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Italian Man Charged With Literary Fraud Pled For 15-21 Month Deal Now Wants Time Served

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 10, 2023 – An Italian man arrested on January 5 at JFK airport was ordered released on bond on January 6, 2022. Inner City Press was there, the only media in the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and live tweeted, here and below.  

  Precisely a year later, on January 6, 2023, The US Attorney had announced: FILIPPO BERNARDINI pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with a multi-year scheme to impersonate individuals involved in the publishing industry in order to fraudulently obtain more than one thousand prepublication manuscripts of novels and other forthcoming books.  The defendant pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn.  The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on April 5, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon.

  The plea agreement has a 15 to 21 month prison sentencing guideline. It is on Patreon here.

On March 10, his Federal Defenders filed a memo seeking a time served sentence with an $88,000 fine to allow him to return to the UK. Page 6 is largely redacted.

 Previously: "an indictment charging FILIPPO BERNARDINI with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, in connection with a multi-year scheme to impersonate individuals involved in the publishing industry in order to fraudulently obtain hundreds of pre-publication manuscripts of novels and other forthcoming books.  BERNARDINI was arrested this afternoon when he arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport.  He will be presented tomorrow before United States Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger in Manhattan federal court."  

On January 6 Inner City Press reported on the detention of another defendant as a felon in possession of ammunition; Bernardini, on the other hand, was release. Thread here:

Bernardini is getting a publicly funded Federal Defender. He pleads not guilty. US is seeking his detention, saying he resides in UK and is a risk of flight.

AUSA quotes Bernardini, upon his arrest yesterday, saying, How can I be arrested here? I am not a US citizen. Federal Defender says Bernardini was arrested at JFK airport yesterday with his long time partner Benjamin Kaye, who is here in court. He works for Kellogg's.

Federal Defender says Mr Bernardini's father is flying to New York with cash; she mentions $200,000. They could stay in the West Village with electronic monitoring.

 Now Bernardini's partner Benjamin Kaye raises his offer to $300,000, secured by London flat. Judge asks if he'd surrender his passport.

 Federal Defender: They're here on US visa waiver program. Kellogg's would let him work from NY for 2 months.

 Judge: Could Mr Kaye put up the security today? AUSA: It would have to involve confession of judgment. 

Federal Defender: He could be outfitted with a GPS bracelet today

 Judge: There are conditions for release. I will release him on bond signed by Mr Kay and Mr Bernardini's father, and a US co-signer. Surrender passport for 2 months and reside at [ ] West 13th Street, Apartment [ ].

Judge: Before release, they must sign the bond and surrender passport. Seek or maintain employment -

Federal Defender: He won't be allowed to work. And the apartment is small.

Judge: I'll order a curfew, and he must notify Pre-Trial if out for more than an hour.

On January 25, Bernardini's request to secure his bond not with Benjamin Kaye's apartment but cash was approved. Notably, Bernardini's counsel said he has been unable to find any U.S. co-signer. And on February 1, a schedule was set:  The matter is adjourned to April 5, 2022, at 2:00 p.m., for a status conference. But it was delayed, then delayed again: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Filippo Bernardini (1) on [18] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Colleen McMahon from Hannah McCrea dated 5/2/2022 re: Request to Adjourn and Consent to Exclusion of Time. ENDORSEMENT: Case adj. at defense request to July 6, 2022 at 4:15-time excluded through July 6, in the interest of justice."

And again: On June 30 the US Attorney's Office asked for more delay, to review the deferred prosecution agreement submitted by Bernardini. Judge McMahon put it on for September 10 at 2 pm.

The case is US v. Bernardini, 21-cr-458 (McMahon)


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