A trove of document released today by federal authorities revealed how convicted stock fraudster Felix Sater provided a wealth of information on everything from the Mafia to al Qaeda to prosecutors — and how thrilled they were with his help.
“Sater continuously worked with prosecutors and law enforcement agents to provide information crucial to the conviction of over twenty individuals, including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud, members of La Cosa Nostra organized crime families and international cybercriminals,” federal prosecutors said in the newly revealed August 2009 letter to Judge I. Leo Glasser, in which they asked the judge to grant leniency for Sater.
Among the things that Sater — who wound up serving no time — handed over to the US government were the numbers for Osama bin Laden’s satellite phones after 9/11 and info that helped track his movements.
According to the ten-year-old documents — which were made public under orders from a Brooklyn federal judge — Sater, 53, began providing “extraordinary cooperation” to US investigators after he was caught up in the late 1990s in a stock fraud scheme.
At one point, he went undercover to help root out Russian cybercriminals who were siphoning money from American accounts. He also relayed the details of plots by terrorists to assassinate President George W. Bush and shoot down a plane carrying Secretary of State Colin Powell, though the exact nature of those details were not provided.
“His cooperation has covered a stunning array of subject matter, ranging from sophisticated local and international criminal activity to matters involving the world’s most dangerous terrorists and rogue states,” federal prosecutors said in the documents, as they asked the judge to spare Sater from both jail and probation.
Sater went “above and beyond” what was expected of him as a government cooperator and that he “put himself in great jeopardy in so doing.”
Sater’s cooperation led to a guilty plea by Bonanno capo Frank Coppa Jr. — who helped to take down family boss Jospeh Massino, according to court papers.
After 9/11, Sater provided “credible” information about bin Laden, including his whereabouts and a list of the Sudanese banks where he stashed his money.
Sater, who was born in Moscow and whose family immigrated to the US when he was eight years old, eventually landing in Brighton Beach, had been a rising star on Wall Street in the 1980s and became a managing director at Lehman Brothers in 1991.
In 1998 he was convicted of racketeering related to a pump and dump stock scheme. He remained free as he spent years helping the feds. He final sentence that was issued after the letter was submitted is confidential, but he did no jail time.
Sater could not be reached for comment. It was not made clear in the papers how he managed to come across any of this information, only saying that he had “overseas contacts.”
He said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Friday, he said he decided to cooperate with prosecutors to make up for his checkered past.
“I have done wrongs, but when I go before my maker, I know that I did a lot more good than I did wrong,” he said.
As for Sater’s dealings, he played a major role in an unsuccessful proposal to build a Trump-branded skyscraper in Moscow and also worked for the development firm Bayrock Group, which was a partner in the Trump Soho project and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Florida.
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