The fallout from the 2008 real estate market crash has continued for years, as Republicans languish in prison, demonized as fall guys for the big banks. When the public clamored for scalps, Democratic prosecutors pounced on conservative small business owners in the real estate industry.
Here is a classic example of how the legal system is manipulated on the inside to target a conservative and make them the fall guy for a bigger scandal, protecting the powerful who are really responsible. Settlement agent Mark Andreotti was accused of defrauding banks out of $2.1 million in 2010 and 2011, and convicted without an opportunity to fairly defend himself during trial.
But what was the real story, which never came out at trial? Andreotti’s former business associate, a real estate attorney, misappropriated money from business escrow accounts at a title agency. When Andreotti discovered it and confronted him, the associate promised to repay the money but never did, then he died. Incredibly, none of this information was allowed to come out at trial, but Andreotti has compiled all the evidence.
It appears to show his attorney, John P. McGovern, colluded with federal prosecutors, making a deal to help “protect the credibility” of the prosecution’s key witness during trial. Andreotti recorded McGovern admitting to the “deal” several months before trial, but the Court refused to review the recording or allow Andreotti to change attorneys.
Andreotti’s former bookkeeper was the prosecution’s key witness. McGovern could have attacked her credibility, as was his responsibility as defense counsel, to cast doubt on her testimony and invalidate numerous claims made by the prosecutors. But something happened right after McGovern started cross-examining her. The prosecutor, Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Shana Chen, asked to speak privately with McGovern. After that conversation, McGovern shut down the cross-examination.
Bizarrely, Andreotti was never allowed to put his accountant Steven Weiss on the stand to testify, whose testimony would have decimated the prosecution’s case. When Judge Susan Wigenton was informed that Mr. Weiss could not testify before the weekend, she responded by stating, “We’re not waiting for him.” Strangely, Andreotti said the judge’s comment was removed from the official transcript — which is a felony if true — but Andreotti recorded his attorney talking to him about it. McGovern never filed an objection or brought the judge’s statements up in Court again.
McGovern did not cross-examine any witness, other than basic questions without direction and which favored the prosecution. He didn’t offer Andreotti’s version or any version of events that conflicted with the prosecution. McGovern did not put any witness on the stand except for Andreotti, and he suggested that Andreotti NOT invite his family and friends to the trial.
There were other shady maneuvers done to ensure Andreotti went away for a long time. The prosecution got him removed from his home with his wife by stating that his wife had volunteered to be a witness. They accused him of obstructing justice because he’d spoken to his wife about the case. His wife, who is now his ex-wife, said she never volunteered to be a witness; the FBI “forced” her to be on the list. Ultimately, she was never prepared for trial by the prosecution or called to testify. But due to this alleged “obstruction of justice,” 30 months was added onto Andreotti’s sentence. The entire incident was bizarre considering in criminal law, spousal privilege protects a spouse from testifying against another.
Another strange trick that was pulled on Andreotti was not allowing his bookkeeper to discuss at trial a property she bought from him, which was one of the properties where his associate had diverted funds. It would not have increased his sentence. Instead, it was brought up after he was convicted as “relevant conduct” which resulted in an enhancement to his sentence, translating to another 30 months added onto his prison sentence.
Andreotti isn’t trying to escape responsibility for the loss of the money, after all it was his business, and his mistakes. However, there was no deliberate intent to defraud, nor did he benefit from the loss. Certainly, he should not have been sentenced to 12 years in prison, which is longer than a conviction of this type would require. By comparison, Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to less time than Andreotti, and she defrauded investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
‘The government is my client’
His recorded meetings with McGovern show there is collusion going on between the court-appointed attorneys and prosecutors. McGovern gets referrals from the prosecution, and in order for those referrals to keep coming, I believe he’s expected to compromise his defense of clients. When Andreotti asked McGovern if he could hire him personally, he said McGovern responded and said no, “The government is my client.” That’s why Andreotti started recording his phone calls with him. At the very least, McGovern violated ethical rules by assisting the prosecution during trial, and for failing to report this “deal.”
The legal abuses are continuing as Andreotti works on his appeal. He said the clerk has tried to dismiss his appeal three times for failure to file, but all three times has been reversed. This is concerning since it may show a pattern of dismissing allegations of fraud in order to protect the status quo. He’s had no luck reporting the prosecutors to various enforcement and prosecutorial oversight agencies, he’s usually given the excuse that his appeal is still being litigated.
Fortunately, Andreotti was allowed to transfer to home confinement last winter due to COVID-19. He must have been low-profile enough that the left didn’t block it, in contrast to high-profile conservatives. But his family has suffered immensely. He was unable to see his mother before she died because he was in prison.
Andreotti says, “It was the overzealous, ‘win at all costs’ attitude of the liberal prosecutors and agents of the DOJ Federal Housing Finance Office that caused them to act fraudulently.” He is just getting started on exposing the corruption.
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