Prince says he's been given a "death sentence"
AT&T cell site developer sentenced to 30 years
for bank and bankruptcy fraud
UPDATE: March 23, 2012 - Following Clovis Prince's sentencing to 30 years in prison on March 9, 2012, the court allowed him to not pay court costs for any further legal action due to his lack of financial resources. It also assigned Tyler, Tex. attorney Carlo D. Angelo to represent Prince in his appeal.
Prince said they had no right to designate Angelo, and on March 20, 2012 he filed an emergency motion with the court stating that he was capable of defending himself pro se.
"The facts and circumstances of this case is of such a nature that it would take an appointed counsel years to adequately be able to understand, discuss and argue the facts and issues," Prince said.
Prince said he "is formally trained from the University of Oklahoma, School of Law as a legal assistant, and is capable of making his argument on his direct appeal."
The university doesn't have a School of Law, but a College of Law and although they issue a certificate, it is accompanied by a statement that "the legal assistant cannot represent clients in court or perform any legal service without the supervision of a licensed lawyer."
If the court takes Prince's certificate into consideration, it will first have to see if it is a forgery.
During Prince's trial he was found guilty of forging two ING annuities and altering two cashed in annuities valued at millions of dollars. They were used as collateral for loans.
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March 15, 2012 - U.S. District Court Judge David Folsom sentenced former cell site build-to-suit and project management entrepreneur Clovis Prince to 30 years in prison on Friday and required him to pay restitution of $13,640,425 following his conviction in 2010 of 23 counts of bankruptcy fraud and 15 counts of bank fraud.
Jurors had previously returned an additional verdict of a judgment in the amount of $15,477,554, money illegally obtained by Prince, most of which is unaccounted for in his bankruptcy financial statements.
Following the jury's Dec. 9, 2010 verdict after less than three hours of deliberation after his 14-day trial, Prince's standby attorney, Don Bailey, filed a motion, approved by Judge Folsom, to have Prince evaluated to see if he suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder.
Bailey said if Prince is found to have the disorder, following the $16,000 study, it would not fit the basis for an insanity or competency defense, but would show a diminished capacity that should be considered at sentencing.
Judge Folsom may have taken the sealed psychiatric report into consideration last week by allowing Prince's jail sentences to run concurrently.
Sentenced to maximum possible on first count
However, Folsom did sentence Prince to the maximum allowable of 30 years for one count of trying to defraud eight banks by pledging non-existent assets, among other misrepresentations.
An attorney familiar with federal sentencing said he was not aware of 30 years ever being given in Texas in recent years for bank fraud.
Last June, U.S. District Judge Richard Schell, also serving in Judge Folsom's Eastern District of Texas, sentenced a Texas man to eight years for bank fraud. He was accused of submitting fraudulent personal financial information to a bank and causing losses to investors through his radio talk show of up to $7 million. His restitution amount was $4.6 million.
It was acknowledged during Prince's trial that he had forged signatures on annuities valued at approximately $5 million that were pledged for bank loans.
Two annuities owned by Prince were used as collateral in 2008, but had been cashed in during 2006. Another two were counterfeit documents, reportedly cut and pasted together by Prince.
He was also given 10 years each for 14 counts of illegally transferring millions of dollars in fraudulently obtained money, but the concurrent sentencing requires him to serve only 30 years.
Prince received an additional five years for bankruptcy fraud, but that will also run concurrent with the 30 year sentence. He could have received the maximum allowable sentence of 15 years.
If Prince serves his full term, he will be released when he is 92-years old, but will be required to be on supervised release for another 5 years.
Assistant United States Attorney Randall Blake, who prosecuted Prince, informed Wireless Estimator that he fully expects that Prince will serve his entire term.
According to Federal good conduct guidelines, the earliest Prince could be released would be after he served more than 26 years.
Judge Folsom also recommended that while incarcerated, Prince should participate in the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program in addition to a program of mental health treatment.
Prince says the court gave him a death sentence
In a motion filed yesterday by Prince for miscellaneous relief, he argued that the court had imposed a death sentence upon him, citing that the average life expectancy for a black male is 72 years, according to a statistic he found in USA Today.
He further stated that the reason the court imposed such a harsh sentence is because Judge Folsom said that he "showed no remorse, even today."
Prince said that he had argued his innocence of the alleged crimes and "rejected multiple plea agreement offers by the prosecution prior to trial, even the day of trial commencement; and after the close of the government's case."
He maintains that after the jury verdict, "the prosecution attempted to enter into a plea agreement post verdict."
An attorney familiar with the Prince trial stated that it was "very unlikely" that the prosecution offered him a plea following his conviction. He said the prosecution had offered Prince a 30-year term accompanied by his agreement to forfeiture and restitution in exchange for a plea of guilty and his waiver of appeal.
Bank recoveries appear to be limited
"Clovis Prince's fraudulent schemes harmed many people and we are pleased that Mr. Prince has been brought to justice," said Dallas attorney Stephen Rasch of Thompson & Knight LLP.
Rasch represented American Bank of Texas in litigation against Clovis Prince. His client lost $4,882,879 through Prince's corrupt dealings.
Six other financial institutions suffered an additional $8.75 million in losses. Although a number of homes with some equity in addition to some other assets were found by the bankruptcy court, it is likely that the banks will not recover much of their shortfalls.
Based upon observing the defendant during the trial, Bailey said that Prince appeared to be suffering from a personality disorder which showed that he was preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power and brilliance; required excessive admiration; had a sense of entitlement; was arrogant and had a lack of empathy towards others, among other areas identifiable with a self-absorbed personality.
Prince didn't object to Bailey's analysis since it could result in a reduction of the time he would have to serve.
Prince had elected to serve "pro se" as his own counsel for the bank fraud and money laundering counts and was found by Bailey and Judge Folsom as being competent to represent himself in the proceedings.
Roadmap for incompetence of all his attorneys is drawn
Dallas attorney Richard Deaguero, whose services were paid for by Prince's family, represented him on the bankruptcy charges.
Prince later sued Deaguero for $31,500 for return of his fees following the jury's verdict - stating he misrepresented his abilities - but it was ruled that he was unable to bring the suit since his family paid for the attorney's representation.
He also sued two other attorneys for return of their fees after he had fired them.
A pre-sentence investigation report was provided to Prince on Oct. 20, 2011.
On Feb. 23 3012, Judge Folsom denied Prince's request to be allowed up to three days at his sentencing to speak and present witnesses on his behalf, stating that it wasn't necessary and Prince could provide written letters from his character witnesses.
Judge Folsom said that both the prosecution and defense would be allowed two and one-half hours to present their evidence and testimony.
Prince utilized most of the full-day sentencing hearing to prepare for an appeal. When questioned by Judge Folsom if he had any character letters he wanted to submit, Prince said that he hadn't attempted to contact any character witnesses.
To clear the way for Prince's sentencing, Judge Folsom denied on Feb. 28, 2012 Prince's 11th motion for judgment of acquittal that he filed since the trial ended in December 2010.
Judge Folsom said that in his motions Prince neither established an error of law or fact nor presented newly discovered evidence.
On the day before his sentencing, Prince filed an eleventh hour motion for miscellaneous relief.
Prince throws out the race card along with a conspiracy
During the trial, Prince stated that it was his corporate counsel, Nicole Taylor, who defrauded American Bank of Texas. A previous attempt by Prince to not allow Taylor to testify regarding any communications between he and Taylor on the basis of attorney-client privilege was denied prior to the trial.
In his last filing for an order of acquittal, Prince said his indictment was racially motivated and there has been a conspiracy between American Bank of Texas and prosecutors.
His most recent court filings have the NAACP National Defense Fund as a recipient of all documents. Prince has been in contact with Benjamin Jealous, the association's president.
Although Prince believes race was a contributing factor in his indictment, it provided a considerable influence upon Prince & Associates' initial success.
Prince's firm dovetailed nicely with AT&T Mobility's master plan to engage the minority business community to meet their goal to increase their percentage of spend with certified diverse suppliers year-over-year.
According to Prince, Cingular (now AT&T Mobility) inked a $325 million deal with his firm in 2006 for turnkey tower services that assisted his company to expand to 15 national offices and to exceed $780 million in revenue in 2007 and become one of the largest minority owned businesses in America.
AT&T helped his meteoric rise
At a presentation dinner in 2005, Prince said he would not be on stage accepting a coveted award for entrepreneurial achievements if it was not for the support of Cingular allowing his company to work on over 5,000 of their site locations.
Although Prince & Associates' primary client was AT&T, the company did provide services to other carriers.
He was in demand as a motivational speaker in colleges and organizations, and in 2004 he was the keynote speaker at the Tower Summit & Trade Show.
The patina quickly rubbed off of Prince's crown when he stopped paying wireless contractors for sites that they had built.
His credibility further unraveled when bankers and wireless suppliers became aware of Prince's criminal history.
Court records identify that on Feb. 27, 1986, Prince was convicted on 25 counts of mail fraud and sentenced to 15 years in prison. His crime: He collected for auto parts which he did not deliver.
He began serving his sentence on or about March 21, 1986. Prince then escaped from a halfway house around May 27, 1991, and he was apprehended in July 1992. He was released from prison on or about February 26, 1993, according to Assistant United States Attorney Randall Blake who described the 60-year-old Prince as a "con man".
Prince & Associates' web site and brochure identified that Prince was actively building out the nation's first cell sites during the period he was incarcerated.
He bit the hand that fed him
In his bankruptcy filings, Prince tried to discharge a debt of AT&T Mobility, but the carrier asked the bankruptcy court to deny it since Prince's fraud convictions allowed the court to reject the discharge.
AT&T said that Prince entered into an agreement with CMS Wireless, LLC to perform work in connection with AT&T's master construction agreement with Prince.
AT&T advanced funds to Prince, but approximately $850,000 failed to make its way to CMS, according to AT&T's court filing.
The court agreed with AT&T based upon Prince's criminal conviction and entered a separate judgment.
Due to Prince's untruthful statements, other assets - normally protected by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing - such as clothing and household goods, can be seized by creditors.
Prince and Judge Folsom rebuke each other
Frequently Judge Folsom would admonish Prince for his delaying tactics during the trial and cautioned him about his epic narratives.
On one occasion when Prince said he was ill, Judge Folsom wrote that "The Court is of the opinion that Mr. Prince is attempting to avoid trial by misrepresenting or exploiting his medical condition."
The judge said that after innumerable attempts at delay, the court was not surprised by Prince's alleged medical situation.
"In fact, the court anticipated and expected such an occurrence," Judge Folsom said.
He further stated that it was "no more than another attempt by Mr. Prince to delay proceedings and to game the system."
Prince struck back a week after the trial by filing a motion for judgment of acquittal and for a new trial.
The 14-page mistrial motion was based upon prosecutor misconduct; violation of the speedy trial act; multiple and duplicated indictment counts; failure to allow defendant to call witnesses in his defense, ineffective assistance of counsel; and trial court errors in the proceedings.
Amongst other concerns, Prince said during the trial Judge Folsom continued to make gestures, exhibited body language, and offered comments that prejudiced his right to a fair trial.
Although most pro se defendants struggle to navigate the legal system, Prince appears to have considerable knowledge regarding court procedures. He has a legal assistant certificate from the University of Oklahoma Law Center,
When dealing with pro se litigants, judges must walk a fine line between two competing considerations. On the one hand, if the judge treats the pro se party as if he or she were represented by an attorney, the judge runs the risk of effectually impeding the pro se party’s access to the courts. On the other hand, if the judge is too lenient with the pro se party, the judge’s impartiality may be called into question.
No good deed goes unpunished
On Monday, a motion by Bailey to withdraw as Prince's standby counsel was made, not because the trial and sentencing were over, according to Bailey, but because Prince blindsided him during Friday's hearing and called him as a witness during the sentencing hearing in an attempt to show that he has received ineffective assistance of counsel and some evidence of a large conspiracy against him.
Bailey said he has provided Prince with a steady flow of legal research and documents over the past12 months to include over 700 pages worth in the past week.
The prosecution agreed with Bailey's motion, but Prince said he was opposed to it since he wanted to retain him for another week to assist in preparation of appealing his conviction as his own attorney.
At the end of this month, Prince will have to submit his motions filed in the Eastern District of Texas to Chief Judge Leonard Davis who replaced Folsom as the chief judge after he announced he was retiring after serving 16 years on the federal bench.