Jailers interrupt Ghislaine Maxwell’s sleep every 15 minutes to check if she’s still breathing, lawyer says
Ghislaine Maxwell attends day 1 of the 4th Annual WIE Symposium at Center 548 on September 20, 2013 in New York City.
Laura Cavanaugh | Getty Images
A lawyer for Ghislaine Maxwell on Tuesday complained to a federal judge that the accused accomplice of sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein is being “overmanaged” in jail, which includes having her sleep interrupted every 15 minutes by guards with a flashlight checking to see whether she’s still breathing.
Maxwell’s lawyer also said that the British socialite is not being given enough time in the Brooklyn, New York, federal jail to review documents related to her criminal case and to “prepare the defense of her life.”
The complaint comes 15 months after Maxwell’s former boyfriend, Epstein, died from what has been officially ruled a suicide by hanging in another federal jail in New York City, where the wealthy money manager was being held on child sex trafficking charges.
Weeks before he died, Epstein was found on the floor of his jail cell semiconscious with marks on his neck, in what was his apparent first suicide bid.
Two guards at that jail have been criminally charged with trying to cover up their failure to monitor him and other inmates on the day of his death.
Maxwell is currently in 14-day quarantine after possible exposure to a jail staffer with Covid-19, prosecutors revealed on Monday. Prosecutors have said she tested negative for the coronavirus.
Her lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim in a letter to Manhattan federal Judge Alison Nathan on Tuesday, said that Maxwell was threatened with seven more days in quarantine if she declined to undergo two nasal swabs testing her for the coronavirus.
Sternheim complained that Maxwell was ordered to remove a Covid-protection mask for “an in-mouth inspection,” and initially was not given soap or a toothbrush when she began quarantine.
The lawyer also said that medical staff has ceased doing daily checks on Maxwell, and have “neither informed her of results of the COVID tests” nor responded to her question of what she should do if she becomes symptomatic.
And despite the fact that no staffer supposedly is permitted to enter her cell in a Brooklyn, New York, jail during her quarantine, “an unidentified man entered to take photographs and a guard entered to search” that cell recently, Sternheim wrote Manhattan federal court Judge Alison Nathan.
Sternheim’s letter says that Maxwell is a “non-violent, exemplary pretrial detainee with no criminal history,” or history of violence, mental health issues or suicidal ideation.
Despite that, the lawyer wrote, Maxwell is “overmanaged” in jail under conditions that are more restrictive than those for terrorists, murderers and other dangerous and at-risk inmates held in the most restrictive settings in the federal prison system.
Sternheim asked that Nathan order the jail’s warden, Heriberto Tellez, to report directly to the judge and Maxwell’s legal team about her “conditions of detention,” as opposed to relying on second-hand accounts by prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The letter comes a day after those prosecutors wrote Nathan to inform her of Maxwell’s quarantine, and that Maxwell herself so far had tested negative for Covid.
Maxwell, 58, is being held without bail in the Metropolitan Detention Center on charges related to her alleged recruitment and grooming of several underage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein in the 1990s.
She was arrested in July, almost exactly a year to the day after Epstein’s own arrest on federal charges, at a million-dollar hideaway in New Hampshire.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty in the case, and is due to go on trial next year.
Epstein, who had been a friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, as well as with Britain’s Prince Andrew, pleaded guilty in 2008 to Florida state crimes, which included paying an underage girl for sexual services. He served 13 months in jail in that case.
Last year, Trump’s then-Labor secretary, Alex Acosta, resigned after heavy criticism of his decision in 2007 to cut a non-prosecution deal with Epstein for federal crimes when Acosta was the U.S. Attorney for Miami exchange for his agreement to plead guilty to state charges.
The letter from prosecutors on Monday included details of Maxwell’s treatment in jail, which include being allowed out of her cell three times per week during quarantine for up to 30 minutes each time, and being allowed to use an email system to communicate with relatives and her lawyers.
Sternheim, in her own letter, wrote, “the letter presents an incomplete picture of Ms. Maxwell’s conditions of confinement.”
“The government highlights what Ms. Maxwell is permitted but not what she is denied: equal treatment accorded other inmates in general population,” the defense lawyer wrote.
“Ms. Maxwell has spent the [entirety] of her pretrial detention in de facto solitary confinement under the most restrictive conditions where she is excessively and invasively searched and is monitored 24 hours per day,” Sternheim said. “In addition to camera surveillance in her cell, a supplemental camera follows her movement when she is permitted to leave her isolation cell and is focused on Ms. Maxwell and counsel during in-person legal visits.”
“And despite non-stop in-cell camera surveillance, Ms. Maxwell’s sleep is disrupted every 15 minutes when she is awakened by a flashlight to ascertain whether she is breathing.”
The lawyer said that jail officials conced that they are “unable to place her in general population for her safety and the security of the institution but [fail] to explain why she is deprived of all other opportunities provided to general population inmates
Sternheim said that the claim by prosecutors that Maxwell “‘continues to have more time to review her discovery than any other inmate at the MDC, even while in quarantine’ gives the unfair impression that she is being given a perquisite.”
“However, given the voluminous discovery in this case, the most recent production alone being1.2 million documents, the time accorded Ms. Maxwell remains inadequate for her to review and prepare the defense of her life,” the lawyer wrote.
Shortly after Sternheim’s letter was filed on the court docket, Nathan ordered the lawyer and prosecutors to meet and to confer on Sternheim’s request that the jail’s warden directly address Maxwell’s concerns about hte conditions of her detention. The judge also told the parties to send her a status report within the next week.
Alleged Jeffrey Epstein procurer Ghislaine Maxwell in jail quarantine after possible coronavirus exposure
Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, speaks at a news conference on oceans and sustainable development at the United Nations in New York, June 25, 2013 in this screengrab taken from United Nations TV file footage.
UNTV | Reuters
Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite charged with abetting Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls, is in quarantine in a New York City federal jail after possible exposure to a worker there who tested positive for the coronavirus, prosecutors said Monday.
Maxwell tested negative for Covid-19 using a rapid test last Wednesday, prosecutors wrote in their filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where she was indicted this year.
“As with any other quarantined inmate, the defendant will remain in quarantine for fourteen days, at which point she will be tested again for COVID-19,” prosecutors wrote in their letter to the judge in Maxwell’s case.
“If that test is negative, she will then be released from quarantine.”
Prosecutors said that a staff member assigned to work in the area of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Maxwell is housed, tested positive for the coronavirus last week.
Maxwell, 58, is being held without bail on charges related to her alleged recruitment and grooming of girls for sexual abuse by Epstein, sometimes with her participation, at multiple locations in the mid-1990s.
One of the alleged victims was just 14 years old at the time she was recruited.
Maxwell, who has pleaded not guilty in the case, also is charged with perjury for allegedly falsely denying, while under oath for depositions in a civil lawsuit, her alleged conduct as a procurer for the wealthy money manager.
She and Epstein for years had socialized with famous and wealthy people, including Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, and Britain’s Prince Andrew.
Epstein lowered his profile after pleading guilty to state charges in Florida in 2008, which included paying for sexual services from an underage girl. He served 13 months in jail in that case, but was free for much of that time on work release.
Epstein, 66, was arrested on federal child sex trafficking charges in July 2019 after prosecutors said he abused dozens of young girls from 2002 through 2006.
He died a month later in a federal jail in Manhattan from what authorities have said was a suicide by hanging.
Maxwell was arrested last July at a million-dollar hideaway she had purchased in New Hampshire.
In their court filing Monday, prosecutors said while Maxwell is in quarantine she “may shower, make personal phone calls, and use the CorrLinks email system.”
“In addition, the defendant will continue to be permitted to make legal calls every day for up to three hours per day. These calls will take place in a room where the defendant is alone and where no MDC staff can hear her communications with counsel,” prosecutors wrote.
“On November 18, 2020, the Government provided the MDC with a laptop for the defendant to use to review [material for her upcoming trial],” the letter said.
“During quarantine, the defendant has been and will continue to be permitted to use that laptop in her isolation cell to review her discovery for thirteen hours per day.”
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on September 08, 2020 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday the launch of a new online training platform which will enable unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers weathering the Covid-19 pandemic to learn new skills, earn certificates, and advance their careers at no cost. The new tool will provide access to nearly 4,000 online programs taught by leading professors and industry professionals on Coursera, with a focus on high-growth and in-demand sectors like advanced manufacturing, technology, and health care, among others.
“This new training platform will be key in this effort by ensuring unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers are not left behind by providing access to the resources and training they need to get back on their feet,” Governor Cuomo said in a press release.
The new course offerings are provided through a partnership between the New York State Department of Labor and Coursera, an online learning platform. The partnership will save New York millions of dollars over the next few years while providing free job skills training to New Yorkers. New Yorkers can request a free account on the New York State Department of Labor website.
The nearly 4,000 courses available through Coursera are taught by leading professors and industry educators and cover topics ranging from mechanical engineering and project management to technology and data science skills. Many of these programs provide a pathway to professional certificates and other certifications that can help New Yorkers elevate their careers or compete in a new industry. These include courses on project management, cybersecutiry, marketing in a digital world, how to manage a remote team, Google It Support Professional Certification, and an introduction to Apple iOS app development.
The state will also partner with New York-based businesses to encourage their employees to utilize this free learning opportunity.
Since the launch of the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative, more than 1 million workers have enrolled in over 7 million courses to gain critical skills for jobs of the future.
During the pandemic, Coursera — which ranked No. 4 on the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 list — has helped more than 330 government agencies across 70 countries and 30 U.S. states and cities support impacted workers with job-relevant skills training. Since the launch of the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative, more than 1 million workers have enrolled in over 7 million courses to gain critical skills for jobs of the future. Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative is modeled after a highly successful initiative that the company launched in March 2020, which offered free courses to over 3,700 colleges and universities that closed their campuses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In just six weeks, that initiative launched 6,400 programs for 2,800 colleges and universities around the world, helping enroll 475,000 displaced students in 1.1 million courses.
Governor Cuomo’s announcement is one example of how governments, colleges, institutions and employers are reimagining higher education and the reskilling of the workforce during the pandemic, which has become a critical priority.
“New York has taken a new approach to workforce development and it aims to help New Yorkers acquire the skills they need for the jobs of the future,” said Leah Belsky, Coursera’s chief enterprise officer at CNBC’s virtual Disruptor 50 Summit on Wednesday, who noted the company saw a 450% increase in traffic to its site since the pandemic began.
During the Covid period, when so many people are financially strapped and see the shift to remote work, they are keen on upskilling. “We see a focus on shorter-term learning in ways that can advance their careers,” Belsky said. “There is now laser focus among consumers on how any degree can help them get a better job.”
Rachel Carlson, co-founder and CEO of Guild Education — which ranked No. 45 on the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 list — sees the same trend. “What’s needed by more than half of the American workforce is a pathway to getting a fulfilling middle-class career,” she said at the Disruptor 50 Summit. “More employers are recognizing this, and they are offering full-time employees and furloughed employees access to online skills training and education. Many like Walmart, Discover Financial and Chipotle are paying for this education for their workers through Guild Education. It’s a way for them to retain and recruit talent.”
The transformation in higher education is profound. “Americans are redefining the value of the traditional liberal arts degree. In the future, I believe there will be more modular learning where you can tack on technical skills,” Carlson said.
According to Belsky, “There will also be more shared resources among universities and colleges where they share faculty through online offerings– especially internationally in markets where there is not enough access to education.”
She also believes that after the pandemic the majority of students will not just go back on campus. “Instead, you will see a blended approach — a percentage of courses will be given online, others will be offline,” Belsy said. “There will be more pressure on universities to provide relevant job skills.”
New York City will close schools for in-person learning to curb Covid outbreak, Mayor de Blasio says
A student is seen on the steps of the closed public school PS 139 in the Ditmas Park neighborhood in Brooklyn of New York, the United States, Oct. 8, 2020.
Michael Nagle | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
New York City’s schools will move to remote learning only as the city tries to tamp down a growing number of coronavirus cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
The shuttering of the nation’s largest school system had been anticipated for days after de Blasio told parents on Friday to have a plan in place in case the city decides to close schools for in-person learning, NBC News New York reported. Remote learning will begin Thursday, the mayor said in breaking the news over Twitter.
“We’re in the middle of something really tough right now,” de Blasio said at a press briefing Monday. “We have put health and safety first, and we will put health and safety first.”
The mayor said the city would close classrooms if the citywide positivity rate, or the percentage of positive tests, hits an average of 3%, which it reached on Wednesday.
On a call with reporters Friday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the city has the authority to close schools if local officials think it’s appropriate.
Mayor de Blasio was forced to delay the start of in-person learning twice earlier this fall after union leaders objected to the lack of health measures to protect teachers, students and staff from the coronavirus.
The schools will shutter their classrooms even as indoor dining at restaurants and the city’s gyms, which experts say are at high risk for spreading virus, remain open at a reduced capacity. De Blasio has said that the city would try to safely reopening the schools as soon as possible if they were closed due to the outbreak.
“The problem is not coming from the schools. It’s coming from the bars, the restaurants, the gyms and the living room family spread,” Cuomo said on a call with reporters on Friday. “So if in fact you do close schools, I would urge the mayor and all involved to open them as quickly as possible.”
Cuomo has suggested de Blasio try to allow some classrooms to reopen by implementing a school-by-school closing system. In other parts of the state, a school could return for in-person learning after remaining closed for at least four days to allow for adequate cleaning and then would be required to test students, faculty and staff before they re-enter, Cuomo said at a news briefing Wednesday.
However, there’s not enough testing capacity to allow that “test out” system in New York City, he said.
This is breaking news. Please check back later for updates.
The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to block New York’s Covid-19 restrictions on houses of worship, saying the rules unfairly target religion.
The group is challenging an executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on October 6 that limits attendance at churches to 10 people in the state’s “red” zones, and 25 in “orange” zones.
Cuomo’s order, the diocese wrote in a filing, “expressly singles out ‘houses of worship’ by that name for adverse treatment relative to secular businesses, and does so in a way that is not narrowly tailored to any compelling government interest, in direct violation of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.”
The Roman Catholic diocese, which operates in Brooklyn and Queens, asked the justices to step in while it pursues its appeals in the lower courts. If the justices do not do so, it said, thousands of parishioners “will continue to be deprived of their core Free Exercise rights on a daily basis.”
The Supreme Court has rejected similar challenges by religious groups in California, in May, and Nevada, in July. In both cases, the decisions split narrowly by 5-4 margins, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court’s four liberals. Those decisions came before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September.
In the California case, known as South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, Roberts wrote that matters of public health were better left to the political branches.
“The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement,” he wrote. “Our Constitution principally entrusts ‘[t]he safety and the health of the people’ to the politically accountable officials of the States ‘to guard and protect.'”
In contrast, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, wrote that “The Church and its congregants simply want to be treated equally to comparable secular businesses.”
“California already trusts its residents and any number of businesses to adhere to proper social distancing and hygiene practices. The State cannot ‘assume the worst when people go to worship but assume the best when people go to work or go about the rest of their daily lives in permitted social settings,” he wrote.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, ordered houses of worship to limit their congregations to either 100 or 25%, whichever was lower.
The Nevada case, brought by Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, a church located in a rural part of the state, prompted even sharper dissents from the court’s conservative bloc.
“The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges,” Gorsuch wrote. “But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”
The Nevada challenge concerned a 50-person limit on houses of worship. Some other secular businesses, including casinos and restaurants, had a different limit, of 50% of their capacity.
There is reason to suspect the latest challenge could be more successful.
The court has not issued a decision in such a case since the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett, a conservative, is expected to shift the bench to the right.
In its filing, the diocese notes that secular businesses are not under the same restrictions as houses of worship. In red zones, the group wrote, essential businesses that are allowed to remain open include “everything from supermarkets to pet stores, huge hardware stores to brokers’ offices.” .
“In ‘orange’ zones, even the vast majority of nonessential businesses, including department stores, can remain open without limitation—yet churches cannot,” the group added.
The group also cited Cuomo’s comments about clusters of the virus spreading among Orthodox Jewish communities around the city.
Thursday’s filing was submitted to Justice Stephen Breyer, who has jurisdiction over emergency appeals stemming from New York, but will likely be considered by the full court.
Two lower courts, including the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, have rejected the religious organization’s effort to block the state’s Covid-19 restrictions while it pursues its case.
The case comes as coronavirus infections are on the rise in New York, though they remain at a lower level than other parts of the country. On Wednesday, Cuomo ordered new restrictions on dining, bars and gyms.
The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the Supreme Court challenge.
Sign advertising apartments for rent in the Upper East Side in New York City.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Manhattan real estate may be turning the corner, as new rentals increased for the first time in over a year and sales activity started to creep higher after the Covid collapse.
A big drop in rental prices appears to be luring new, younger renters back to the city, even as office workers and wealthy New Yorkers remain in the suburbs and more rural resort towns. New leases in Manhattan increased 33% in October, making it the best October in 12 years, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel.
The typical rent paid for apartments including discounts, or the median net effective rent, fell 19% from a year ago to $2,868 — a record decline. Smaller apartments, which cater to younger renters, fell the most. The price of studio apartments was down 21%, and one-bedroom apartment prices dropped 19%.
“I think we’re at a tipping point where the consumer starts coming back to the city,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel. “Sellers are slowly recalibrating what the values are, and the lower pricing is beginning to bring more people in.”
Manhattan real estate still faces major challenges. There were 16,145 unrented apartments in October — an all-time high. The vacancy rate, which typically hovers around 2%, is now over 6%. All those empty apartments mean landlords will have to continue to lower rents and offer incentives to lure people back to the city.
On average, landlords are offering more than two months of free rent, and over 60% of new leases in October had some form of incentive or discount, according to the report. Apartments are sitting on the market an average of 33 days, compared with 26 days a year ago.
Yet even the sales market in Manhattan is beginning to stir after a dismal spring and summer. Brokers say the election and recent news about a vaccine have unleashed a surge in showings, inquiries and interest from buyers. Sales contracts between Nov. 1 and Nov. 10 jumped 21%, according to Garrett Derderian, director of market intelligence for brokerage firm Serhant.
While prices in the sales market have not fallen nearly as much as the rental market, brokers say even a 5% to 10% discount on sales prices is enough to attract buyers who have been waiting for a better entry point into Manhattan real estate for years.
“The market may now have reached a turning point, where the uncertainty surrounding the presidential election is behind us and a possible vaccine is on the horizon,” Derderian said. “Many buyers who have been watching from the sidelines as prices declined and negotiations increased seem poised to jump into the market, and many already have, understanding once a vaccine is found, the market will shift again.”
Manhattan could still have a tough winter ahead with more virus cases and companies preferring to keep most of their workforces remote. New York City and New York state face high unemployment and multibillion-dollar budget holes, which will have to be filled with tax increases, service cuts or both — all of which could make the city less attractive to buyers.
And with the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment still over $3,200 — more than twice the national average — Manhattan is still far from affordable for many young renters. Still, experts say the October increases could begin a long, slow recovery for the nation’s largest real estate market.
“A lot will have to happen for New York to come roaring back,” Miller said. “It’s going to be a multiyear process.”
As people navigate the new world, living with coronavirus, divorce rates and domestic violence cases are spiking in the U.S. With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is a fitting time to study the implications the coronavirus pandemic is having on relationships and couples. With increased stress comes increased conflict, and we are certainly seeing this play out in the extreme.
According to data collected by Legal Templates, the number of people looking into divorce was 34% higher from March through June 2020 compared to those same months in 2019. During quarantine, interest in separation peaked on April 13, just about 2-3 weeks after lockdowns began in many states.
Sadly, along with rising divorce rates, we are also seeing a sharp increase in domestic violence. A Women’s Aid report found that 61% of women living with their abusers in the United Kingdom reported abuse that had worsened during lockdown. A Massachusetts hospital found a significant year-over-year jump in intimate partner violence cases who sought emergency care during the Covid-19 pandemic’s first few weeks. Unsurprisingly, nearly all the victims were women.
Matrimonial attorney, Jacqueline Harounian, states that “in the New York area, it is being widely reported that there has been a sharp increase in use of substances and alcohol, as well as a rise in mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Combined with economic uncertainty, stress from remote schooling and remote working, it is no wonder that family and marital relationships are deteriorating behind closed doors. Parents are experiencing conflict, whether they are married, separated or divorced. In a growing number of cases, there is domestic assault.”
The stress factor
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily lives up in the air, forcing big decisions and life changes. With schools closed and children partaking in remote learning, parents have been forced into increased involvement in childcare, especially during the day when they might also be working from home. Many people are relocating. Soon, people will have to decide whether or not they are comfortable taking the rushed-through coronavirus vaccine, and if not yet, when? These major life decisions may be bringing to light a difference in parenting styles or values, at large. Some couples may come to find that they are not quite on the same page, leading to marital stress and increased likelihood of conflict.
Isolationism takes a toll
With schools, offices, and places of worship closed or open only in a limited capacity in many areas, the home is quickly becoming the center of our universe. Increased time in our homes is leading to increased isolation, both physically and socially. Many office jobs are only offering work-from-home options for the foreseeable future. Families are relocating out of major cities to find more affordable housing or a larger living space. The housing market is booming in suburban areas, especially for single family homes. According to a report by Realtor.com, average housing prices were up 12.9% this summer compared to last summer. Similarly, home improvement increased drastically, leading to a shortage of lumber. Home Depot recently posted its strongest quarterly sales growth in 20 years.
This all points to less opportunity to see friends, acquaintances, or even strangers. In situations of domestic abuse, this could be dangerous, leaving the victim with less opportunity to ask someone for help, in person.
Economic uncertainty a trigger point
At their highest, jobless claims during the pandemic reached nearly 7 million. Though claims have since decreased, substantially, they remain higher than they were at their peak during the Great Recession in 2009. There has been significant government support, but many people claim not nearly enough has been done to help working Americans, and another stimulus bill is currently being debated by the Senate. This economic uncertainty is contributing to increased stock market volatility.
These factors have led to an increase in depression, alcoholism, violence, and shootings. In times of uncertainty, abusive individuals turn to violence as a tool to maintain power and control.
“Even once stable households are showing the strain of prolonged stress and quarantine. Most American individuals and families are not used to spending so much time together in close quarters. In New York, people across socioeconomic groups — including the affluent — are finding that apartment living is sometimes not conducive to living, working and schooling peacefully in one residence. The uncertainty, lack of routine and poor coping skills are causing increased domestic violence everywhere you look,” Harounian finds.
How can victims of domestic abuse protect themselves, financially?
Get a team. Find a therapist, counselor, or support group where you can share your story and find support to leave. Make sure that this person is a trained domestic violence advocate.
Define your options. Make a list of options, including living with a friend or family member, renting an apartment in a friend’s name or investigating a safe housing option in your community. Be sure to know your legal options and have protection. You will want to understand your options regarding separation, divorce and a restraining order.
Get your finances in order. A main reason why women choose to stay in an abusive relationship is financial dependence.
In a healthy relationship, each partner should have equal control, education and awareness over their finances in order to make the wisest financial decisions for themselves, their relationship and their family. It is important to make a conscious effort to support our loved ones who may be in financially abusive relationships, and raise awareness about this issue.
Experts are bracing for this trend to worsen over the next several months. People will be indoors even more now that seasons have changed and infection rates are rising. If you are the victim of abuse or know someone who is, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit their website at www.thehotline.org.
—By Stacy Francis, CFP, president and CEO of Francis Financial
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.
David Correia, a business partner of Rudy Giuliani’s former associate Lev Parnas, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy and to making false statements to election officials about a donation made to a political action committee that supported President Donald Trump.
Correia, 45, admitted in Manhattan federal court that he conspired with Parnas to defraud investors in their would-be fraud protection business, which was called Fraud Guarantee. The plea hearing was conducted virtually over videoconference and phone lines because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the money raised but not spent on that never-launched company went to Parnas, Correia’s lawyer told a judge.
Correia told a judge that in October 2018 he falsely swore to the accuracy of the contents of a declaration made to the Federal Election Commission because he wanted the FEC to end an investigation that he said he “believed at the time was unwarranted.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Zolkind said that Correia had lied in his FEC affidavit by claiming that Global Energy Producers — a supposedly active company formed by Parnas and co-defendant Igor Fruman — had actually made a $350,000 donation in GEP’s name to the Trump super PAC America First Action.
In fact, Zolkind said, GEP was not an operational business and did not even have a bank account.
Instead, the $350,000 came from a mortgage on property owned by Fruman and was transferred to an account controlled by Parnas, who then funded the donation to the PAC under GEP’s name, according to the prosecutor.
Zolkind said that from 2012 through 2019, Correia and Parnas solicited investments from what eventually became seven people, who each contributed between $200,000 and $500,000 apiece, to fund Fraud Guarantee.
The company purportedly planned to offer insurance against fraud for investors in other ventures.
Fraud Guarantee never became operational, but Correia and Parnas “told the victims that this money was used exclusively for legitimate business,” the prosecutor said.
“This was false,” Zolkind said.
Instead of being used to launch and operate the business, the majority of the investor funds were withdrawn as cash, and sent to personal accounts. Some of that money was used for personal expenses such as for Parnas’ rent and luxury cars, the prosecutor said.
Correia’s sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 8.
He was ordered Thursday to forfeit more than $43,000 in connection with the Fraud Guarantee swindle.
Last month, when a superseding indictment was filed against all four men, FBI Assistant Director Bill Sweeney said of the charges against Correia and Parnas, “We couldn’t say it better ourselves – the behavior alleged today is indeed fraudulent – guaranteed.”
Parnas, Fruman and the fourth co-defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, have all pleaded not guilty in the broader criminal case.
Giuliani, who is Trump’s personal lawyer, was not criminally charged in the case.
But as of last year, Giuliani was known to be under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, whose office he once headed before he became New York mayor for two terms.
Giuliani received $500,000 in 2018 for work for Fraud Guarantee, which he has described as “a combination of business advice and consulting, consistent with what my company does, and legal advice.”
Parnas and Fruman had worked with Giuliani on an effort to collect damaging information about the Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, and about his son Hunter Biden, in connection with the younger Biden’s board position at a Ukrainian natural gas company.
Giuliani in recent weeks has made repeated allegations of wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine and in connection with business in China. Joe Biden denies any wrongdoing.
Both Parnas and Fruman were subpoenaed last year by the House of Representatives for testimony and documents as the House moved toward impeaching Trump.
The president, who was acquitted after a Senate trial, was impeached for withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine as he pressured that nation’s government to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, who at the time was a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.