I am telling the story of my criminal prosecution and this blog is a summary of the prosecution’s witnesses.
Per their charges, the prosecution was supposed to prove that I was in a conspiracy to launder money. Money laundering is defined as the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses. A conspiracy is a secret plan by one or more people to do something unlawful and they take some action towards that plan.
We started the trial with the unexpected expert witness, Anthony, who was an SEC auditor saying that the Fund was allowed to do what it did.
All the investors had testified and only one had something the slightest bit controversial. There was still tremendous reasonable doubt in the air.
The three fund committee cooperating Government witnesses testified and what they said was at best questionable. There were often vague answers and mumbling among the committee members’ testimony. Any specifics were few and far between and what was specific didn’t really prove anything substantive. One of the committee members showed regret on what he had said to his investors.
There was a travel agent that I had never known that substantiated that my boss liked to take expensive vacations.
There was a banker that said my boss tried to wire money from an account that he was not authorized to do so.
Even the Government’s financial forensic witness who examined every scrap of the Fund’s banking records never said that I received any money from the Fund. I thought if anybody would try and convict me, he would likely be the guy. He had an opportunity to say that he had records that showed money from the Fund had been disbursed to me or that I received a benefit from funds. He did not.
The Fund and no one else illegally obtained money. All the investors signed documents saying that they understood what was being done and the offering document allowed us to do what we did. The SEC auditor testified to that.
One of the ways that the prosecutor tried to accomplish his task was to say things about the investors losing money over and over again. (We never disputed that the investment failed.) It’s meant to be brainwashing and hypnotic. It works.
The prosecutor did not say what mattered most. There was no crime. Yes, investors lost money. I lost my investment in the Fund. My parents lost their investment. My two friends lost their investments. It happens every day.
The prosecution rested.
I got to the end of the prosecution’s case and took a big sigh. Whatever the result, at least I survived their wrath. I was strangely proud of myself. It’s not that I have never been proud of myself, but this whole process had put me in a tenuous position for such an extended period of time that I was just glad to have behaved my way through it.
There was a part of me that said, is that your case? I had convinced myself that there would be something that would make me gasp. Maybe I had watched too many movies and court drama. The only thing that really stuck out in my mind is ……that they didn’t seem to prove their case. They didn’t connect money coming to me or an agreement with any of my former committee members that we agreed to do something illegal.
I was a bit in awe when the prosecution rested. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, I was anticipating to be found not guilty based on seeing the Government’s case against me.
I was looking around as I sat peacefully at the defendant’s table. I felt that I had somehow become an honorary member of the legal community. Badge of courage. Bachelor’s degree “Defendant”. Medal of honor. I could understand now in a way that no one could have ever explained what our US criminal justice system was like. I could understand when someone is prosecuted for a crime they didn’t commit.
I could talk with attorneys in a new way. I knew acronyms, Rule numbers, and Statutes that I didn’t want to know and I could use them properly in a sentence. Crazy.
I respected the attorneys, the Court, and even the prosecutors but they were all in a system that didn’t create justice. While I did not expect to be in the Courtroom any more after the trial was over, they would return to the same walls of justice with the same system… that wasn’t working. I felt sorry for them. They were always pushing the boulder up the hill.
We are raised to be strong, not vulnerable. How do you make sure that you allow your vulnerability to show up when you need to?