Matthew Goettsche was a key figure behind BitClub Network, a $722 million dollar Ponzi scheme.

Following Goettsche’s arrest in 2019 he pled not guilty. Goettsche was deemed a flight risk though and ordered into custody.

Following failed plea agreement negotiations, Goettsche appealed his detention and a $20 million bond was set in December 2020.

Goettsche satisfied his bail amount and was released to home incarceration.

Almost two years on and Goettsche is struggling with his release conditions. With tens of millions in ill-gotten gains still in play, Goettsche has asked a court for freedom.

*cue world’s smallest violin orchestra*

Facing the consequences of his actions isn’t just impacting Goettsche. He is required to be in the presence of a third-party custodian at all times, which he clams is “immensely burdensome”.

Mr. Goettsche’s wife, mother, and mother-in-law … have daily coordination of schedules to be home with Mr. Goettsche.

Also “burdensome” is Goettsche not being able to use the internet, computers or live of rental income.

On September 21st Goettsche filed a motion, requesting his release conditions be changed to:

  • curfew between 6pm to 8am;
  • only requiring a third-party custodian if he leaves his residence (restricted to Colorado);
  • full access to internet and computers, on the proviso Goettsche doesn’t access or transfer cryptocurrency; and
  • the release of rental income, currently held in escrow

Goettsche cites the effective measures in place to deter him from fleeing, and the fact that he hasn’t fleed, as reasons to relax said effective measures.

Mr. Goettsche has been out on pretrial release without incident for over twenty months under significant and highly restrictive conditions based on the Government’s concerns of risk of flight that have been proven to be unfounded.

Goettsche insists that, irrespective of what restrictions the court places on him, he could flee at any time if he chose to.

Time has proven that the government was flatly wrong that no bail conditions would reasonably ensure Mr. Goettsche’s appearance.

Mr. Goettsche has neither fled nor violated a single bail condition or modification. Indeed, over these twenty months on release, the concerns the government articulated throughout the detention, bail, and appeal process have proven to be without merit.

Goettsche also compares himself to co-defendant Joby Weeks’, who far less restrictive release conditions.

Co-Defendant Joby Weeks is currently on curfew with the consent of Pretrial Services and no objection from the government.

He is permitted to go to family events, family gatherings, religious services, and family residences within Colorado, provided he is accompanied by a third-party custodian and provides advance notice to Pretrial Services.

The primary difference between Weeks and Goettshche is, of course, Weeks has pled guilty. He also doesn’t have access to anywhere near the amount of financial resources Goettsche does.

Goettsche claims the proposed changes will

(i) to augment Mr. Goettsche’s ability to prepare his defense at trial by enabling him easier access to discovery related to his case;

(ii) to ease the extreme burden placed on Mr. Goettsche’s third-party custodians, who are required to be in his presence at all times, despite his electronic monitoring bracelet;

(iii) to afford a reasonable degree of normalcy for his children; and

(iv) to provide Mr. Goettsche with available cash and assets to pay for his family’s day-to-day living expenses and attorney’s fees and expenses.

Goettsche not having a trial date comes down to two things; COVID-19 delays and the case against him being enormous.

The volume of discovery is tremendous, and it is believed that a substantial volume of supplemental discovery is forthcoming.

The way I see it, Goettsche is a flight risk as long as he intends to fight his case. I’m not suggesting Goettsche be denied the right to defend himself in court – but BitClub Network was a $722 million dollar Ponzi scheme. This isn’t some milk bar robbery.

Including Weeks, three BitClub Network Defendants have plead guilty. They are scheduled to be sentenced in March 2023.

Goettsche’s partner in crime and fourth co-defendant, Russ Medlin, is holed up in Indonesia on child sex charges.

Realistically Goettsche is unlikely to prevail at trial. It’s not like there was any ambiguity to BitClub Network; it was your typical crypto mining themed Ponzi theme.

However long it takes, Goettsche is likely to be convicted and sentenced to a lengthy stint in prison.

As long as that’s the expected outcome, he remains a flight risk.

The practical effect here would be that Mr. Goettsche could remain at home while his wife can handle her parenting responsibilities and run routine errands without having to call another third-party custodian over to the house.

That Goettsche’s family has been dragged into the fallout of his scamming isn’t the court’s problem or the DOJ’s.

Both Pretrial Services and the DOJ have opposed to Goettsche’s requested motions. At time of publication though neither party has filed a response.

A hearing on Goettsche’s motion has been scheduled for October 5th.

 

Update 27th October 2022 – I don’t have an update on Goettsche’s motion but, as per a filed joint application, Goettsche trial has been continued till January 13th, 2023.

“Voluminous discovery” and a potential settlement (plea deal) are cited reasons for the delay.