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Mobtown Beat

In and Out of Court

Shawn Michael Green pleads not guilty to new charges; his mother appeals her sentence

Shawn Michael Green

By Erin Sullivan | Posted 8/12/2009

On July 10, Shawn Michael Green pleaded not guilty--again--to being a drug-trafficking money-launderer. Green's mother, Yolanda Crawley, is already serving time for her part in the alleged drug money-laundering scheme feds say he's part of, as are two of his associates, attorney Rachel Donegan and mortgage broker David Lincoln.

Green remained a federal fugitive for nearly two years after the original 2006 charges were filed against him ("Flight Connections," Mobtown Beat, March 12, 2008). The latest superseding indictment, filed on April 23, four months after Green's arrest in Pennsylvania, tacks on new charges about illegal financial transactions structured to hide the drug-related source of Green's money.

It fleshes out the original case against Green, adding 18 new charges against him and describing in detail how Green conspired with Crawley (who is currently serving two years in prison for her part in Green's money-laundering operation), Lincoln (who received a 15-month sentence for his role in the scheme), and Donegan (who got probation), to fabricate fake incomes to accompany fraudulent home-loan applications. According to the new charges, Green used his mother as a straw purchaser to apply for loans with claims that she made anywhere from $12,000 to $25,000 per month. The charges state that on the applications Crawley said she worked for, among other companies, Platinum Hill Entertainment, purportedly located at 2339 Eutaw Place, Baltimore--the address of an apartment building owned by Green, which has since been confiscated forfeited and auctioned off by the federal authorities. The alleged intent of the scheme was to use drug proceeds to pay off fraudulently obtained high-dollar home loans, building equity in ill-gotten real estate.

In March, more than a month before the superseding indictment was filed, Green appeared in court before Judge Susan Gauvey for an arraignment and detention hearing on the original two charges of drug dealing and money laundering. Prosecutor Kwame Manley argued that the federal government believed that Green was continuing to sell drugs while he was on the lam.

"Your Honor, we know what he was doing during the time he was a fugitive," Manley insisted, according to a court transcript from the hearing. "He was continuing his activities. We had sources tracking him and indicating that he was trying to broker another cocaine deal up in Philadelphia."

Manley points out that Green and his mother owned properties worth more than $4 million despite the fact that her income on various mortgage applications was fictitious and Green was not employed while he was on the run. Green's attorneys, Donald Samuel from Atlanta, Ga., and Robert Simels from New York City (who, in a separate case in New York, is facing federal charges of witness intimidation and obstruction of justice), argued in turn that Green's real-estate transactions were legitimate: They said that during the time Green was a fugitive, he raised money not by drug dealing, but by refinancing various properties and from selling CDs and clothing from the trunk of his car. Samuel said that Green, an owner of the now-defunct clothing store Total Male, owned "a fairly substantial clothing store" and was "actually selling inventory" to support himself after the store closed.

"I don't think literally that means he popped the trunk of his car on the corner of Peachtree and Piedmont, and, you know, sold a couple of shirts there," Samuel said. "I think there was a substantial amount of money actually being earned at the time by selling inventory that remained."

Gauvey ruled during that hearing that Green should remain in detention pending trial because he is a flight risk.

Marcia Murphy, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said she could not comment on the new charges against Green. City Paper left a message with Samuel, whose receptionist said he was in court all week. An e-mail to Simels requesting comment was not returned as of press time.

In other news related to the case against Green, Yolanda Crawley appealed her sentence in October 2008, claiming that the U.S. Attorney's office violated a plea agreement it made with her to recommend that she be given "a sentence at the low end of the advisory range" if Crawley did not commit any further crimes and if she took full responsibility for her role in the Green scheme. "If the defendant otherwise fails in any way to fulfill completely each and every one of her obligations under this agreement," the plea agreement read, then the office would not be obligated to fulfill it.

Crawley, who pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud, claims that the government did not live up to its end of the bargain when it recommended that she receive 30 months--a sentence reserved for someone who refused to take any responsibility for their crimes.

On July 21, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a brief responding to Crawley's claims that insisted that she failed to meet her obligation to take full responsibility for her crimes when she went before a judge. Crawley claimed that she had no knowledge that her son was dealing drugs and that she had no idea what the source of the money was that was used to pay for the real estate she and Green purchased. "Contrary to her representations in the district court, Crawley not only knew about her son's drug activities, but also used his drug money to buy and maintain the $4 million in fraud properties in this scheme," the U.S. Attorney's response to her appeal says.

Murphy says an appeal like Crawley's is not at all uncommon. Her appeal and the U.S. Attorney's Office response will go before a judge, "and we'll go from there."

Crawley's attorney, Jack Rubin, did not have any additional comment on Crawley's appeal.

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Tags: shawn michael green, shadow economy

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