“A federal judge Wednesday upheld former Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence’s fraud and conspiracy convictions and denied his request for a new trial, setting the stage for his sentencing to prison in November. [Read more…]
An important fact that has been mostly overlooked in the news coverage of the St. Lawrence convictions is that this case set legal precedent as the first of its kind. A Google search of the early stories shows only one article from US News and World Reports titled “New York Town Official Convicted in Landmark Bond Fraud Case” that paid attention to what was apparently an important part of the Justice Department’s original interest in what was happening in Ramapo.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had pointed this out in his first press conference at the time of St. Lawrence’s arrest by federal agents. He said: “Today, this Office has brought what is believed to be the first ever municipal bond-related criminal securities fraud charges against public officials.” [Read more…]
Shortly after one in the afternoon, the White Plains Jury returned their verdict in the Christopher St. Lawrence bond fraud trial. Out of 22 charges brought against the Supervisor of the Town of Ramapo, the foreperson read Guilty on all but two of the charges. The only two counts on which he was not found guilty were one securities fraud charge related to the bond issue on April 20, 2011, and the April 18, 2011, wire fraud charge related to that same bond matter. Otherwise, he was found guilty of 20 felonies: securities fraud, wire fraud, and criminal conspiracy.
A witness in the courtroom noted that St. Lawrence was physically shaken as he stood and the guilty verdicts were read.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 28, at 10:30 am in the same White Plains courthouse.
Read The Journal News coverage here.
The defense was allowed to complete its final summary, the prosecution was given time for rebuttal, and Judge Cathy Seibel then instructed the jury as to how the deliberations should proceed.
Defense attorney Michael Burke completed the summation of his defense of Christopher St. Lawrence by once again skating away from the facts, dates, and numbers and directly attacking the character and reliability of two major witnesses, Aron Troodler and Melissa Reimer. He said Reimer was a disgruntled employee and he reminded the jurors that she has a current defamation lawsuit against St. Lawrence. [Read more…]
St. Lawrence trial Day 17
May 16, 2017 Following is The Journal News court coverage
“Christopher St. Lawrence was willing to lie and commit fraud to pay the cost of building the baseball stadium he wanted so badly, the prosecutor said Tuesday afternoon during closing arguments at the Ramapo town supervisor’s federal corruption trial.
In a two-and-half-hour summation, prosecutor James McMahon said St. Lawrence lied and schemed so the town’s local development corporation could make its payments. “He created fake revenues,” McMahon told the jury. [Read more…]
St. Lawrence Trial Day 16, May 15, 2017
There were three prosecution witnesses who appeared in the morning, and then the court scheduled the calendar and discussed summary statements in the afternoon. By the end of the day, it was decided that there would be two more witnesses presenting evidence against the Supervisor on Tuesday morning, and then the prosecution would rest. St. Lawrence’s defense attorney said that there would be no presentation for the defense. No witnesses would be called to contradict, to contest, or try to dismiss the evidence from the FBI, the SEC, auditors, and personal witnesses to St. Lawrence’s machinations that have been presented against his client for the past two weeks. Judge Seibel then asked the accused whether he would take the stand in his own defense. St. Lawrence replied: “Your honor, I’ve made a personal decision not to testify.” So there will be no defense. Just a speech by his attorney to the jury. [Read more…]
St. Lawrence Trial Day 15 May 11, 2017 Journal News coverage follows:
“Christopher St. Lawrence said it would take “a magician” to reach the numbers he gave to Moody’s Investors Services, according to a taped 2013 conversation played Thursday during the Ramapo supervisor’s federal corruption trial.
The tape, made surreptitiously by a finance official, contained conversations during and after a Jan. 25, 2013, conference call between town officials and Moody’s representatives. [Read more…]
St. Lawrence trial day 14, May 10, 2017
Following is The Journal News coverage
“The whistleblower in Christopher St. Lawrence’s federal corruption trial testified Wednesday that she alerted the town’s auditors about fraud in Ramapo’s finances.
In her second day on the witness stand, Melissa Reimer, the town’s suspended supervisor of fiscal services and budget director, said she was questioned by a representative of PKF O’Connor Davies.
“I told her there was fraud in the town and the auditors were involved,” Reimer said she told Stacy Morton of the auditing firm during an April 2012 interview. [Read more…]
St. Lawrence trial day 13, May 9, 2017
After two weeks of listening mostly to the complicit and the compliant, the court now turned its attention to the courageous—the whistleblower who risked her job and possibly her career to report what she was seeing in the Ramapo’s financials crossing her desk. Melissa Reimer, the Town’s Supervisor of Fiscal Services and budget director, refused to listen to one-time finance director Nathan Oberman when he told her, “You do not have to do the right thing here, you only have to play ball and make the supervisor happy.” To do so would have made her an accomplice to the fraud she discovered in both the Town’s and the RLDC’s books.
Not only will the jury now get to listen to an insider’s narrative of what happened that resulted in the 22 felony charges brought against St. Lawrence, it’s expected that in the course of Ms. Reimer’s testimony the jury will be able to hear the voice of the accused supervisor in the form of iPhone recordings she turned over to the FBI. This could be the only “appearance” of St. Lawrence since the likelihood of his defense attorney putting him on the stand is remote. [Read more…]
St. Lawrence trial, day 12. May 8, 2017
Resuming after the weekend break, Judge Cathy Seibel decided to resolve the problem of the reluctant witness Michael Reilly. Reilly has failed to provide sufficient medical reasons for not appearing when called as a prosecution witness, so the Judge has ordered a FedEx overnight notification of his required presence, and failing that, if he does not respond, U.S. Marshals will be sent to retrieve Mr. Reilly, and he will be charged with failure to appear.
Michael Klein arrived with two attorneys, and when seated, he refused to answer the first three questions posed by the prosecuting attorney. He cited his fifth amendment right to respectfully decline to answer. Judge Seibel stopped the proceedings, excused the jury, and then addressed Klein and the Prosecutors. She ordered Klein to testify but did grant him immunity, assuring him that if he didn’t lie, what he says could not be used in a criminal prosecution against him. If he were to lie, however, the order would be revoked and he would be prosecuted. [Read more…]