Rick Maiman/Bloomberg News Martin A. Armstrong at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York in 2000.
New York Times, 15 March 2011
Martin A. Armstrong, who prosecutors accused of running a $3 billion Ponzi scheme, is finally out of jail after 11 years, including a possible record seven years for contempt of court in a dispute over gold and antiquities.
Mr. Armstrong, a former financial adviser who once ran an investment firm called Princeton Economics International, will be held under house arrest until his federal custody ends in September, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Chris Burke, told Bloomberg News.
Mr. Burke said Mr. Armstrong would be allowed to go to work and required to check in at a halfway house in the Philadelphia area. He was released last week, according to Bloomberg
Mr. Armstrong spent seven years behind bars for contempt after he defied a federal judge’s order in January 2000 to turn over to the government about $15 million worth of gold bars, rare coins and antiquities including a bust of Julius Caesar. Normally, people held in contempt by a judge are jailed for no longer than 18 months.
Mr. Armstrong contended he did not have those assets.
As Mr. Armstrong sat in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, federal prosecutors tried to build a criminal case against him.
Ultimately, Mr. Armstrong was sentenced to five years in prison in April 2007 after he agreed to plea guilty the year before to one count of conspiracy to hide hundreds of millions of dollars in trading losses.
After seven long years, the judge in the case finally lifted the contempt sanction so Mr. Armstrong could begin his prison term. He received no time off his prison sentence for the time he spent in the Manhattan jail.
Armstrong suspected the case brought against him was knowingly false, and was improperly used to confiscate all investigative materials gathered for years documenting the movements of the CLUB. On February 7th, 2000, Armstrong stood before Judge Richard Owen and publicly made it known the the tapes and evidence seized by the receiver Alan Cohen (head of Global Compliance at Goldman Sachs) constituted the evidence regarding the oranized manipulation of markets.
Phi Beta Iota: Armstrong went to prison instead of being murdered for reasons that are not clear. He was “neutralized” or “marginalized,” and appears to have been the only individual actually capable of standing up to “the Club” that included Warren Buffet doing things he would not want his mother to know about. It appears that there is a clear pattern of control fraud (government not enforcing the law, or legalizing financial crime), murder and intimidation, and when possible, massive confiscation and destruction of files, such as occurred when Gldman Sachs was empowered by law to seize all of Armstrong’s records on “the Club,” and to all SEC files in WTC 7 on 9/11 (the building that was not hit by anything, it just collapsed, most likely from controlled demolitions. The NYT fails to mention that the hiding of losses was done by Armstrong for Japanese companies at their request and on terms common in Japan. This smells very strongly of government complicity in the neutralization of a whistle-blower against New York financial crime families. “The Club” is now, for the first time in its history, facing the possibility that public intelligence aided by the Internet will cut it off at the knees whether it has bought governments or not. The rise of local and alternative currencies, the possibility of all individuals leaving the stock market and moving the their money to smaller local banks, and the emerging realization that none of the “leaders” of US financial organizations — public or private — can be trusted to act in the public interest — could lead to a decisive rejection of the existing Griftopia model. This is not to say that the 1% will be penalized or incarcerated — just that their ability to manipulate markets and corrupt governments may be severely reduced.