Roll the bones...Get Busy!
|Why Ian Freeman's Bitcoin case is behind the 8-ball
by Morpheus Titania
By Morpheus Titania
Mesa, AZ - The 6 Keene, NH area inhabitants of Colleen Fordham, 60, Renee Spinella, 23, Andrew Spinella, 35, Nobody (formerly Richard Paul), 52, Aria DiMezzo, 34, and Ian Freeman, 40 were arrested and charged with numerous financial crimes relating to Bitcoin and crypto-commodities after being raided on March 16th.
The zoom call for the Ian Freeman detention hearing was heard on March 19. I have been checking into it with great interest, as I was also placed in front of a similar buzzsaw, courtesy of the Department of Justice and friends, back on April 20, 2017.
In my case, the Feds became interested in me, as I was trading Bitcoin at a high level and along with other crypto-commodities. According to Localbitcoins, at the time, I was regarded as the biggest trader in Arizona on their site. What attracted the first agency, the IRS-CID to my ad, was because I advertised that I could do trades as high as $50,000 and all transactions were done anonymously, no questions asked.
The agencies involved, sent numerous undercover agents to buy Bitcoins from me and in the process "baited" me into doing illegal transactions with them, by stating the money came from illegal sources. In fairness to the legal system, that we all live under, the Supreme Court has established rules, which when followed by Government agents doing the investigation, allow the Government to secure a guilty verdict 99% of the time, As long as the agents follow these rules the defendant is unable to attack the Government for "outrageous government conduct" and having the case thrown out.
Highly educated Government agents, go to ongoing classes to study these rules and learn exactly how to properly set up investigations so that if a case ever goes to trial, they simply cannot lose and the defendant will look very bad to the jury that has been selected. The jury will almost invariably return the verdict of guilty and then the judge is almost compelled to follow the very lengthy sentencing guidelines established by congress.
These trained Government agents learn how to perform every phase of the investigation as well as, how to handle themselves in court, so the jury will look favorably at their testimony. The Feds do long investigations, not like what the typical police officer does. When a police officer sees or hears of potential wrongdoing, they will generally make an arrest. In many cases, the Feds will allow the defendants to continue to do whatever they are doing sometimes for months or years, depending on the situation. It was stated in the Freeman detention hearing, they had been investigating Freeman for 5 years. By doing so, they can build an airtight case, and simply put...the Feds seldom lose.
When I was talking to my excellent defense counsel Maria Weidner, before going to trial, she said quite simply, "the defense is expected to lose, if the prosecution loses, it can cost a career." Everything is stacked against the defense, most judges are former prosecutors, defense counsel's rarely if ever, get promoted to a judgeship. Arizona defense Attorney Marc Victor was made pro tem judge and was fired before he heard even one case because he refused to try drug offenses. The rules are determined by appeals and supreme court judges, who are actually entrenched prosecutors themselves. Laws are written by the legislature who are for the most part attorneys, influenced by police and scared citizens. The entire system is constructed to protect itself and the banks who are part of the BORG, who own the Government.
In my situation, which was the first one of its kind taken to trial, there was actually a flaw in the Government's case, on which we did appeal, as the prosecution failed to show any evidence of interstate commerce in the trial. This is of critical importance in Federal crimes, as they must show that the crime affected interstate commerce, even to the slightest degree. In my case, every transaction occurred over a table, and none of the tables straddled any state lines, nor did the prosecution show evidence the money they used to buy the bitcoins came from a federally insured bank or from out of the state. Yet the appeals judges somehow found that, because I used a personal computing device and the internet that was the evidence of interstate commerce. The only real way to appeal a case is to take it to trial; only 2% of cases go to trial. Nevertheless, appeals judges will almost always return a verdict in favor of the Government.
One of the big ah-ha moments I had, while going through this oh so very interesting process but at the same time being on the wrong side of the metaphorical gun that was pointed directly at me, while I was being held in a federal detention facility in Florence, AZ boiled down to this:
"What is the most important thing in a person's life other than air, water, sleep, food clothing, and shelter?", As these things are provided by the detention facility free of charge. The answer was clear to me and that is "The LAW". I took numerous classes in Government-funded schools in all kinds of subjects, and I am sure you did as well, subjects like reading, writing, math, geography, history, science, PE, driver's ed, and in my school, I even had a class on religion. Yet I never had even a single class on, "The Law". Could it be the Government would want the population to be ignorant of this process that is vital to one's existence?
Many people will say other things are more important than the law, like family, friends, or even god. However, if any of you or I are caught breaking a single LAW, there is a whole army of well-paid people from cops, judges, attorney's, clerks, jailors, probation officers who are ready, willing, and able to put your body into a box that you cannot get out of and will leave you there until THEY determine that you are ready to leave. This is the society that we live in. Get used to it - it may get worse.
How does all this relate to Freeman? He has been a rabble-rouser for a long time to highlighting Government abuses of power. Bitcoin is the ultimate disruptive technology, as it competes with the Government's monopoly on the money supply. This is a huge and perhaps a catastrophic problem for them. If it ever gets to the point that no one is using their debt-based fiat money, printed out of thin air, then they lose the most efficient way of controlling the masses.
It is well known the banks own the Government, anything that threatens their survival and control over humanity needs to be attacked at all costs. The Government can not attack Bitcoin directly. They are unable to write "Laws" to change the mathematical rules which govern Bitcoin. It's outside their realm so to speak. So they must attack the people who are utilizing the system.
From what I understand of the case so far, Freeman was having customers send money to banks in the name of the Monadnock Shire Free Church, and then he was sending them Bitcoin. The challenge is that all the transactions are going to be on the bank's register. The defendants may believe that they have some protection by operating a church. From my perspective, I don't believe that will help them much in a trial, which it sounds like they are prepared to go to. The unfortunate part for Freeman is they have also charged the group with conspiracy. In the Feds, they can use hearsay evidence against you in conspiracy cases and it is almost impossible to beat a conspiracy charge. The other factor is they will simply get one person in the group to "flip" and have them be a Government witness in exchange for a lighter sentence.
In-state cases one can get bail for almost every crime they have a law for; however in the Feds, very few defendants ever get bail. He has already been labeled a "sophisticated criminal" by the Government and I suspect they will not release Freeman from custody, as they are very interested in the $1.6 Million in bitcoin, the Government very much wants to seize. If they release him, he could access his wallet and put them more out of reach for the Government. I find it extremely unlikely they will release him, for this reason alone.
Freeman is also kind of a celebrity; he has hosted the talk show Freetalklive.com for many years. His show is broadcast on many terrestrial stations. This is how the Feds operate, they find someone doing something they don't like, someone with some notoriety and brings them down, this scares many of the followers and they fall in line. Very few people are willing to lives of living in a cage for something they believe in. Think Edward Snowden or Julian Assange and now peer-to-peer crypto commodity traders everywhere.
If he does go all the way to trial, he may spend the next 2 years in whatever detention facility he is housed in, preparing for trial. I know I did 15 months prior to trial. This case is labeled complex so they can really drag it out. Let me tell you the Feds, have 2 speeds: slow and slower. The monotony of it all is designed to soften a person up. As a complex case, that releases them of having to follow the constitution of a speedy trial, where they have to take someone to trial in 60 days.
I was fortunate, Judge Murray Snow liked me. He even said, "in another venue, I would enjoy having a conversation with Mr. Costanzo". He reduced my sentence that the probation department suggested, from 120 months to 41. In my case, they were only a few hundred thousand dollars, which were deemed to be illegal, in Freeman's case, they said it was millions. In Freeman's case, the minimum sentence is 10 years, the maximum is LIFE. For sentencing, the judge relies heavily on the recommendation of the Probation Department, they lean on the top end of the guidelines and give as many enhancements as possible, and they get really creative in this area. The judge can deviate up or down, as long as they can justify their decision.
One of the ways Judge Snow reduced one of my enhancements, was by not considering me a "sophisticated criminal", because all my transactions were face-to-face for cash. If Freeman was doing transactions to a church with a bank and then sending those people bitcoin, that could easily qualify as "sophisticated". My belief was, that as long as I was not dealing with the banking system, there wasn't much they could do about it. What I did not factor into that, was that the Government would introduce an illegal element into the transaction and that is how they got me. My greed, love of the concept of Bitcoin, and loathing of the Government and its agents got the best of me. The Government said Freeman was using the banks and that is where the wire fraud comes in.
I was charged with money laundering, there is no "Mens Rea" which means no actual crime needs to exist. All that needs to exist, for a crime to be committed, is the belief that there is an illegal element. That will be up to the jury to decide. I am guessing the Government will provide a great deal of evidence that will convince the jury to believe the Government, as they did in my case.
I would like to believe that I am wrong here, I am coming from a place of knowing the system from the inside. If all this isn't enough, they sent a Government agent to do an illegal transaction with Freeman, just like they did with me, which is a slam dunk money laundering charge and all they need is one charge to stick, for many of the group, to do an extended stay at one of their exclusive, resort facilities.
You can follow Morpheus on Twitter @Morpheus2011