Freeman wants out - Nobody no lawyer
Updated: Apr 8, 2021
Free Keene leader Ian Freeman is arguing he’s neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community as he seeks to get out of jail pending trial on federal money laundering charges.
Meanwhile, Freeman’s Free Keene cohort and money laundering co-defendant, Nobody, needs to find a new lawyer after his attorney, John Apruzzese, asked to leave the case following an incident in which trust was lost between the two.
Freeman, 40, Nobody, 52, and four other people were arrested on March 16 when police and federal law enforcement raided the Free Keene properties Freeman controls in Keene. Law enforcement found $180,000 in cash, 26 guns, and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his Leverett Street home, which is close to a charter middle school in Keene.
United States District Court Judge Andrea Johnston ordered Freeman held without bail pending trial stating that he is a flight risk given the millions of dollars he has in cash and crypto-currency, and that he represents a danger to the community. Johnston based the dangerousness on evidence Freeman continued to operating his alleged Bitcoin money laundering business despite being aware of the ongoing federal investigation.
Freeman’s lawyer, Mark Sisti, filed in his appeal of the detention order on Wednesday seeking to have Freeman let out of jail. Sisti writes that Freeman is not a risk to flee the country, despite the fact he has recently traveled to Japan and Mexico.
“Although he has visited foreign countries in the past few years, there is no evidence he has any contacts in those countries that would aid him should he attempt to flee,” Sisti wrote.
Freeman’s continued operation of his alleged Bitcoin money laundering business, which reportedly exchanged $10 million over the years, does not show he is a danger to the community, according to Sisti. Johnstone found evidence that Freeman was operating his allegedly fraudulent business despite knowing that he was under federal investigation.
“Government agents have identified people across the country who stated they were manipulated by scammers into sending money to the defendant, the Shire Free Church, or one of the alleged co-conspirators, often in the form of ‘church donations,’” Johnstone wrote. “As recently as March 16, 2021, the Postal Inspection Service intercepted a package addressed to the Shire Free Church, which contained $4,000 from ‘an 80-year-old victim of an apparent romance scam.’ This operation clearly poses a danger to the community by enabling fraud and economic harm.”
Sisti claims that Freeman was never told by any authority that he had to stop running his businesses and his churches.
“The Government claimed that Mr. Freeman was aware that authorities were investigating him yet continued to engage in his business. Even so, there is no evidence that he was ever ordered to cease such activities by any Court or other regulatory body. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Freeman would engage in such acts once ordered to do so,” Sisti wrote.
While Freeman, who changed his name from Ian Bernard, is having his lawyer trying to get out of jail, his fellow Free Keene associate, Nobody, who changed his name from Rich Paul, has waived his detention hearing and seems to have alienated his attorney.
Nobody’s lawyer, Apruzzese, was granted permission to withdraw from the case this week after a recent encounter with his client, according to court records. While it is unclear what exactly transpired between the two, Apruzzese indicates something was said and there is now a lack of trust between the two.
“On April 6, 2021, counsel called Nobody and spoke with him about the motion to clarify status of counsel,” Apruzzese wrote in his motion to withdraw. “Counsel read the affidavit, filed under seal, in support of the motion. Counsel mistakenly thought Nobody made statements about the co-defendant, Ian Freeman. Counsel learned that those statements were made about counsel. Counsel immediately told Nobody he could no longer represent him and he would move to withdraw.”
Freeman is charged with operating a multi-million dollar bitcoin exchange business that facilitated laundering money from scammers across the country. He even allegedly used the churches he started to launder funds as “donations,” according to court records.
Freeman, Colleen Fordham, 60, of Alstead, Renee Spinella, 23, of Derry, Andrew Spinella, 35, of Derry, Nobody, of Keene, and Aria DiMezzo, 34, of Keene were all taken into custody following the raids. Only Freeman and Nobody continue to be held.
Freeman, Fordham, Renee Spinella, Andrew Spinella, and Nobody also are charged with wire fraud and participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Freeman is also charged with money laundering and operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise. Freeman and DiMezzo also are charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.