Monday, August 31, 2015


Francisco Illarramendi, the Venezuelan businessman whose unlicensed hedge funds turned into a $723m Ponzi scheme, for which he was sentenced to thirteen years in Federal Prison, is seeking to be released on bond. He alleges that he cannot adequately review the Government's 800 documents that prove up the losses of his victims, while confined in a correctional facility. The US Attorney's Office opposes his motion, asserting that it is merely a ploy to be released while his appeal, which most observers would probably judge is without any merit, is pending.

Illarramendi's pre-trial conduct is one of the worst I have ever seen; his bond was revoked by the Court in 2013, for valid reasons, and he stalled his sentencing for four years, while he changed lawyers, and alleged that he could not ascertain the precise amount of victim loss. If released pending his appeal, he could instruct his counsel to delay the proceedings, for months, or even years, and justice delayed is justice denied. He is also a flight risk, with knowledge of the methods used to secrete funds in Caribbean tax havens, where he sent bribes. He may have funds available to him in the offshore financial centers where he moved money.

This Ponzi schemer took out $25m for himself, to justify a lavish lifestyle, while covering up a huge loss in his hedge fund for years. He needs to serve out his sentence, and to stop arguing that the accurate calculation of actual losses requires that he be released to research the documents and files. His arguments are as bogus as his hedge funds were. We trust that the Court will agree.

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