Hope for Past Wrongful Conviction Cases?
With New Federal Prosecutors Like Glenn McCormick the Jury is Still Out
By Ron Lee
Editor – US~Observer
With a new presidential administration there comes fresh US Attorneys heading departments all around the country, some just in an acting role. One such US Attorney is Arizona District’s Glenn McCormick, who was tapped to head the department on April 24th, 2021. For over the last twenty years, McCormick had previously served in various roles in the District of Arizona office.
One must wonder if these new appointees, like McCormick, will be more justice oriented than their predecessors, especially in cases like Michael Quiel’s where he was wrongly prosecuted and convicted. Will McCormick and the rest of the Biden appointees be more amicable to the idea of evidence-based justice or will they, too, be focused on protecting their office’s reputations and letting innocent victims of false prosecution suffer for it? Time will tell. Does Liberal and Conservative apply to the legal world, or are those practicing in this troubled system simply in a world of their own?
For Michael Quiel, any variation in leadership of the Arizona office could be a good change. Since Quiel’s conviction of tax crimes on April 11, 2013, he has adamantly maintained his innocence and fought to clear his name in every way possible. Quiel believes that McCormick, who now heads the same office that prosecuted him, can take a fresh look at his conviction, and vacate it on the evidence that shows Quiel’s innocence – evidence which the US~Observer has published.
It is a fact that Michael Quiel was taken advantage of twice.
First by his own tax attorney, Christopher Rusch – now known as Christian Reeves. Rusch absconded with a great deal of Quiel’s money after Rusch was given start-up capital in a venture he created and operated.
Quiel and his business partner Stephen Kerr, who also invested, were ultimately held liable for Rusch’s illegal use of those funds. You see, Mr. Quiel was told by Rusch that he was a passive minority investor in the venture, and all of the paperwork which Rusch had created was very precise – both Quiel and Kerr were minority interest holders with no control. Attorney Rusch had also placed some of Quiel and Kerr’s assets in an account with UBS Switzerland AG. It is a well established fact that Rusch had set the account up in Quiel and Kerr’s names while making it so only he and his hand-picked representative could access funds.
According to Quiel, the government attack on him started in 2010 when his tax preparer, Michael Stuck was subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury. But really it started after the federal government began investigating foreign banks in 2007 – chiefly UBS Switzerland AG – to snare would-be tax dodgers. During the investigation, UBS Switzerland capitulated to the US Government and handed them the names of 4,450 U.S. Citizen account holders. It was the first major tax evasion controversy UBS was involved in and was seen as a historically significant event in the banking industry of Switzerland. When the government combed through the accounts, they found the account Rusch had created, and even though Quiel could not access the funds in the account as previously stated, the DOJ made it a mission to get convictions of the account holders.
Soon thereafter the government arrested Rusch. Because Rusch had created the UBS bank account in Quiel and Kerr’s names, Rusch was able to finger his benefactors as the orchestrators of his scheme.
What a great scam as an attorney, offer advice to your clients, have the authority to make decisions without your client’s knowledge, steal money from them, and then turn on them for your own wrongdoing when you get in trouble.
Michael Quiel was then taken advantage of by the federal government who wanted picture-perfect convictions to show they were being hard on Americans using foreign banks to dodge paying taxes – they could have cared less about an attorney stealing from his clients. And that was lucky for Rusch who was all too eager to help create the appearance that both Quiel and Kerr had tried to avoid paying taxes.
Enter Assistant United States Attorney (Ausa) Monica Edlestein. Michael Quiel considers Monica Edelstein the most dangerous type of AUSA. As the prosecutor of his criminal charges, he maintains she created evidence, presented that false evidence to a jury, and mislead the jury all the way to his false conviction.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey must have thought Edlestein would be “tough on crime” when he gave her a judgeship in the Maricopa County superior Court, in 2020.
Apparently not everyone values integrity when considering appointments. Either that or Governor Ducey didn’t do his due diligence in vetting Edlestein. If he had, he most assuredly would have seen the prior US~Observer articles exposing her ploy to utilize Rusch’s false testimony to get the Quiel conviction.
As a prosecutor, the primary thing that advances your career is convictions. The dark-side of that is that prosecutors, like now-judge Edlestein, don’t all play by the rules to get convictions, and the justice system will forever be broken as long as unethical behavior is rewarded, not held accountable.
The main problem with Edlestein and Rusch’s concocted narrative, which did not come out until after the trial at sentencing, was the fact that Michael Quiel owed no taxes. Actually, he was owed money for overpayment, and even received a check from the IRS which he presented to the court. The jury had however already found him guilty and he was wrongly sentenced to prison.
Volumes can be written on Michael Quiel’s false conviction. In fact, the US~Observer has written extensively on the topic. Not only have our investigations into Quiel’s claims proven his innocence, our set-up and meeting with Christopher Rusch proved Rusch is still scamming people under the name Christian Reeves.
Because of the deal Rusch cut with the federal government Rusch served a very short prison term. He was quickly able to procure his passport and go on offering foreign bank investment advice to unsuspecting American clients, even though he was stripped of his bar license.
Rusch has literally continued the same scam of bilking investors out of funds to set-up offshore accounts thereby potentially creating a legal nightmare for these investors when the federal government comes calling.
As for Michael Quiel, he has written a book titled Rigged: The Michael Quiel Story outlining his case. He believes he can help others who face false charges by donating the profits from his book for their defense. Ultimately, Quiel hopes one day to have his conviction vacated.
So far, no one in the US Attorney’s office has given Michael Quiel the time of day to look back over his case. Let us hope that Glenn McCormick respects the tenets of justice; that McCormick will break from the long-standing tradition of protecting his office from past mistakes; and that McCormick will side with the facts and vindicate a man whose life has been turned upside down ever since he was convicted of a crime he did not commit.
Supplemental: On April 16, 2021, an individual contacted the US~Observer saying that they had been in communication with Chistopher Rusch / Christian Reeves. While going through the motions to get a meeting with Rusch / Reeves regarding his offshore investment plans, the individual felt something was amiss and did some good old fashioned due diligence.
According to this person, they found the articles written by the US~Observer and believe we saved them from a scammer.
One question remains, how is Chistopher Rusch / Christian Reeves still allowed to offer offshore investment plans and give financial advice? Perhaps we should ask Judge Edelstein.