Patterson Attorney Sentenced to 18 Months’ Imprisonment for Obstructing Federal Grand Jury Investigation of His Client
At the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, John Servider was sentenced by United States District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano to 18 months’ imprisonment and fined $1,000 for obstructing a grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of New York. Specifically, Servider conspired to alter, and did alter, records responsive to a grand jury subpoena by removing the name of his client, Vincent Vertuccio. From 1988 until his conviction at trial in May 2018, Servider had been licensed by the State of New York to practice law.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and Jonathan D. Larsen, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), Michael C. Mikulka, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations (DOL OIG), and Michael Nestor, Inspector General, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Office of Inspector General (PA-OIG), announced the sentence.
“With today’s sentence, Servider pays the price for violating the law and his oath as an attorney by impeding a federal grand jury investigation of his client,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Crimes like those committed by the defendant undermine the integrity of our criminal justice system. Attorneys who commit such crimes are on notice that this Office will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
“It’s unconscionable that a licensed attorney would corruptly assist a client with evidence tampering in order to evade income taxes,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen. “When IRS special agents begin their career, they take an oath to uphold the constitution, a similar oath Mr. Servider swore to when he became a practicing attorney.”
“John Servider violated the law and his oath as an officer of the court when he obstructed a grand jury investigation by deliberately providing the grand jury with false documents,” said DOL OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Mikulka. “Today’s sentencing affirms the Office of Inspector General’s commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to hold those who obstruct criminal investigations accountable for their actions.”
“Servider’s conduct was egregious on many ethical and legal levels. His criminal conduct in altering documents to a federal grand jury subpoena was an effort to obstruct the Government’s investigation, and was also an effort to mislead the federal Grand Jury,” stated PA-OIG Inspector General Nestor. “These actions are particularly serious given that Servider had been an attorney. The PA-OIG thanks its law enforcement partners for the cooperative effort exhibited throughout this investigation and prosecution.”
In March 2013, Servider learned that federal law enforcement agencies were investigating Vertuccio for receiving unreported income – including Rolex watches and other expensive jewelry – from Crimson Corporation, a construction company that he controlled as a silent partner. After a grand jury subpoena was served on a jewelry store, Servider and Vertuccio agreed to alter the store’s receipts and invoices by removing any mention of Vertuccio. As part of the scheme, Servider also instructed Crimson Corporation principals to destroy other evidence relevant to the grand jury investigation.
Vertuccio pleaded guilty in April 2017 to filing a false tax return and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment in October 2018.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Tanya Hajjar and Jonathan P. Lax are in charge of the prosecution.
Patterson, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-174 (ENV)