BitClub Network scammers Matthew Goettsche and Joby Weeks have been denied temporary release from prison.
The pair had asked to be released based on “particularly harmful implications” related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They complain that they are exposed to increased health risks and that the measures undertaken to curb the spread of the virus will prevent them from working with counsel to prepare for trial.
They also contend that the curtailment of international travel has rendered flight all but impossible.
Addressing these arguments, the DOJ argued that COVID-19 release leniency with respect to “low-risk minor offenders”, does not apply in this case.
(The) Defendants … face felony charges and potentially lengthy terms of imprisonment.
Goettsche does not present the other risk factors that would otherwise make him a candidate for release. He is 37 years old with no disclosed health conditions.
Weeks, who is 38 years old, indicates that he has an asthmatic condition that evidently has moderated during adulthood.
Addressing Goettsche first, the government recounted Judge Hammer focusing
on the “significant assets” that Goettsche “would be able to . . . access either directly or through others to fund a risk of flight.”
He found concerning, for example, that Goettsche referred to having made “hundreds of mil[lions] in the past two years,” id., and that his accounts are “scattered throughout the world and very possibly beyond the reach of the Government to seize.”
Implicit in that holding is Judge Hammer’s valid concern that Goettsche would use his “vast sums of money,” to leave the country rather than have a jury consider an array of evidence that includes his own “inculpatory” statements.
Despite the Government’s requests, Goettsche still has not filled the roughly $30 million gap between his self-disclosed assets and an accounting prepared by his accountant in August 2019.
The DOJ pointed out Goettsche’s brother’s involvement in BitClub Network. His relationship with co-defendant at large Russ Medlin and an accountant assisting Medlin commit tax fraud, was also a concern.
Weeks attempted to portray himself as a “petty offender”, which didn’t go down well.
None of the articles cited by Weeks regarding efforts to reduce prison populations deal with inmates like Weeks, who have already been found to be a flight risk (twice) and who are charged with very serious offenses carrying significant guidelines ranges.
As to Week’s asthma claim;
Weeks did not report this condition during his medical intake at ECCF, or on a health form he submitted for a mountain climbing trip to Antarctica.
His asthma did not prevent Weeks from traveling all over the world, including to remote locations that presumably lacked standard respiratory treatment, and engaging in strenuous activities at altitude like heli-skiing and mountain climbing.
The point is not that Weeks does not have asthma. Rather, it is that he did not report suffering from asthma or have a prescription for asthma treatment until COVID-19 surfaced.
Concluding their opposition, the DOJ summarized;
By releasing Defendants now, the Court would be showing remarkable faith in Defendants’ promises not to flee, having found six weeks ago that Defendants could not be trusted to return to court.
The world may have changed considerably since then, but Defendants’ resources and motivations have not.
On March 30th a video conference hearing was held, during which Goettsche’s and Week’s respective release motions were denied.
One last note, the DOJ’s opposition filings also provided an update on co-defendants Silviu Balaci and Russ Medlin (right).
Codefendant Silviu Catalin Balaci was arrested and detained in the Frankfurt, Germany area and is awaiting extradition.
The remaining defendant—Goettsche’s business partner whose identity remains under seal and is being called Defendant 2—remains at large and is believed to be residing in a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
The trio of Medlin being in a country without a US extradition treaty, being a convicted pedophile and having access to vast sums of money is an ongoing concern.