Prosecutors say Schulman, who was indicted final week on federal fraud expenses, exploited connections to the Somali authorities and pretended to formally characterize the war-torn nation’s pursuits to counterpoint himself. His attorneys say the Justice Division has it flawed and that Schulman was a trusted adviser and advocate of the Somali folks.
Schulman, 47, made an preliminary look Monday earlier than U.S. Justice of the Peace Choose Gina L. Simms and thru his lawyer pleaded not responsible to the costs. The listening to was held by videoconference in U.S. District Court docket in Maryland due to the pandemic.
“We firmly consider the Division of Justice is misinformed and has been derelict in its duty to totally examine and establish all exculpatory proof,” Schulman’s authorized workforce mentioned in an announcement supplied by lawyer Paul W. Butler.
“We’re assured that when permitted a chance to inform his story, Mr. Schulman shall be wholly vindicated of any felony conduct, not to mention fraud.”
Prosecutors inform a unique story of faux paperwork, misrepresentations and a five-year scheme to achieve management of $12.5 million. Schulman didn’t have authority to behave on behalf of the East African nation, prosecutors say, and as an alternative solid letters to current to banks and different monetary establishments.
When the Somali Democratic Republic collapsed within the early Nineties amid a civil warfare, the Central Financial institution of Somalia requested banks around the globe to freeze monetary property belonging to the federal government to stop withdrawals till a steady authorities returned to energy. Some accounts got here beneath management of the Workplace of the New York State Comptroller. The Federal Reserve Financial institution of New York additionally held gold and foreign money belonging to Somalia.
The 11-count indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Maryland final week, outlines a conspiracy carried out by Schulman, an unnamed former chief of the Central Financial institution and that individual’s relative, Abdiaziz Hassan Amalo of Maryland, amongst others. The previous financial institution official had been appointed as an adviser to the transitional Somali authorities in 2009, however prosecutors say Schulman inflated the official’s place and authority and inserted “misleading or incorrect info” into paperwork to achieve entry to the property.
On account of the alleged scheme, Schulman personally acquired greater than $880,000 on the finish of 2013, a rise of greater than $400,000 from his compensation the earlier yr, in keeping with the 31-page indictment.
In a single occasion, prosecutors say Schulman and Amalo solid a letter purporting to be from the lawyer common of the Republic of Somalia in an try to get funds from a financial institution, which held greater than $1.5 million in property. After a number of drafts, the indictment says Schulman congratulated Amalo on his “nice work” and emailed the cast letter to the financial institution in August 2010.
Amalo wrote to Schulman, in keeping with the indictment, “I’m glad we obtained this time proper. Make the Magic occur on these banks now LOL!!!”
Amalo was arrested and charged with financial institution fraud and false statements in 2017. His case remains to be pending and his lawyer had no remark.
In June 2013, one of many banks and the New York comptroller conditioned the discharge of the property on official certification from the U.S. State Division.
Schulman’s lawyer mentioned his efforts had been “totally clear” and that he had the authority to behave on behalf of the Somali authorities. His workforce labored “tirelessly to help a nation desperately in want of monetary assets to make sure the federal government’s restoration from practically two-decades of civil warfare,” Schulman’s lawyer mentioned within the assertion.
However the indictment says a State Division lawyer made clear in messages to Schulman that its certification didn’t allow Somalia’s president to delegate his authority to obtain the funds to any third individual, together with to Schulman, and that any communication needed to come instantly from the president.
Even so, the indictment says, Schulman continued to speak with the New York comptroller about releasing the property with out disclosing the directions he had acquired from the State Division.
Schulman is a founding associate of the Bethesda-based regulation agency Schulman Bhattacharya and chairman of the agency’s business litigation and arbitration group. Schulman touts his Somalia-related work on the agency’s web site, noting his illustration of the federal government on issues together with an investigation of monetary corruption allegations asserted by the United Nations Monitoring Group for Somalia and Eritrea.
He beforehand labored at corporations in Washington and New York. A graduate of State College of New York at Buffalo College of Legislation, Schulman started his profession as a clerk to Choose John M. Steadman of the D.C. Court docket of Appeals.
Schulman can also be listed as a member of the honorary council and a former trustee of the Spherical Home Theatre in Bethesda.
Attorneys anticipate a three-week jury trial, and Schulman’s lawyer requested the choose Monday to not impose home journey restrictions.
Schulman has “many ties to the group, ample property and a profitable, energetic authorized observe,” Butler mentioned. “He must proceed together with his very profitable profession whereas he confronts this matter.”