letter from Andre Iguodala) was sentenced to 18 months: "WILLIAM BYNUM was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in a scheme to make false statements to the National Basketball Association (“NBA”) Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan (the “Plan”).  On November 15, 2023, BYNUM was found guilty of conspiring to make false statements relating to health care matters following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who imposed today’s sentence."

On April 25, for Ronald Davis' sentencing set for May 9, the US Attorney's Office wrote in and requested 37 months.

On December 19, 2023, the US Attorney's Office wrote in that dentist Aamir Wahab is not, in fact, eligible for the zero-point offender reduction they gave - but said they will honor it. They are asking for 33 months.

Inner City Press went to the December 20 sentencing. Judge Caproni noted Wahab's prior conviction, and that he didn't need to do this crime. She told him she saw no basis to vary downward - and sentenced him to 36 months, with Southern California designation requested by his California based lawyer.

More courtroom details on Substack here

  On March 3, 2024 Wahab's lawyer asked to delay surrender, to wind down dental practice. It was granted on March 4, to May 14; "the Court is unlikely to grant further extension requests absent extraordinarily good cause." Well, on March 8 Wahad was assaulted, according to a May 9 request to delay surrender. This too was granted, to August 15.

Back on September 26, 2023, Doctor William Washington flew from Seattle to New York to plead guilty before Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang. Inner City Press was there, the only media there when a rift in the plea agreement emerged. The prosecutors say the guideline is 27 to 33 months, while Washington says it's zero to six months. The differences are based on the loss numbers - which Judge Caproni will have to rule on. (See below - there was a trial)

Back on August 26, 2022 lead defendant Williams pleaded guilty, to a plea agreement that he will not (and now cannot) appeal any sentence 145 months or less. Plea agreement on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

On August 2, in advance of sentencing, the US Attorney's Office informed Judge Caproni that when Williams was arrested on October 7, 2021, "[t]wo SWAT special agents recall that a loaded mazagine was inserted into the Glock 9mm. Neither agent recalls whether the Glock had a bullet loaded in the chamber." There were three more guns.

On August 3, Inner City Press went to the sentencing. Williams got 10 years in prison. Thread.

On September 22, Judge Caproni set the schedule for the trial of remaining defendants, after she set a sentencing date for Telfair: "ORDER as to Sebastian Telfair: WHEREAS the sentencing hearing in this matter is currently scheduled for Friday, November 3, 2023; and WHEREAS this time is no longer convenient for the Court. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Mr. Telfair will be sentenced on Friday, January 26, 2024, at 2:30 P.M. in Courtroom 443 of the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, located at 40 Foley Square, New York, New York 10007. The parties' sentencing submissions are due on January 12, 2024 Status Conference as to William Bynum, Ronald Glen Davis, William Washington held on 9/22/2023. Jury Trial to begin November 1, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. Defendant bail conditions continued."

Back on July 25, 2023, Anthony Allen asked for a sentencing of probation, citing philanthropy in including a meeting with (then) Senator John Kerry and Boston students. There is an exhibit of "press clippings of charitable work."

On August 8, Allen got the time served sentence: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Valerie E. Caproni: Sentencing held on 8/8/2023 for Anthony Allen (3) Count 1ss. Defendant Anthony Allen present with attorneys Scott Resnik, Michael Rosensaft and Ifedapo Benjamin. AUSA Ryan Finkel present. FBI Agent Michael Coughlin present. Defendant sentenced to time-served."

On April 21, 2023 there was a pre-trial conference as to William Bynum (6), Ronald Glen Davis (7), Darius Miles (11), William Washington (21). Inner City Press live tweeted it, thread here:

Counsel for William Washington: We need access to the discovery --

Judge: I have received that report from Ms. Greenwood [the Coordinating Discovery Attorney in this and other cases]

Counsel: The problem is the Merlin software.

Judge: I can't force the US to turn over the 3500 material early. You could try to turn up the charm [joke] Counsel: It's pushing into the area of being ineffective to your client. We'd like you to encourage them to produce it early.

 Judge: Let's talk about the timing of the trial. There's a terrorism trial [Inner City Press is also covering it, in DDC, here] with a lot of foreign witnesses; there's a need for delay and another judge asking to be accommodated. I will. So...

AUSA: We have a root canal expert...

Judge: Nov 13. But hold Oct 30 open, depending on an Arizona case with an undercover... Expert disclosure by May 26.

On January 30, 2023, co-defendant Milton Palacios was up for sentencing. Judge Valerie E. Caproni noted that he had made, according to the public record, $4.9 million in his NBA career but now owes tax liens. She sentencing him to time served with a $20,000 fine - and a financial literacy class with a two page letter to her.

On February 15, Judge Caproni approved Palacios for travel to Puerto Rico to coach: "dated February 14, 2023 re: Travel for Employment.... For the reasons explained below, we write to respectfully request that the Court issue an order allowing Mr. Palacio to relocate to Puerto Rico so that he can commence his upcoming employment as an assistant basketball coach for the Guaynabo Mets in the Puerto Rican professional basketball league. ENDORSEMENT: Application GRANTED. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Valerie E. Caproni on 2/15/2023)."

Meanwhile this: "ORDER as to Sebastian Telfair. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that a bail review hearing is scheduled for Friday, February 17, 2023 at 11:30 A.M. The hearing will be held in Courtroom 443 of the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, located at 40 Foley Square, New York, New York 10007. (Bail Review Hearing set for 2/17/2023 at 11:30 AM before Judge Valerie E. Caproni.) (Signed by Judge Valerie E. Caproni on 2/1/23)."

Inner City Press went to the courtroom at that time. Judge Caproni, just finished with a sentencing in the case, told Telfair, I do not want to remand you but I would. She told Telfair to be sure to comply with his conditions, including drug treatment; she noted he was already showing up for mental health treatment. She asked Telfair, What will happen if you do not comply? "You're going to put me in jail," Telfair replied. Judge Caproni nodded and wished him well.

Back on November 29, co-defendant Anthony Allen filed a request to unseal documents the US Attorney's Office has labeled "confidential," which Allen's counsel describe as containing "statements made by counsel for the NBA Plan... explaining that the money allegedly stolen belonged to the players themselves."

Judge Caproni has ordered that "[t]he Government must file its response to Defendant's unsealing request in a letter not to exceed two single-spaced pages."

When the US Attorney's Office filed, it said it "does not oppose unsealing portions of the letters marked as Exhibits A and B... filed under seal."

Jump cut to January 13, 2023. Anderson had missed a December court appearance, and sent letters to Judge Caproni asserting he is no subject to her or US authority. He was arrested on a warrant, and arrested in Westchester County Detention Center via Grady, Oklahoma. His lawyer argued at length for him to be released, but his letters were cited by Judge Caproni to keep him in detention. Will the sentencing have to be pushed back? Watch this site.

The case is against 18 former NBA players "for defrauding the NBA’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan out of approximately $4,000,000." It was been assigned to SDNY District Judge Valerie E. Caproni.

                        Walking, by MRL
Telfair walking away from photographers after court, photo by Matthew Russell Lee 10/7/21

The line up: Indictment charging TERRENCE WILLIAMS, ALAN ANDERSON, ANTHONY ALLEN, DESIREE ALLEN, SHANNON BROWN, WILLIAM BYNUM, RONALD GLEN DAVIS, CHRISTOPHER DOUGLAS-ROBERTS, a/k/a “Supreme Bey,” MELVIN ELY, JAMARIO MOON, DARIUS MILES, MILTON PALACIO, RUBEN PATTERSON, EDDIE ROBINSON, GREGORY SMITH, SEBASTIAN TELFAIR, CHARLES WATSON JR., ANTOINE WRIGHT, and ANTHONY WROTEN with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, in connection with a scheme to defraud the National Basketball Associations (“NBA’s”) Health and Welfare Benefit Plan out of nearly $4,000,000.  TERRENCE WILLIAMS is also charged with aggravated identity theft in connection with the same scheme.

The case is US v. Williams, et al., 21-cr-603 (Caproni)


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