Isai Scheinberg Bond Residency Likely Transferring to California1 month ago
PokerStars co-founder Isai Scheinberg, who is currently awaiting a sentencing hearing in September after pleading guilty last month to a single “Black Friday”-related criminal charge, is likely to be transferred to northern California in the near future to wait out the rest of his pre-sentencing period.
The change is a compromise solution proposed by Scheinberg and his counsel after an earlier plan for an accelerated sentencing hearing went awry, through no fault of anyone involved. Scheinberg and his wife have stayed at the Sofitel, an upscale Manhattan hotel, virtually since his surrender to US authorities.
However, the social carnage throughout the greater New York City area by the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has directly affected the Scheinbergs' circumstances. As Scheinberg's counsel detailed:
“Life in New York City for Mr. Scheinberg and his wife, who is ill, is increasingly difficult. Not only are they the only ones in their hotel, but the dining room is closed and food service was terminated this past weekend. The nearest grocery store has also closed.”
Hoped-for June sentencing hearing fizzles
The first idea floated by Scheinberg's defense was to have his sentencing hearing moved forward from September to June, given the increasing difficulty with day-to-day circumstances, plus Scheinberg's full compliance with all terms of his release. In a motion offered to presiding judge Lewis A. Kaplan, Scheinberg's attorneys wrote:
“We have spoken to the Probation Office, which reports that it can prepare its report for a June sentencing if the date is advanced. We recognize that the Court has its own concerns, which may make a June date unworkable. But if it is feasible, we would be appreciative and ready to proceed, as will the government.”
However, Judge Kaplan quickly responded with a technical explanation of why it wouldn't work—essentially that the legal process needed to play out.
“The Court does not yet have the benefit of a Presentence Investigation Report ('PSR')”, Kaplan wrote, “nor of any submissions on behalf of the defendant or the government although defense counsel indicates that Probation would be able to provide a PSR if the sentencing date were advanced and no doubt would do his part in providing the Court with the defendant’s submission. Nonetheless, it is not now clear whether the Court will be in a position to conduct a typical sentencing proceeding (i.e., a sentencing with the defendant and all other necessary persons present in a public court room) before the end of June.”
Kaplan still allowed that it would be possible for the sentencing hearing to be moved up, but denied the motion as written.
California option arises, with an extra $1 million bond added
After the motion was denied, and after conferring with Southern District of New York prosecutors, Scheinberg's counsel then proposed a temporary relocation to California for the Scheinbergs, who would then return for Isai's September 10 sentencing.
According to the revised motion, Scheinberg and his wife would relocate to a lodge in northern California that is currently open for business and would accept the older couple. Scheinberg, who posted a $1 million personal recognizance bond as one of the conditions of his release, has volunteered to add another $1 million to that to further assure his continued compliance.
Scheinberg, who has dual Israeli and Canadian citizenship, has already surrendered his passport and other travel documents, though the USAO itself would be assisting with the relocation. Scheinberg would also be required to continue his pre-trial supervision by a court officer, though that responsibility would be transferred to someone in a Northern District of California office. Scheinberg would also be free to travel in northern California as well as in Washington D.C., and the greater New York City area.
Concurrently, US Southern District of New York prosecutors filed their own memorandum with Judge Kaplan, affirming that they would agree to all the conditions proposed by Scheinberg's attorneys. Though Kaplan has yet to rule on the latest motion, it appears all but certain that he will approve the transfer request, meaning that Scheinberg will spend the next four and a half months somewhere in northern California.
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