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by Mike Caswell
New York prosecutors have asked a judge to impose a lighter-than-usual sentence on Walter Reissman, the "right-hand man" to Vancouver-linked fraudster Ed Durante during the VGTel Inc. fraud. They say that Mr. Reissman's co-operation with the government was a large factor in obtaining convictions in the case. He testified against two of his co-defendants and provided what the government describes as incredibly valuable information about the inner workings of Mr. Durante's criminal schemes.
The request from prosecutors comes as part of a case in which they claimed that Mr. Durante and others defrauded investors of $11-million or more by selling ultimately worthless shares of VGTel. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) According to the government, Mr. Durante told investors that the stock could go to $50 while he touted unrealistic deals. Many of the scheme's victims were retirees and widows, with some selling conservative investments to buy VGTel.
Mr. Reissman, 60, pleaded guilty relatively early in the case and, with his sentencing date approaching, prosecutors have set out their position on the length of his jail term. That position, which is contained in a letter to the judge dated Feb. 6, 2018, is generally favourable toward Mr. Reissman. Prosecutors say that he was of great assistance to their case. (Prosecutors do not mention that Mr. Reissman was likely quite motivated to do everything he could to reduce his sentence. The charges to which he pleaded guilty were securities fraud and wire fraud as well as associated conspiracy counts. These charges carry a maximum jail term of 70 years.)
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