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A Queens criminal defense attorney was indicted with three other individuals for allegedly making false statements about a client’s drug use and rehab in an effort to have him sprung from prison early.

Scott Brettschneider, whose practice maintains a Forest Hills office, was arrested on March 26 and is awaiting his arraignment. Also named in the indictment were Charles Gallman and Richard Marshall, who were arrested on March 22, and Reginald Shabazz-Muhammad, who is still at large. The group is being charged with conspiring to make false statements to the United State Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

“The defendants, including a practicing attorney, participated in a scheme to gain a narcotics trafficker early release from prison by falsely informing the Bureau of Prisons that he was a candidate for a drug rehab program,” said United States Attorney Richard P. Donahue.

According to the federal indictment and court documents, the incident in question dates back to 2014, when Marshall — whom Brettschneider represented in court — was sentenced to 36 months in prison for distributing cocaine. Shortly after beginning to serve time, the indictment shows, the defendants allegedly submitted a fraudulent letter to the BOP stating that Marshall had an active drug dependence on alcohol and marijuana. 

The letter was allegedly signed by Shabazz-Muhammad claiming to be Marshall’s drug treatment provider, but he was later revealed to be Brettschneider’s assistant, records show. Their goal was reportedly to get Marshall admitted to the BOP’s Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP), which would have potentially made him eligible to receive a year off his sentence for completing the program, according to the indictment.

The indictment also shows that a court-authorized wiretap revealed the defendants talking to Marshall on a cellphone that was smuggled into the prison, discussing what the letter should say to ensure it would get Marshall into the program. Gallman is quoted in the indictment as saying he doubted the BOP would be “scrutinizing it that much,” but the BOP requested that Marshall submit progress reports of his past treatment as well.

The charges contained in the federal indictment stem from an investigation into Gallman  a South Jamaica resident  conducted by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in which he was charged with bribing witnesses, tampering with a witness and criminal solicitation. Gallman posted $250,000 bond and that case is still pending.

“Integrity is the foundation of our criminal justice system,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “These allegations go to the core of that foundation and are prejudicial to the administration of justice. The charges today send a strong message to those who would undermine that integrity that they will be held accountable.”

The indictment noted that Marshall and Gallman have both served multiple prison sentences in the past, which led prosecutors to seek permanent orders of detention against them in this case.


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