No Early Release For Ailing Israel

Aug 8 2014 | 4:30am ET

When she sentenced hedge fund fraudster Samuel Israel to 20 years in prison six years ago, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon knew exactly what she was doing—and she isn’t having doubts.

McMahon has rejected Israel’s bid for an early release from the 22 years she sentenced him to—the extra two years were for bail-jumping. Israel argued that the Federal Bureau of Prisons wasn’t adequately treating his medical ailments and that he suffered a “near-death experience.” 

McMahon, who Israel’s lawyers once accused of being prejudiced against their client, once again wasn’t buying. She ruled that, even if Israel’s claims were true, they were no valid reason for getting out of jail, and that he waited too long to file his claim anyway.

Even if both of those factors weren’t an issue, McMahon wrote, she still wouldn’t free the Bayou Group founder.

“The driving consideration for the court in sentencing defendant to 20 years in prison was that he was the mastermind behind a $450 million Ponzi scheme,” she wrote. “I may have taken Mr. Israel’s medical needs into account when I gave him as little as 240 months; I assuredly would never have given him less, regardless of my perception of the quality of the BOP medical care.”

McMahon said that if Israel wishes to challenge that care, he must do so in North Carolina, where he is serving his sentence, and not in her Manhattan courtroom.


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