I have previously written about the SEC and criminal cases against Jay Fung, Anthony J. Thompson Jr., and Eric Van Nguyen for stock promotions run back in 2010 and 2011. Just last month Thompson was sentenced to 1 year in jail following his guilty plea. The SEC case continues against Thompson and on February 15, 2019 the SEC filed a motion for partial summary judgment against Thompson, using the criminal plea as evidence.
Thompson was sentenced on 1/4/2019 and it appears from the New York State court information website screen capture shown below that he is to report to jail on March 28th, 2019 (at the sentencing hearing the day for him to report to jail was given as 1/31/2019). The criminal case is 03853-2014 in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Some of the details of the sentencing were quite riveting to me — I found them in the transcript of the sentencing hearing filed by the SEC in the civil case. First, Thompson’s lawyer, Maranda Fritz of Thompson Hine, asked the judge for no jail time, but the judge appeared to order jail time in part because Thompson had not made any of his agreed-upon restitution payments:
THE COURT: Ms. Fritz, your client entered into a plea agreement. Did he enter into a plea agreement in which he agreed to make a certain amount of payment within a certain amount of time?
MS. FRITZ: Yes.
THE COURT: Has he made one payment? Has he paid even one dollar?
MS. FRITZ: He has not. And the issue is not — the issue before this Court is —
THE COURT: Is your client living in a shelter?
MS. FRITZ: No.
THE COURT: Okay, I don’t accept the proposition that your client has not been able to make a single payment in the period of one year, so to the extent you are arguing he’s literally unable to make any payment I do not accept that.
The prosecutor argued earlier at the hearing that Thompson did still have money but it was in a trust:
He’s apparently the victim of a divorce being attacked by teams of lawyers that are being motivated by believing it was bitterness. He couldn’t get a job because he was so humiliated and harmed emotionally by what was happening, all the while again while he’s living off this trust that’s supporting his lifestyle. And again, as illuminated or as discussed in our memo, our belief that that trust was funded by proceeds of the fraud.
The judge’s explanation of the sentence makes for interesting reading:
THE COURT: Mr. Thompson, I appreciate your words and I particularly appreciate your taking responsibility for the harm that you caused to the people who invested money in securities which were not what they purported to be and I think that it’s exceedingly important. I appreciate that because I think it’s critical for you to acknowledge that you stole money from people by your own free will. That you are a person who has been given many, many advantages that most people who come through this courthouse have not been given educationally, professionally, family-wise. You have been given tremendous opportunities and yet you and presumably your codefendants, even though I don’t know anything much about their cases, engaged in a scheme that was motivated by greed and a lack of consideration for the people who were going to be harmed by what you did.
I believed that the plea agreement you entered into was incredibly generous. I think that the plea agreements in this case were incredibly generous given the crimes that took place, which had tremendous financial consequences for many people and, as I said, were motivated by greed and a lack of consideration for what would happen to the person on the other side. I am of course sympathetic to the fact that it will be a tremendous hardship for your children if you go to jail and for you. And putting people in jail, despite my position, is my least favorite thing that I do at my job because it’s terrible for everybody’s family and every person to have to go to jail, but the fact is that you were given an incredibly reasonable, generous plea offer by the People. And there are — I understand that you’ve come upon financial hardship, but the fact that through this time there hasn’t been any effort to make any payments toward the goal to me speaks volumes about your motivation and your belief that you would get away with it.
So, I’m terribly sorry for your children that you will be absent from their lives for a period of time, however that is something that happens to anybody who commits a crime and is caught and has to answer for it. I have already told you that the — your lawyer that I will permit you to surrender yourself for sentence. The sentence of the Court on this case is going to be one year in jail on each count. The sentences will run concurrent with one another and you can let me know what’s a good date for your client to step in.