The mystery surrounding convicted master Ponzi schemer's bizarre appeal is finally solved. You may recall that Steinger, whose life settlement company, Mutual Benefits Corp., was once the largest company in the world selling secondary market life insurance policies, entered a guilty plea in his case, and was sentenced to 20 years in Federal Prison.
His initial brief is still not filed, due allegedly to the appellant's unavailability to participate in the preparation of his appeal, but his counsel's most recent motion* clears up the puzzle about why he would even file an appeal. Steinger is seeking "to challenge the validity of his guilty plea, based upon the fact that his mental capacity was impaired, due to the numerous strong pain medications that he was taking at the time."
His attorney is seeking to include transcripts of court appearances, which he asserts will support his claim of being under the influence of pain medication. That must occur at the trial court level. Mr. Steinger, who is disabled, due to chronic back problems, was moved to Federal Medical Center Butner on January 12, 2015; his attorney practices law in South Florida, which will certainly make conferences with his client more difficult.
Should the Court set aside his guilty plea, and try the case, Steinger would probably be looking at a Life Sentence, due to the amount of money taken from the victims, the enormity of the fraud. Bear in mind also that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that Steinger's insurance products constituted a security, which required registration with the Securities & Exchange Commission; could he actually receive multiple Life Sentences ? We cannot say, but the appellant is playing with fire, in my humble opinion.
*Motion for Leave to Supplement the Record, to Stay all Proceedings, and to set a new Briefing Schedule, filed February 12, 2105.