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Steven Green given more time to report to prison and pay restitution

TAMPA — Calling it "a never-ending case," U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew on Friday again extended the deadline for New York investor Steven Green to report to prison and to pay more than $2.64-million in restitution still owed in the wake of a fraud conviction 21 months ago.

Green, who made millions investing in apartments in several states, was originally ordered in February 2007 to begin serving a 33-month sentence. But in May, a month before he was scheduled to report to federal prison, Green was left in a coma after a hit-and-run accident outside a Hell's Kitchen nightclub.

Green emerged from the coma after 40 days but, according to records, was left so neurologically impaired that he was unable to care for himself or oversee his financial empire. Since then, Green's attorneys have argued that he is physically unfit for prison and that his dwindling assets during a market downturn make it impossible for him to complete restitution payments of $4.1-million to the bank Green defrauded.

But after hearing Friday that Green had been moved to a nursing home and his condition was continuing to deteriorate, Bucklew suggested Green begin serving his sentence at a special care prison facility.

"Every time we're here, he's gotten worse,'' Bucklew said. "He might as well report in January if he's not going to get any better."

A government prosecutor concurred, but after Green's attorney, Edward Kratt, asked that he be given time to produce a videotape showing the extent of Green's impairments, the judge relented, saying she wanted to view the tape and see new medical records in early March.

At that time, the court also will get an update on Green's holdings. His net worth was $77-million when he was sentenced last year.

John M. Murray, an attorney who represents Green's development company, testified Friday that more than two-dozen apartment complexes were on the market, but that the best bids so far have all fallen below the debt on the properties.

Under questioning about unmet restitution payments, Murray also testified that Green's personal assets included crystal, Steuben glassware and art prints signed by Andy Warhol and others artists. Murray said the artwork alone probably had a value of "several hundred thousand dollars."

Green pleaded guilty in November 2006 to using a phony Social Security number in his application for a $9.04-million loan on the Amberwood Apartments in northern Hillsborough and to failing to file income tax returns from 1999 to 2001, when his personal income exceeded $3.1-million.

After a fire damaged some of Amberwood's 212 units in 2001, county inspectors discovered hundreds of code violations and shut down the complex, displacing dozens of tenants. Green stopped making payments on the apartment loan, and after a foreclosure, the complex was sold for a loss of $4.1-million — the amount of restitution set by Buckelew at Green's sentencing.

Steven Green given more time to report to prison and pay restitution 10/31/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 3, 2008 12:22pm]
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