Friday, December 05, 2014

Prosecutor:Joplin Rangeline developer should remain behind bars

In a document filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, prosecutors acknowledged that the former developer of 1717 Marketplace on Joplin's Rangeline is not a flight risk, but asked that he be held without bond due to the economic risk he poses to others.

The suggestions were filed in response to a motion from Richard Gregg's attorneys that the judge reconsider his decision to have Gregg held without bond while he awaits trial on fraud, money laundering, and bankruptcy fraud charges.

The problem, Assistant U. S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich said, is that Gregg has continued to commit crimes while behind bars.

At the most recent hearing, the Government introduced evidence the defendant engaged in at least four criminal schemes while detained. First, Mr. Gregg conspired with his son tocommit bankruptcy fraud by concealing bank accounts and financial transactions from the U.S.Trustee.

Second, the defendant attempted to continue to conceal a Toyota FJ vehicle he should have disclosed on his bankruptcy schedules. Third, the abused legal process to prevent Regions Bank from taking custody of his home, on which he had not made a payment since 2012 which had been foreclosed upon, unless the bank sold the home to the defendant’s business associate for substantially less than it is worth.

 Moreover, the defendant conspired with others to physically steal the front and back gates from that property, belonging to Regions Bank, if Regions Bank prevailed in the legal action. Fourth, the defendant attempted to defraud the owner of a property he lost in a bankruptcy trustee’s sale, so that owner would sell the property to his business associate for less than it was worth.

Regarding the actions alleged in the First and Second Superseding Indictments, the Grand Jury’s return of the indictments constitutes findings of probable cause supporting the factual allegations set forth. While the defendant makes much ado of the fact that “there has been no finding, not even probable cause,  that Mr. Gregg indeed committed criminal acts while in custody,” he is not entirely correct; a vehicle and bank accounts the defendant attempted to conceal in his telephone conversations (by talking in code and attempting to shout over his son when the vehicle was mentioned), are charged in the Second Superseding Indictment, or were used to facilitate Mr. Gregg’s offenses. 

However, more to the point, the evidence presented at the hearings did not need to establish additional crimes. Rather, it demonstrated that the defendant would not comply with his conditions of bond, and proved false Mr. Gregg’s assertion he was a changed man deserving reconsideration of the Court’s original order, based on changed circumstances.

In the motion appealing the judge's ruling, Gregg's lawyers talked about the hardship being behind bars was having on their client.

For a man of his age, with no exposure to the criminal justice system, the term of custody that he has already served has had a remarkable impact on him mentallyand spiritually. Above all, this term of custody has deeply impressed on Mr. Gregg the importance of scrupulously complying with all conditions of bond and pretrial release. This new/changed factor strongly mitigates against any
potential danger to the community or risk of flight. 

Gregg was initially indicted on March 29, 2013, on four counts of bank fraud, 10 counts of money laundering, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of bankruptcy fraud. A grand jury indicted him November 4 on two more counts of bankruptcy fraud.

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