NY Art Dealer "Helly" Nahmad to Spend a Year in Prison; Angry with Legal Council - The Jewish Voice
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Monday, July 4, 2022

NY Art Dealer “Helly” Nahmad to Spend a Year in Prison; Angry with Legal Council

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Hillel “Helly” Nahmad will serve one year in prison for admitting he was the head of a multimillion dollar gambling ring
Hillel “Helly” Nahmad will serve one year in prison for admitting he was the head of a multimillion dollar gambling ring
Hillel “Helly” Nahmad was sentenced to a year and a day in prison after admitting he was the head of a multimillion dollar gambling ring which catered to celebrities, sports stars and millionaires alike. Nahmad, 35, the son of billionaire art dealer David Nahmad, had asked for probation, saying he wanted to operate his Manhattan gallery and teach art to underprivileged children from the Bronx and Brooklyn.

U.S. prosecutors argued Nahmad deserved a harsher sentence because he pleaded guilty to being a leader and participating in a high-stakes gambling network that laundered more than $100 million in proceeds. They sought a prison term of one year to 18 months. Nahmad acknowledged during his plea in November 2013 that he was the leader , organizer and the primary source of financing for the gaming business and was therefore entitled to a substantial share of the scheme’s profits.

“I am ashamed,” Nahmad told U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan yesterday before the sentence was imposed. “I have learned a hard, humiliating lesson, a humbling one. I no longer gamble. I work harder than ever in my art business, in the hope of restoring my good name.”

Judge Furman said he was “stunned” by the request of Nahmad’s defense team, saying, “to sentence him to something he professes to love and allow his family’s wealth to bail him out would not be punishment. It would not promote respect for the law, it would breed contempt for the law.” The judge said he was troubled by a secretly recorded call made by U.S. investigators in which Nahmad can be heard saying he would sell a Raoul Dufy painting at a price that was inflated by $50,000 and that he would split a $25,000 profit with another member of the gambling ring. Nahmad can be heard bragging that he was “raping” the buyer for the profit.

The judge ordered Nahmad to pay a $30,000 fine and said he had to surrender to U.S. prison officials on or by June 16. Furman granted defense attorney Benjamin Brafman’s request that the judge recommend Nahmad serve his time at the Federal Correctional Institution at Otisville, New York. In addition to the fine, Nahmad was to forfeit $6.4 million and all rights to the Dufy painting titled “Carnaval of Nice”.

To date, 28 defendants have pleaded guilty in the case and two have entered deferred prosecution agreements with the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. According to the feds, most of the defendants were born in the former Soviet Union and regularly traveled to Russia and Ukraine. The alleged second-in-command of the enterprise (Vadim Trincher, age 52) is based in New York, where he oversees a high-stakes illegal sports-betting operation that caters to oligarchs living in Russia and Ukraine. He is said to be a dual-citizen of the U.S. and Israel, and is a well-known poker champ.

Nahmad was arrested for his involvement in two gambling rings one involving Trincher who helped operate an international sports book for wealthy Russians and laundered tens of millions of dollars from Russia and Ukraine through Cyprus to the U.S., prosecutors said. Trincher was sentenced to five years in prison by Furman The other ring was run by Nahmad and Trincher’s son, Illya Trincher of Beverly Hills, California, and was a high-stakes gambling operation for millionaires and billionaires, according to the government. Illya Trincher pleaded guilty to gambling charges in November .

Molly Bloom dubbed the “poker princess” and sister of famous Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom was given a reprieve from Judge Furman. After expressing sincere remorse and stating “She had learned her lesson” Furman sentenced Bloom to probation and 200 hours of community service. Prosecutors had said that though she was involved she was not considered a leader in the formation of the ring.

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