SAN FRANCISCO — The appellate attorney in financial fraudster Jasper Knabb’s effort to reduce his sentence has asked to withdraw from the case, saying she found no grounds for his appeal.
San Francisco lawyer Renée Paradis filed a brief Dec. 28 that seeks removal as Knabb’s attorney, called an Anders brief, citing “failure to discover any arguable issues on appeal.”
Knabb, who lived in East Wenatchee at the time of his July 2011 guilty plea to $30 million in securities fraud, bilked investors in the technology firm Pegasus Wireless by pumping up the stock price and secretly issuing shares to himself and a partner. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White imposed a 21-year prison sentence last June — higher than the 6-1/2 year deal recommended by federal prosecutors — noting that the scheme had wiped out several victims’ retirement savings.
“This is a defendant who lived high on the hog with other people’s money,” said White. “Somebody who used Gulf Stream jets, yachts, Ferraris, Rolex watches.”
Knabb filed notice of appeal shortly after sentencing, although he did not cite grounds for the motion. His guilty plea included a waiver of his rights to appeal or withdraw the plea.
In 2010 he married Laura Valaas of Wenatchee, and settled in East Wenatchee while negotiating his plea agreement. The couple have a young child.
Probation officers and prosecutors said Knabb was evasive about his finances when questioned after his plea, saying he dodged payment for electrical work performed for his wife’s business and auctioned valuable goods through an eBay account under her name.
Knabb owes $41 million in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which sued him in 2009. At sentencing, White criticized the criminal prosecution’s efforts to total up Knabb’s thefts.
“I don’t think they have adequately, accurately, aggressively pursued the money this man stole from these people,” the judge said.
Knabb is held in the medium-security federal detention center in Sheridan, Ore. His appeal remains open.
Jefferson Robbins: 664-7123