A Queens attorney was arrested Monday and charged with making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Prisons after an investigation uncovered an alleged plot to get a jailed drug dealer’s sentence reduced, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue’s office announced.
According to prosecutors, Scott Brettschneider and two associates worked to help Brettschneider’s client, Richard Marshall, enter a federal substance abuse rehab program in the hopes of reducing a 36-month sentence for drug dealing issued in August 2014.
The problem was that Marshall had no past issues with substance abuse.
Prosecutors allege that Brettschneider and his associates sent a letter to the BOP in which one of his legal assistants falsely stated he was Marshall’s previous treatment provider, recounting his history of heroin and alcohol dependence. The letter sought Marshall’s entry into the Residential Drug Abuse Program which, if successfully completed, would make him potentially eligible to receive a year off of his sentence.
A wiretap intercepted calls between Marshall and Brettschneider and his associates, and now co-defendants, on a cellphone smuggled into prison shortly after Marshall’s sentencing, prosecutors said. Marshall was allegedly told that the prisons bureau was unlikely to scrutinize the letter, and would “knock a year off” his sentence—all it would cost Marshall was between $350 and $400.
The BOP, however, did scrutinize the letter, and demanded progress reports from the time period Marshall was allegedly receiving help before going to prison.
“The defendants, including a practicing attorney, participated in a scheme to gain a narcotics trafficker early release from prison by falsely informing the Bureau of Prisons that he was a candidate for a drug rehab program,” Donoghue said in a statement. “This office and our law enforcement partners are committed to ensuring that the resources to fight drug addiction go to the people who need them, not the drug dealers who put poison on our streets and who deserve to serve the entirety of their prison sentences.”
According to prosecutors, the discovery of the plot came as one of Brettschneider’s associates, Charles Gallman, was being investigated by the Queens District Attorney’s Office for his involvement in bribing and intimidating witnesses completely separate from Marshall.
Taps on his phones revealed a network of attorneys, including Brettschneider, that Gallman appeared to be working with. Court documents point to three other unidentified lawyers Gallman was working with, one of whom has since been convicted of participating in an unrelated bribery scheme and sentenced to six years imprisonment. Gallman has a bribing witnesses, tampering with a witness and criminal solicitation case pending against him in Queens.
“Integrity is the foundation of our criminal justice system,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “These allegations go to the core of that foundation and are prejudicial to the administration of justice. The charges today send a strong message to those who would undermine that integrity that they will be held accountable. No one can be allowed to ‘fix’ any part of a case.”
Perini & Hoerger name attorney Raymond Perini is representing Brettschneider. He could not be reached for comment.