Plea deal for Wise will mean prison |

Plea deal for Wise will mean prison

Tim Mutrie

Confessed embezzler Michael R. Wise and the U.S. District Attorney’sOffice are close to reaching a plea agreement that will ultimatelymean prison time for Wise, the former president and CEO of Aspen-basedCornerstone Private Capital, LLC.Wise appeared in Denver’s U.S. District Court Monday afternoonand waived his right to be indicted by a grand jury, accordingto Dick Weatherbee, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’sOffice. Following Wise’s waiver of indictment, the U.S. District Attorney’sOffice filed a six-page document which closely details his allegedcrimes and charges Wise with two counts of wire fraud, Weatherbeesaid. In the initial complaint against Wise, filed by FBI SpecialAgent Ken Jackson on Feb. 3, authorities alleged that Wise committedjust one count of wire fraud. Wise will next appear in Denver’s U.S. District Court on April2 for a change of plea hearing.”[Wise] will be in front of U.S. District Court Judge [WalkerMiller] on April 2 and it’s highly probable that he will be enteringguilty pleas on both of those counts,” said Gary Lozow, Wise’sattorney. “Then the government will do a presentence report, wherethe probation department looks at all the facts of the case andmakes a recommendation, and then [Wise] will face a judgment dayprobably eight to ten weeks later.””You can assume that there are plea negotiations ongoing,” saidWeatherbee. “Generally, when there’s a plea hearing, there’s aplea agreement in the works.””This particular type of case is measured by what they call federalsentencing guidelines,” Lozow continued. “So there isn’t a questionof whether or not he’s going to jail, but just how long he’s goingto jail. The bottom line is that these guidelines dictate sentencing:There isn’t a place for Mr. Wise to go home – he won’t – he willgo to jail. The question is how much time.”By waiving indictment Monday, Wise acknowledged that a grand jurywould have returned an indictment based on the evidence againsthim anyway. The waiver of indictment further suggests that Wiseintends to continue to cooperate with prosecutors in the case,as he first indicated in a Sept. 29 letter to local authorities.In the confessional letter, Wise admitted to “misappropriating”some $6 million of his lenders’ and investors’ monies toward hisown personal and business obligations.Weatherbee said he could not release a copy of the new chargesagainst Wise until they are officially certified by the court.That may occur today.However, he said, the information alleges that Wise’s scheme affected44 investors, for a total amount of more than $8.7 million. Furthermore,it states that Wise converted more than $4.4 million of that lumpsum toward his own use and benefit, Weatherbee said.Each count of wire fraud carries a penalty of no more than fiveyears in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, plus restitution.Wise remains free on a personal recognizance bond. His Starwoodhome and other assets were placed in a receivership to repay investorsaffected by his dealings

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