“Former town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence doesn’t have to go straight to prison in March to start serving his 30-month sentence.
St. Lawrence, 67, can ask U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel to delay his sentence pending the appeal of his conviction and sentence. She sentenced him Wednesday to 2 1/2 years in prison and a $75,000 fine for securities and wire fraud, and conspiracy.
For St. Lawrence to remain free pending appeal, his attorney, Michael Burke, said he would have to convince Seibel that his client has a high likelihood of convincing a federal appeals court to throw out his May 19 convictions.
“It’s a high burden to meet,” Burke said Thursday. “She would basically have to agree with me she did something wrong.”
Burke said he had not yet discussed with St. Lawrence whether to file for a stay on the sentence start date.
St. Lawrence remains free on $500,000 bond co-signed by one of his brothers. He must pay $60,000 of the judge’s fine before he enters prison on March 15 and the remainder in monthly installments during his three years of supervised release after he gets out of prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Getting a stay of his prison term will likely be difficult.
Seibel has already rejected Burke’s motion to toss St. Lawrence’s convictions and order a second trial based on his arguments that she made errors that hurt St. Lawrence in front of the jury. Burke’s appeal will include her rulings on evidence and testimony.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said St. Lawrence’s actions jeopardized the integrity of the municipal bond market, which finances government projects and improvements.
“For years, Christopher St. Lawrence, as Ramapo town supervisor, misled municipal bond investors about the state of Ramapo’s finances,” Kim said. “The integrity of the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market must be protected, and prosecutions like this one should put all on notice that misleading investors in that market through fraud and deception will lead to prosecution and jail.”
St. Lawrence’s sentencing held up that of former Assistant Town Attorney Aaron Troodler, which is now scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 2. He served as the RLDC’s executive director while St. Lawrence led the RLDC board. Troodler admitted lying to the SEC to protect himself and St. Lawrence.
Troodler, who has been disbarred, pleaded guilty to securities fraud and conspiracy in March and cooperated with prosecutors for a lesser sentence by testifying against St. Lawrence.”
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