Former JPMorgan FX trader keeps pushing for bail pending appeal
Reports of abusive guards and violent inmates are some of the factors that motivate Akshay Aiyer, a former JPMorgan FX trader, to push for bail pending appeal from his prison sentence.
On October 28, 2020, Aiyer responded to the Government’s arguments that he presents a risk of flight, as he has to spend eight months in prison for FX market manipulation.
Aiyer’s defense notes he has always honored his bail conditions, after indictment, throughout the multi-year pre-trial period, after the jury’s verdict, and up to the present. He is a legal permanent resident of the United States, and has a long-term partner with whom he shares an apartment in Brooklyn, NY, and whose medical condition would make leaving the country on a permanent basis impracticable.
Aiyer has not lived in India for more than 18 years and considers the United States, and specifically New York, his home, the defense notes.
Aiyer’s defense focuses on the conditions at the prison facility he has been assigned to. The Bureau of Prisons has assigned Aiyer to Moshannon Valley Correctional Institute (“MVCI”), a privately-run, for-profit prison for non-citizens, located in Moshannon Valley, Pennsylvania. Aiyer’s counsel explains that MVCI is approximately a 4 ½ hour drive from New York, making visitation with Aiyer’s family, friends, and counsel extremely difficult.
Moreover, the defense counsel stresses, the facility is one of a group of 12 such private facilities for non-citizens that have been collectively characterized as having “higher rates of prison violence and reduced access to family and counsel,” “unusually poor” healthcare, overcrowding, and higher rates of solitary confinement, lockdowns, and deaths in custody than comparable BOP institutions.
“MVCI specifically has been reported on – and former inmates have commenced legal actions against the facility – for inadequate medical care, abusive guards, and violent inmates”.
Finally, the defense counsel says that Aiyer will be held in quarantine for at least 14 days if required to report in December to any prison facility. The conditions that Mr Aiyer will face if required to report to MVCI pending appeal are particularly relevant to the Court’s determination of whether to grant Mr. Aiyer’s motion given the near certainty that he will complete the entirety of his sentence at MVCI before his appeal is resolved.
According to the defense, the length of a defendant’s sentence is a factor that can and should be considered in ruling on a motion for bail pending appeal.
Let’s recall that, on November 20, 2019, after a three-week trial, the jury returned a guilty verdict against Aiyer for one count of conspiracy in restraint of trade in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1. The defendant moved for judgment of acquittal and, in the alternative, for a new trial, raising numerous objections that were all denied by the Court on July 6, 2020.
On September 17, 2020, the Court imposed an eight-month term of imprisonment, two years of supervised release, and a $150,000 fine, and ordered Defendant to surrender on December 4, 2020.