A Forest Hills-based criminal defense attorney, who went by the nickname “Mighty Whitey,” learned his fate in a Brooklyn courtroom Friday for making false statements to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Scott Brettenschneider, 62, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Carol B. Amon to 60 days of confinement in a community center, 4 years of probation, 80 hours of community service, and fined $2,000 for conspiring to make, and making, a false statement to the federal agency.
Brettschneider was convicted following a five-day trial in April for his role in fabricating a false statement to the BOP to assist an inmate to gain entry to a substance abuse program and thereby obtain an early release from prison. Brettschneider and two co-defendants agreed to prepare and submit a fraudulent letter to the BOP about the drug treatment history of inmate Richard Marshall, Brettschneider’s client and a source of client referrals, who was sentenced to 36 months in prison for distributing cocaine in 2014.
If successful their scheme would have resulted in Marshall’s gaining entry to the Residential Drug Abuse Program in prison, and potential early release from custody. Brettschneider tasked his part-time paralegal, Reginald Shabazz-Muhammad, with the job of writing the fraudulent letter, and co-defendant Charles Gallman acted as the middle man between Marshall and Brettschneider.
Court-authorized wiretaps revealed the defendants talking to Marshall on a smuggled cell phone in prison, discussing what the letter should state to ensure Marshall’s acceptance into the program. Gallman, a resident of Queens, predicted the letter would “knock a year off his sentence” and doubted that the BOP would be “scrutinizing it that much.” As it turned out, the BOP did scrutinize it, and requested that Marshall submit progress reports on his past treatment, according to court filings.
“Brettschneider has now been held accountable for breaking the law he had been sworn to uphold,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue said. “This office is committed to prosecuting those who defraud federal programs.
Donoghue extended his appreciation to the FBI, which led the investigation, and thanked the Queens District Attorney’s office for their assistance in the case.
Marshall pleaded guilt to conspiracy to make false statements, and was sentenced on October 6, 2018 to three years’ probation and a fine of $1,500. Shabazz-Muhammad, also from Queens, pleaded guilty to making false statements, and was sentenced on January 30, 2019 to to years’ probation and a fine of $1,000.
Gallman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements and to violating the Travel Act for bribing a witness, and was sentenced on March 20, 2019 to three years’ imprisonment.