Sunday, February 21, 2016

'Who's Got My $100K+ Real Estate Deposit?" Disgraced Ex-Cop Suspects Feds Executed Drug Forfeiture Snatch Shortly Before Being Arrested; His Attorney Acknowledges That Real Estate Broker Currently Facing Charges Of Looting Escrow Account May Have Pocketed The Cash

On St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, The Virgin Islands Daily News reports:
  • Former V.I. Police Sgt. Jerome Blyden wants to know what happened to thousands of dollars he had paid towards the purchase of property before his 2009 arrest by federal agents.

    Blyden, who spent five years in prison after being convicted of trying to kill a man, says he believes federal authorities seized more than $100,000 he had paid into a real estate escrow account in the months leading up to his arrest in October 2009. “They claimed that I tried to use drug money to buy a house,” he said last week. “When they seized the money they also put a forfeiture clause in the charges.”

    He argues that authorities would not have included the forfeiture clause if they hadn’t put a hold on the funds.

    Blyden, who lives on St. Thomas, has repeatedly filed motions asking the court to help him recover the missing money.

    However, an October ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller says that “the court is not persuaded that the government is still in possession of any other property seized from Blyden and sought in Blyden’s various motions for the return of property.”

    The order noted that “the government represented that it did not have either the $93,000 or the $12,500 that Blyden contends was in an escrow account.”

    Blyden’s arrest and conviction made headlines, with allegations of illegal narcotics distribution, unlawful gambling related to dogfighting and acts of violence, including a May 24, 2004, shooting. Some charges were later dropped by the court, and he was acquitted of all other charges except assault with a dangerous weapon.

    The money Blyden paid for the real estate also links him with one of the top territory crime stories of 2010 — the indictment and flight of real estate agent Rosemary Sauter-Frett.

    Sauter-Frett is accused of fleeing the Virgin Islands to avoid prosecution for charges that she embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from customers of her Re/Max Dreams Properties real estate firm.

    Sauter-Frett controlled the escrow account into which Blyden’s money was deposited, Sauter-Frett controlled the escrow account into which Blyden’s money was deposited, and a post-conviction letter to him from his attorney, Treston Moore, mentions the possibility that Sauter-Frett absconded with the funds in a letter filed as an exhibit in one of Blyden’s motions.

    Referring to his conversations with federal authorities on Blyden’s behalf, Moore wrote: “I asked about everything else and they agreed to check for more materials on their end, but I am also working with Assistant U.S. Attorney (Nolan) Paige to see if they got your down payment before Ms. Sauter absconded with all of her real estate clients’ escrow funds. You better hope they did since she still hasn’t been found!

    Sauter-Frett was captured in 2014, living near San Diego, and she is now back in the territory, free on bail and awaiting trial. She could not be reached for comment about Blyden’s funds. Moore did not respond to questions about Blyden’s money.

    Blyden accepts that some might assume Sauter-Frett took his money instead of it being seized by the feds, but he said it doesn’t make sense to him because of the money laundering charge and the federal forfeiture allegation.

    “You can’t ignore the fact that when I was charged, a forfeiture stipulation was included,” he said.
For more, see Disgraced cop wants to know who has his money (Attorney raised possibility it disappeared with Sauter-Frett).

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