Imagine running your own company and you’re going about your day conducting business as usual and then you get the news that you’re being arrested for crimes that you yourself are a victim of and had reported to authorities several years earlier. While this seems extreme, wrongful convictions happen more often than you think – here’s Steven Canady’s terrifying story.
The District Attorney of Manhattan, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., is no stranger to recent news coverage. His decisions not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges nor members of President Trump’s family on fraud charges has sparked concern.
On the surface, it appears that Vance is influenced by campaign donations. Why? Take the baffling case of Steven Canady of Alliance Warburg Capital.
Vance elected to prosecute Canady over a simple civil dispute which arose between Canady and a disgruntled fashion designer. After Canady advised the designer in January 2014 to withdraw from the Mercedes Benz “Winter Fashion Week” to focus on closing a complicated round of financing for the fashion designer’s operations, the fashion designer called Canady a “dumb ni**er”. Next, one of Vance’s campaign donors close to the fashion designer approached Mr. Vance requesting Canady be “taught a lesson.” Three days after the racially charged incident, the Manhattan DA’s office launched an investigation against Canady, which lasted for one year.
Despite the lack of any criminal activity found by the DA’s office on Canady during the investigation, Steven Canady was arrested on grand larceny indictment charges in January 2015.
This is where the abuse of power gets really perplexing.
In a hard-to-believe twist of events, Vance charged Canady with taking millions of dollars that Canady himself reported as stolen to Vance’s DA office years earlier.
In August 2010 Canady reported to Vance’s office that $2.4 million was stolen from his firm, Alliance Warburg. Canady claimed it was stolen by a company engaged to provide financing for its client base and some of its targeted acquisitions while waiting for its financial commitments from institutional investors to materialize. Although Canady clearly demonstrated that the firm had been defrauded – he provided Vance’s DA office with over 1,000 pages of evidence, which included the wire transfer confirmation of funds to the third party and a written demand for the return of the monies – Vance’s office chose not to prosecute for reasons that the matter was a “civil dispute between two parties.”
Vance’s decision not to prosecute the party reported by Canady may have been tied to Canady’s failure to make a campaign donation to Vance. The decision “not to prosecute” by the Manhattan DA’s office resulted in the evaporation of over $100 Billion USD in “irrevocable commitments” from institutional investors that Alliance Warburg had secured prior to the incident and ultimately led to Mr. Canady being investigated in Georgia on a related matter, which involved the company that defrauded Alliance Warburg.
Canady eventually entered an Alford Plea in that matter, which did not result in a criminal conviction. This was done in part at the advice of Canady’s legal counsel from Patton Boggs due to the law firm becoming insolvent during that period, and as a consequence, could not adequately represent him if he went to trial.
Now, it should be noted that the disposition of the Georgia matter allowed Steven Canady to continue with his career in the financial industry as there was no wrongdoing found on his part. In fact, Canady was steering the firm in its quest to acquire a major global investment bank and asset management firm for $52 Billion and a sale of one of its technology portfolio companies for $25 Billion.
At least he was; until New York City’s top prosecutor ordered his arrest on the indictment charges.
Seven months after Steven Canady’s initial arrest, Cyrus Vance Jr. ordered his re-arrest allowing the fashion designer to be included in the indictment through a “back door” process over advisory services that had been successfully rendered by Alliance Warburg.
While building a case against him, prosecutors threatened his clients with indictments if they did not agree to testify alleging to be victims. When clients insisted they were satisfied with the performance of Mr. Canady and the firm, law enforcement agents were deployed to their homes by Mr. Vance’s troops as a form of intimidation to convince the clients to capitulate.
Possibly the most horrifying detail though, is the violence. Prosecutors purportedly coerced an inmate to cause bodily harm to Canady in the form of a head injury in exchange for a reduction of the inmate’s sentence. This deliberate violent act was carried out in December 2016.
During the pendency of Steven Canady’s trial this year – which lasted for almost two months – Vance’s prosecutors were involved in corruption. The team altered emails and bank records and forged documents. This was done as a sign of their commitment to winning at all costs, even if that meant breaking the law they themselves once swore to uphold. The prosecutors routinely encouraged witnesses to deviate from the truth, committing perjury. Unfortunately, though, this went uncontested because of Vance’s strategic move to keep Canady’s testimony and any evidence exonerating him far away from the courtroom and out of the presence of the jury. This was achieved by violating his constitutional rights by not allowing him to testify or present any evidence or to call any witness on his behalf.
The one witness that was permitted to testify, who was one of Mr. Canady’s former attorneys, was contacted by Mr. Vance’s office and threatened that “her life would be ruined” if she testified on his behalf. The threat met its objective and the witness did not appear in court to testify.
Had the jurors been made aware that;
- Canady reported the matter that he was being prosecuted for to the Manhattan DA’s office in August 2010;
- during the period of the alleged crime the firm secured over $100 Billion in “irrevocable” financial commitments from institutional investors including Rock Financial owned by Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers;
- Canady was a part of a team based in Geneva, Switzerland that managed one of the world’s largest private portfolio of assets after selling his biotechnology company that created implantable closed-loop artificial intelligent drug delivery systems;
- Canady was cleared by the Secret Service and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission four year and seven year investigations respectively for this very matter;
- Canady negotiated with the former Chairman and CEO of a major global bank who was close to President Obama to spearhead the firm’s acquisition of the global investment bank for $52 Billion USD;the outcome of this trial may have been different. But the jurors did not have an opportunity to hear these justice-changing details. Unfortunately, and unfairly, Steven Canady was not permitted to testify or present any evidence.
What weighs heavily in this odd case is the question: what if? What if Canady made a campaign contribution to Mr. Vance? Could this whole trial have been avoidable altogether?
Instead, Canady sits in a maximum security New York State prison serving an indeterminate sentence of 6 to 18 years pending appeal. To put this in perspective, Samuel Hiller received a sentence of 1 to 3 years after pleading guilty to embezzling $12 Million from special needs students ages 3 to 5 years old.
To add insult to injury, the day after Mr. Canady was sentenced, his attorney, Daniel DeMaria was forced by Cyrus Vance Jr. to submit an unauthorized letter to the court stating that Mr. Canady did not oppose paying for restitution in the case.
The day following the submission of this letter, Vance Jr. had DeMaria’s license to practice law in the state of New York revoked for up to one year as a strategy to delay Mr. Canady’s appeal efforts.
Cyrus Vance Jr.’s actions throughout this case and his calculated efforts to impede a fair trial for Steven Canady again poses the question, “what if Canady had simply made a campaign donation?”
Ongoing Support Efforts for Steven Canady
To show your support to Steven Canady, please visit his Facebook page to call for justice.
If you would like to contribute a donation, please visit the following site:https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/a-wrongful-conviction-justice-for-steven-canady