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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Moshe Butler Sentenced To 5 Years

Moshe Butler

A Teaneck man who struggles with a gambling addiction was sentenced Wednesday to more than five years in prison for orchestrating fraud schemes that bilked victims out of nearly $2.5 million.

“You are nothing but a crook,” U.S. District Judge William H. Walls declared as he sentenced Moshe Butler, 33, during a hearing in federal court in Newark. “And as a crook, you should be punished so you feel the sting.”

Walls told Butler that he deserved his punishment because he continued to commit crimes after he was first caught “selling phantom television sets” to eight hotel and motel development companies from Englewood Cliffs to New Mexico.

Prosecutors said Butler defrauded the companies out of more than $2.25 million in 2008 and 2009 by collecting upfront payments for large orders of flat-panel televisions. More often than not, customers received only a portion or none of the televisions they bought, and requests for refunds only produced checks that bounced, authorities said.

Two years later, while free on bail in that case, Butler swindled Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC and two individuals out of more than $200,000 by writing bad checks.

Butler’s attorney, Edward J. Dauber, said Butler enrolled in a program for his addiction after his arrest and tried to turn his life around, but he suffered a relapse, substituting the rush of casino gambling for “the rush of the stock market.”

Butler, wearing a yellow jail-issued jumpsuit, his wrists and ankles in chains, apologized to his victims and to his family on Wednesday. “I’ve made bad mistakes,” he told the judge. If given an opportunity to get help, he vowed to make amends to those he has harmed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew E. Beck said Butler was a “skilled, talented and prolific fraudster” whose guilty pleas in the fraud schemes proved that to be true. He added that Butler’s gambling problem was no justification for his crimes.

“Each and every time he lied, cheated and stole to get money, he knew what he was doing,” Beck said.

Walls agreed. “Society has to be protected from people who promise something and don’t even attempt to deliver,” Walls told Butler. “That you are a gambler is not of consequence to me.”

The judge imposed a 57-month prison term for the TV scam and six months for the second scheme, and ordered that the sentences run consecutively, resulting in a 63-month sentence.

Butler admitted defrauding Morgan Stanley out of $37,000 by opening an investment account with the bank last summer and depositing a $50,000 check, which he used to cover purchases of various securities and commodities option contracts. The purchases were largely unsuccessful and within days he lost his entire $50,000 investment, plus an additional $18,921, authorities said.

Butler then deposited a $100,000 check to cover the negative balance but that check was written from an account that had been closed two months earlier because he had written checks that were returned for insufficient funds, authorities said.

Butler also admitted that he fraudulently obtained $170,000 in money and legal services from two victims, in part by giving them bad checks.

BY PETER J. SAMPSON - www.northjersey.com

1 comment:

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