1980s Real Estate Scam Artist Fighting His Return to Prison |CITY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-01-21 04:21.
Ellis E. Neder Jr. spent 10 years behind bars for engineering a massive Northeast Florida real estate scam prosecutors said helped bankrupt four lenders in the 1980s. He spent five more years paying toward his $25 million restitution and being supervised by federal probation officers. Now, two decades after his crimes, authorities want to send the former Jacksonville lawyer and developer back to prison. They say Neder, 64, violated the terms of his release by failing to repay all $25 million and by his involvement in land deals with felons he met in prison.
As federal probation violations go, Neder's are fairly minor. Most defendants that return to prison are there for failing a drug test or committing a new crime, defense lawyers said.
Still, Neder might have avoided his current legal problems if he could have come up with $33,900 last summer.
Neder had paid about $39,000 in restitution at that point, following a payment schedule his lawyer said the probation office set based on his monthly financial statements and ability to pay.
But as Neder neared the end of his term of supervision, probation officials determined he could have been paying more and assessed an additional $33,900. A judge agreed to terminate Neder's supervision as scheduled provided he made that payment.
It also would have meant an end to his $25 million restitution.
Stone said Neder tried unsuccessfully to raise the money even though he disagreed with the order... .
The probation office also dropped the $33,900 payment differential and instead said Neder didn't make payments to the best of his ability or pay the restitution in full.
In response, Stone noted the courts found Neder indigent enough before he went to prison to appoint him a lawyer. His circumstances haven't changed since his release.
"The court cannot enforce a condition ... that is impossible to perform," Stone said.
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