Francisco Illarramendi, The Venezuelan businessman whose hedge fund/Ponzi scheme was responsible for an estimated $300m in investor losses, is again seeking a delay in his sentencing. His attorney, who is the fourth lawyer to represent him in his Federal criminal case, has filed what was captioned "Sixth Motion for Extension of Time, etc.", which, of course, includes a request to delay the October 28th sentencing, and the October 17th deadline for the filing of counsel's sentencing memorandum. Counsel has requested a delay until mid-November.
The defendant's latest lawyer stated:
(1) The material involved in calculating the actual loss of victims is voluminous.
(2) The defendant is not able to review the material via a computer, as he is in custody ( his bail was revoked for misconduct), and he also does not have a separate work space, in jail, to review the material in hard-copy version.
(3) Counsel is still awaiting the arrival of exhibits from Venezuela.
This is a 2011 case, and notwithstanding the constant change of counsel, there is no excuse for a request for additional time, because it is much ado about nothing. The defendant has already made statements, on the record, about the extent of the losses, and those certainly qualify as admissions. Any efforts by defense counsel to further drag out the case, alleging that he still cannot calculate the exact amount of the losses, is purely dilatory, and verges on bad faith. In any event, we will know shortly, because the defendant's sentencing memorandum is due at the end of the week.
Due to the huge losses suffered by the victims, will the defendant get 30 years, or even life imprisonment, for his crimes ? We cannot say, but if the Court wants to send a clear message to potential Ponzi schemers, and any hedge fund operators who are tempted to cross the line, this is a perfect forum to do so.
There still are some loose ends in the case: are there criminal charge spending against other individuals who may have been involved, specifically:
(1) Illarramendi's reputed funding source for temporary money, when his Ponzi income receipts were insufficient to maintain the fraud; Venezuelan businessman Moris Beracha.
(2) Beracha's former business partner, an elusive Spanish businessman; Javier José Ardura Gomez, whose relationship with Illarramendi remains a mystery. He is presently believed to be exporting commercial goods, from Colombia, into Spain.
As I have stated before, both of these individuals have remained outside the United States during the pendency of the Illarramendi case, but since Federal criminal indictments are generally sealed, until the targets are taken into custody, we have no way of knowing whether any have been filed against either party. The Receiver's suit against Beracha was dismissed, but no details of the circumstances, including whether a financial settlement was reached, appear in the court file.
We shall update our readers when the Court rules on the motion.