SEC: Merrill’s guilty plea “not accepted” by court (TelexFree)
This came as a bit of a surprise…
On October 24th James Merrill plead guilty to guilty to eight counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The charges stemmed from Merrill’s involvement in running TelexFree, a $3 billion dollar Ponzi scheme.
As per a Status Report fled by the SEC on October 25th, turns out the court did not accept Merrill’s plea.
As per the SEC’s report;
The Court did not accept Merrill’s guilty plea at that time and has scheduled sentencing for February 2, 2017.
The scheduling of a sentencing hearing to me suggests the plea has been accepted, otherwise how can you sentence someone who hasn’t been found guilty (via plea or otherwise)?
Perhaps one of our more legally minded readers can explain?
The SEC’s report also provides the current situation on Carlos Wanzeler, Merrill’s partner in crime.
The other criminal defendant, Carlos Wanzeler, fled to Brazil upon learning of the federal charges filed against him where he remains.
There is currently still a federal warrant for his arrest.
As pointed out by Patrick Pretty, Merrill’s guilty plea compels him to fully cooperate with Brazilian authorities.
If Brazil’s Federal Police wish to ask him about TelexFree’s involvement in wire fraud and an underlying conspiracy, James Merrill is required to provide a “complete and truthful proffer,” according to the terms of his plea agreement with U.S. prosecutors in Massachusetts.
It’s no secret that Brazilian authorities are building a case against Wanzeler. After Merrill’s plea is formally accepted and he’s sentenced, I suspect we’ll see action taken against Wanzeler over the next year or so.
Whether he’s ultimately prosecuted in Brazil or the US remains to be seen.
Footnote: Our thanks to Don@ASDUpdates for providing a copy of the SEC’s Status Report, filed October 25th.