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Perry Reich, who lives in Hollis Hill, was arrested and indicted June 29 in federal court in Brooklyn on charges he created and distributed an order reversing the judge's rulings on motions and recusing her from the rest of the case, according to a joint release from the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District Roslynn Mauskopf and the FBI.
"Perry Reich intentionally obstructed an official court proceeding by forging the signature of a United States magistrate judge," Mauskopf said. "As an attorney admitted to the bar of this state, Reich took an oath to uphold the law. The violation of that oath makes the crimes charged all the more reprehensible."
Reich referred questions to his lawyer, who was unavailable for comment.
Some in the Republican Party wondered why Reich, who faces 25 years in prison if convicted, was being so vigorously prosecuted.
"I think it is absolutely incredible that the judiciary and the prosecutor's office would go into something like this with the intensity and the zeal that they have taken on," said state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale), who also chairs the Queens Republican Party. "On the face of it, it doesn't seem to be something that merits the zeal that this is being pursued with."
According to the charges, in July 2002 Ryan Beck and Co., a brokerage firm, filed a civil law suit in federal court in Brooklyn against several former clients, including Reich, Mauskopf said. The suit sought to prohibit the clients, who had lost money on stock market trades, from suing the broker, Mauskopf said.
Just under a year later in June 2003, an order, purportedly issued by Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann, was faxed to the attorneys for both the plaintiffs and defendants in the case, Mauskopf said. The order recalled and reversed previous orders issued by Mann and Mann purportedly recused herself from the rest of the proceedings, Mauskopf said.
After the order was distributed, a number of the lawyers involved in the case filed letters with the federal court to verify the order. The order was determined to be false and was allegedly traced back to Reich through a grand jury investigation, Mauskopf said.
Reich, 55, is a longtime member of the Queens Republican Party who ran for State Supreme Court judgeships twice in the late 1990s.
"I've known Perry for many a year and he is someone of solid character," said Vince Tabone, co-chairman of the Queens Republican Party's judicial nomination committee. "Without knowing more I have to believe he's innocent."
In 2002 Reich campaigned against Ackerman on the Republican line, but he was thrown off the ballot for not having enough petition signatures. He stayed on the ballot as a Conservative candidate and Ackerman won with 92 percent of the vote.
"When Perry ran for office two years ago, he did so like a true gentleman," Ackerman said in a statement. "I was sad to learn about his current circumstances and I feel very sorry for him. But we must remember that he is innocent until proven guilty."
Reich was charged with forging a judge's signature, obstruction of justice and making a false statement to the FBI, according to the release. He faces 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines if convicted.
"As an attorney and officer of the court, the criminal acts allegedly committed by Perry Reich are particularly egregious," said Pasquale D'Amuro, assistant director agent-in-charge for the FBI. "The United States judicial system, and all those who work within it, should be beyond reproach in order to maintain public confidence."
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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