Benjamin Wey ()
Federal prosecutors dropped their case against Wall Street financier Benjamin Wey Tuesday after an evidence suppression order torpedoed their case.
The office filed a nolle prosequi notice Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, stating, “The government can no longer rely on that evidence at trial” because of the order.
Prosecutors hinted at the move last week in a memo to the court. They were attempting to figure out how to proceed against Wey after Southern District Judge Alison Nathan issued a scathing warrant suppression order in June.
Observers saw the order as a potentially fatal blow for the government’s case. The government seized a trove of documents from Wey’s home and office, including hard drives held by the government for years. Given the scope of material—including X-rays of Wey’s family, children’s test scores and divorce papers from Wey’s first marriage—the defense was all but certain to vigorously argue there was no way to undo the taint caused by the ill-begotten evidence.
In their Aug. 1 letter to Nathan, prosecutors asked for an extension to provide details on what evidence they planned to use at trial while they waited on a notice from the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office on whether the government planned to appeal the suppression order.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment. No details on the solicitor general decision and how that led to the office’s decision to halt the government’s case against Wey were made available.
Wey was charged in an eight count indictment in September 2015 with, among other charges, securities and wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering.
Prosecutors claimed Wey manipulated stock prices to sell shares at artificially high levels for companies he secretly controlled substantial shares. Wey allegedly used reverse mergers with Chinese companies to gain control of the stock. Wey pleaded not guilty.
In a statement, Wey’s lawyer, Haynes and Boone partner David Siegal, said the government “made the correct decision to drop charges in light of the significant constitutional violations described by Judge Nathan in her ruling.”
“This case should serve as a powerful reminder for years to come that the government must adhere to fundamental safeguards of our privacy and liberty when conducting searches,” Siegal said.