|Your honor. Thank you for this unusual opportunity to address the court. And while I applaud the U.S. Attorney for advocating that victims speak, and for their and the FBI’s hard work in investigating and convicting Mr. Slatkin, I must take issue with the sentencing recommendation of 11 ½ years. It overlooks the utter depravity of the criminal in question; it couches his so-called cooperation in legal abstraction, not victim restitution. It gives aid and comfort to co-conspirators yet to be indicted, and is an affront to Slatkin’s hundreds of victims.
I speak both as co-chairman of the creditors committee and as someone who once considered Reed Slatkin a close friend. I believe he remains contemptuous of his victims and of the law. By now, presumably, your honor, you have read the victim impact statements, as well as some letters written to you by various aggrieved parties. You already have a feel for the financial and emotional carnage Slatkin has wrought; how he had a day-in, day-out commitment to scamming for fifteen years; how he tailored his spiel according to what his prospective pigeon wanted to hear; how he lied to his victims one by one, face to face, while spending more on himself over the course of his 15-year Ponzi than he actually invested in the stock market. You already know that he was an indiscriminate predator, that his victims weren’t just well-to-do people who could land on their feet, but the young and the old, the sick and the dying. He looted trust funds, college funds, retirement funds, insurance money -- anything he could get his hands on.
I am speaking not just for myself and my family, but for hundreds of smaller investors who can’t afford to come here and speak, who may have in fact been damaged far more in relative terms than I have been, whose collective suffering is monumental. I have commiserated with many of these victims, and they want and deserve justice. Hundreds of lives have been permanently disfigured – not just the victims but their family members and those connected to or dependent on them. The domino effect of misery is too extensive to be measured by just the $240 million lost by them.
We want justice because Slatkin has shown no remorse whatsoever and still has many unexplained issues. If Slatkin is bankrupt, how can he afford to pay his expensive lawyers? How did his family manage to prepay their living expenses and continue to live well in Montecito while the victims received no money at all until just recently? Such questions have been asked over and over, but never answered. Slatkin’s stalling enabled one of his oldest buddies Tony Hitchman, who was on his monthly payroll, who owes the Slatkin estate millions of dollars and may have known of the Ponzi from the very beginning, to flee the country just ahead of a subpoena. Slatkin still won’t answer questions about his hundreds of overseas phone calls, his foreign bank accounts, or his and Ron Rakow’s many journeys abroad. He still hasn’t come clean about the full extent of the gold coins and silver bullion, the crated art, and the staggering amounts of cash the FBI found when they raided his and Rakow’s homes. We strongly suspect he has stashed away millions, which will be waiting for him when he gets out of prison. Had Slatkin been as proactively helpful to us as he was proactively a criminal -- in the spirit of the plea agreement -- millions in legal fees could have been saved and distributed to victims. Instead, Slatkin and his attorneys are floating a smokescreen of theories in order to obscure reality, from saying that Slatkin made some of us offsetting money at EarthLink to claiming that he was brainwashed by the Church of Scientology. With all due respect, the only brainwashing that took place was Slatkin brainwashing his investors and the SEC.
Your honor, we implore you not to compound our humiliation by accepting the government’s lenient recommendation, which we feel doesn’t give ample weight to our suffering and concerns, or to the true nature of the man you’re about to sentence. Slatkin is a sociopath who will walk out of prison all smiles, as if nothing happened. Without batting an eyelash, this man of many aliases will reinvent himself and do to a whole new set of unsuspecting people what he did to us, as quickly as you can say “Reed.” Only a stiff sentence will incentivize him to come clean. Your honor, you are our last hope, and a nation demoralized by business fraud is watching to see what message you send. Thank you.