After a series of delays that have plagued his case since he was first indicted in April 2019, Reggie Fowler was supposed to be sentenced on Sept. 13. (His sentencing was originally scheduled for Aug. 30.)
This Tuesday, a Manhattan District Judge was to decide how many years the 63-year-old Fowler, who is charged with bank fraud, money laundering, and running an unlicensed money transmitting business, would spend behind bars. Likely, the rest of his life, given bank fraud alone carries a max imprisonment of 30 years. This would have meant that Fowler was enjoying his last weekend as a free man.
But on a Saturday night — three days before sentencing — Fowler’s lawyer Ed Sapone wrote to Judge Andrew Carter asking for a six-month adjournment. Sapone said that he (not his client) has been ill and still needs time to gather material relevant to the sentencing: [letter]
“I recognize that this is an unusually lengthy adjournment request. I have been suffering with a serious medical condition that is requiring invasive medical treatments. In addition, a significant amount of information and material relevant to an analysis under 18 U.S.C. §3553(a) must be obtained from financial institutions, entities, and individuals located in Europe. The requested adjournment will afford me the opportunity to gather the relevant material and prepare a sentencing submission for the Court’s consideration, while addressing my medical condition.”
Sapone said that US prosecutors were okay with the request.
Fowler is the ex-football guy and Arizona businessman tied to hundreds of millions of dollars of missing Tether and Bitfinex money. He is accused of setting up a network of shadow banks so crypto exchanges could skirt the traditional banking system. Fowler told the banks that the accounts were for his real estate business. He is also accused of funding a sports league with money that wasn’t his.
After fudging a plea deal that likely would have meant only spending five years in custody, Fowler was supposed to head to trial in May 2022. But in another surprising last-minute twist, he decided to enter a guilty plea and throw himself at the mercy of the court.
My only guess as to why he did this is that trials are incredibly expensive and by this time, Fowler was down to one lawyer: Sapone. His previous legal team ditched him in 2021, saying their client owed them $600,000 and had been stringing them along for months with promises of “the check’s in the mail.”
I’ll be curious to hear what Judge Carter says, but given the government has no objection to Sapone’s request for adjournment, I suspect he will say, “sure whatever.” Fowler is currently living in Chandler, Arizona, free on bail.