*** Leasing News Flash ***
Drayer and Barker Found Guilty
Barry Drayer, 66, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, Vice-President of RW Professional, who claimed
he was "just a salesman," has been found guilty by a jury who began deliberations yesterday.
Stephen Barker, 42, of Lake Forest, California, was also found guility.
Sentencing may be up to 30 years in jail.
"Both defendants were just convicted on all counts (4:50 pm, EST; deliberations began 3pm yesterday). Barker was remanded. Drayer continued on bail."
Leasing News has followed this not just from June 21,2003, the date forty FBI agents raided the offices of RW Professional Leasing in Island Park, NY, but as part of the Sierra Cities/First Sierra portfolio and leads to CIT, Vanguard Leasing and Old Kent (several stories co-written with Charlie Lester.)
Originally, it was about money, around $9 million. It grew to perhaps $100 million dollars in contention, counting what the FBI claims, the American Express Business Finance law suit, Crawford and other community banks, plus the $38 million the Bank of New York was charged for its “money laundering” by a specific person, setting up phony bank accounts, working with RW Professional on the scheme.
As the trail got closer and closer, his immediate relatives, brother, sister, and nephew, turned evidence against him to reduce the time they would serve in jail.
His sister Rochelle Besser, 69, the official president of now defunct leasing company, his brother, Roger, 63, and nephew Adam Drayer, a company computer technician and Roger's son, all have sworn to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Brothers, sisters and nephews do not have the same immunity from testifying against each other as would a spouse.
They were originally facing a 30 years in jail sentence, found out the evidence against them, perhaps even didn't fully understand what was going on, and evidently turned state's evidence for a reduced sentence.
Stephen Barker, 42, of Lake Forest, California is president of Carefree Financial Service, a broker/lessor, charged with conspiracy. As reported earlier, Drayer tried to have Barker tried in a separate trial, not included in his case. The main reason: Barker originally spilled the beans to the FBI, telling all, as his intention was that he was following what he was told to do as he considered his company representing RW Professional on the West Coast. His testimony is quite incriminating and explains how Drayer put it together and how the Ponzi style scheme worked.
Barker sincerely said he believed he was following directions; what he was doing was kosher.
Here is what Barker told the FBI:
Whether the Crawfords, the community banks, and American Express Business Finance will follow on their $20 million FirstSierra/Sierra Cities portfolio issues is not known at this time.