FlushDraw Exclusive — Taiwanchik-Trincher Case: The Disputed Greenberg Sentencing

scales-justiceAnother FlushDraw exclusive look into the ongoing story of the so-called Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization veers this time into another interesting story, the delayed sentencing for one of the peripheral players in the case, Stan “Slava” Greenberg.

Greenberg is one 34 defendants in the case, which prominently features a dozen or so poker pros — usually in minor roles, as informal bookies accepting and relaying sports bets — and several members of New York City’s Russian-American community. The common link is Russian-American poker pro Vadim Trincher, who along with international fugitive Alimzhan “Taiwanchik” Tokhtakhounov, are alleged to have helped funnel tens of millions of dollars in illicit gambling proceeds under the control of the Russian Mob.

Prosecutors have alleged in related documents that two separate Russian organized-crime rings were involved in the offshore parts of the operations. Greenberg, according to a press release issued by the USAO last year, assisted Trincher and other leaders of the interconnected gambling rings in laundering some of the proceeds.

According to the USAO, “The Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization laundered tens of millions of dollars in proceeds from the gambling operation from Russia and the Ukraine through shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus, and from Cyprus into the United States. Once the money arrived in the United States, it was either laundered through additional shell companies or invested in seemingly legitimate investments, such as hedge funds or real estate.”

Greenberg was a mortgage banker before apparently surrendering his license recently in connection with his role in this case. Greenberg, said the USAO, “was a U.S.-based participant in the [Taiwanchik-Trincher] enterprise. In this capacity, he assisted the Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization in laundering the proceeds of their international sportsbook into various investment vehicles, including real estate purchases and hedge funds, in the United States.”

Nor was it Greenberg’s only role.  Greenberg also stepped in as the new management in the gambling ring’s extortionate takeover of New York City-based Titan Plumbing, though whether Greenberg himself understood the nature of how Trincher organization acquired the firm remains a point of defense dispute.  Titan’s owner, Pete Skyllas, affectionately known as “Pete the Plumber,” was strong-armed for a share of his plumbing company after running up seven figures of gambling debt, including the high-stakes poker games being held in Vadim Trincher’s $6 million Trump Towers apartment.

Greenberg also engaged in some small-time bookie activity with the ring as well, depositing, by his lawyer’s admission, about $5,000 related to bets into an account related to the enterprise.

Yet Greenberg maintains his innocence as to both the true nature of the investments he handled (as well as the dollar quantities involved), and the nature of his role in the Titan Plumbing takeover.  The recent motion for delay addresses the differences in the prosecution and defense stances, with the USAO writing, “The Government contends that the defendant’s employment at Titan was for an illegitimate purpose, namely to enable the Trincher family to take money out of the company. The defendant claims that the defendant’s employment at Titan was for the legitimate purpose of saving the failing company.”

Separately, Greenberg defense attorney Roger K. Marion asserts that Greenberg worked at Titan for 21 months, drawing an ordinary salary, and then was fired and replaced by another person.

The money laundering allegations are also under dispute.  Here’s what the USAO now says on that matter: “The Government contends that the defendant laundered more than one million dollars through S & T Capital. The defendant does not dispute that he wired more than one million dollars through S & T Capital, but claims that he did not have the requisite intent and/or knowledge that he was engaged in money laundering with respect to those transactions.”

In an earlier brief, prosecutors detailed there belief that Greenberg knew rather more than his defense now claims.  According to one court submission, “[T]he defendant co-owned and operated with co-defendants [Anatoly] Golubchik and Vadim Trincher S & T Capital, which functioned as an intermediary account between the organization’s shell companies in Cyprus and the Organization’s seemingly legitimate investments.  The transactions through S & T Capital served no other purpose other than to add a layer between the given venture, often real estate, and another principal money laundering entity, and ultimately co-defendants [Michael] Sall, Golubchik and Vadim Trincher.”

It is unknown at this time whether the government alleges that Sall and Trincher are the “S” and “T” of the S & T Capital finance vehicle.

Greenberg’s sentencing was originally scheduled for February 27th, but has been pushed back at the request of USAO prosecutors.  Greenberg admitted his technical guilt when he pled guilt last October, becoming the 12th of the case’s 34 defendants to do so, but it appears his defense expected more leniency.

In a recent sentencing submission, USAO prosecutors asked for a 15- to 21-month sentence for Greenberg, while defense attorney Marion sought probation and time served for Greenberg.  That wide gulf is at the root of the sentencing delay in the case.


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