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Man Using Bitcoin to Steal iPhones Got COVID in MCC Now Co-Defendant Gets 7 Months

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 6 – Joel Pena pled guilty to identity theft in a conspiracy involving buying personal identifying information over the Dark Web with Bitcoin then using the information get get iPhones and resell them in The Bronx.   He was sentenced to 24 months in prison.

He contracted COVID-19 is and asking U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronny Abrams to grant him compassionate release. 

 In a letter filed on Christmas Eve, Pena's once and again CJA lawyer William J. Stampur tells Judge Abrams that "two weeks ago, Mr. Pena tested positive for COVID-19... he was removed from his unit to a 'quarantine unit' with other inmates who supposedly were infected. On December 21, the last time counsel had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Pena, he was once again in quarantine in another 'quarantine unit' without a functioning toilet." 

  On January 18, more than three weeks later, the US Attorney's Office replied that "while defendant tested positive for COVID-19 in early December, he did not experience any symptoms and tested negative on or about December 18, 2020, prior to the filing of the Motion."

  They also quote Pena, when arrested, asking "Who give me up? Bitc*es can't do their time."

Now on December 6 for a co-defendant in the case, "FILED JUDGMENT IN A CRIMINAL CASE as to Michael Roque (10), Pleaded guilty to Count(s) 1, Imprisonment for a total term of 7 Months. Supervised release for a term of 3 Years. Count(s) 11 is dismissed on the motion of the US. The Court makes the following recommendations to the Bureau of Prisons: It is recommended that the defendant be designated to a facility in or near NYC. The defendant shall surrender for service of sentence at the institution designated by the Bureau of Prisons before 2pm on 1/10/2022."

 The case is US v. Concepcion Aquino, et al., 18-cr-640 (Abrams)


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