Saturday, March 5, 2022

REPORT: Hunter Biden’s Close Friend Sentenced to Prison for Role in Fraud Scheme

Source: NY Post

Published: February 28, 2022

By: Ben Feuerherd

A former business partner of Hunter Biden was sentenced Monday to more than a year in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud a Native American tribe of some $60 million in bonds. 

The defendant, Devon Archer, was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison by Manhattan Judge Ronnie Abrams, who said the crime was “too serious” to let him just walk. 

“There’s no dispute about the harm caused to real people,” Abrams said, noting that the defrauded tribe, the Oglala Sioux, is one of the poorest in the nation. 

Archer will also have to pay more than $15 million in forfeiture by himself and more than $43 million in restitution with his co-defendants in the case. 

The convicted fraudster has maintained his innocence and intends to appeal the conviction and sentence, his attorney, Matthew Schwartz, said in court Monday. 

In brief statements to Abrams just before Archer was sentenced, he and Schwartz claimed he was taken advantage of by corrupt businessmen who wanted to use him in the scheme. 

“He came under the influence of a person he trusted too much and didn’t ask enough questions,” Schwartz said. 

Archer’s attorney Matthew Schwartz (right) said his defendant was taken advantage of by corrupt businessmen. - Alec Tabak

Archer, his voice quivering at times, said it was “nothing less than surreal” that he had been convicted and was facing a prison sentence Monday. 

“I was doing too many things at once and not paying enough attention,” Archer said of his involvement in the fraud. 

“I have deep remorse for the victims of the crime,” he said, adding that he was also distraught about the pain he had caused his friends and family. 

Archer claimed he wasn’t paying enough attention to the fraud as it was happening. - Alec Tabak

“I’m most sorry for my family and what I’ve put them through,” he said. 

Prior to his arrest, Archer served with Hunter Biden on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukraine-based energy company. 

In a sentencing memo filed earlier this month, Schwartz argued that Archer provided “real value” to Burisma during his time on the board — but he resigned after his arrest in the case in 2016. 

In addition to jail time, Archer will have to pay more than $15 million in forfeiture by himself and more than $43 million in restitution with his co-defendants. - Alec Tabak

Biden had no connection to the fraud scheme Archer was sentenced for Monday. 

Archer was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud after a trial in 2018. 

Prosecutors charged that Archer and his co-defendants bought more than $60 million in bonds from the Oglala Sioux, but instead of using them for annuity, they used them to “build a financial services mega-company.” 

Archer served with Hunter Biden on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukraine-based energy company, and has known the Biden family for years. - FOX News/Tucker Carlson Tonight

Hunter Biden had no connection to the fraud scheme. - Getty Images

“Archer became a key player in the scheme, anticipating that, when the scheme succeeded, he would helm the resulting conglomerate and, ultimately, reap massive profits from its sale,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo earlier this month. 

After his conviction, Abrams granted Archer’s request for a new trial, but her decision was overruled by a federal appeals court and the conviction was reinstated. 

At his sentencing, Abrams acknowledged Archer was not the leader of the scheme and did not attempt to obstruct justice, as a number of his co-defendants had. 

Archer was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison. - Alec Tabak

Archer did not benefit financially from the fraud — and even lost cash because of it, Abrams said. 

Schwartz asked Abrams that Archer be able to remain free pending appeal, which the judge said she would rule on after the defense and prosecution submit briefs on the request. 

An attorney for Biden did not return a request for comment.

“Mr. Archer is obviously disappointed with today’s sentence, and intends to appeal.  It is unfortunate that the judge, who has previously expressed concern that Mr. Archer is innocent of the crimes charged and reiterated that belief today, felt that she was constrained not to act on her independent assessment of the evidence,” Schwartz said in a statement after the sentencing.

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