Samir Cabrera begins 10-year prison sentence

RAW VIDEO: Cabrera walks into court

NBC-2: Convicted real estate agent to begin ...

— Samir Cabrera, the Fort Myers real estate agent convicted of fraud and money laundering, has been taken into custody.

Weeks after a federal judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison and moments after a last-minute effort to delay the transfer, Cabrera, 32, today removed his gray suit jacket, belt and striped tie, and walked with a U.S. Marshal out of the courtroom through a side door.

He was never handcuffed, and he waved goodbye to wife, Jessica Stilwell, mouthing "I love you."

Cabrera's attorneys had asked that his prison date be postponed 90 days. They noted that the Bureau of Prisons had yet to designate a facility for Cabrera, and that he would likely be held in the Lee County jail.

U.S. District Court Judge John E. Steele denied the motion.

"There's no good time to go to jail," he said. "There's no good jail to go to."

If taken to the Lee County jail, Cabrera could be placed in protective custody, due to the high-profile nature of his case

From earlier

Barring a last-minute change, convicted real estate agent Samir Cabrera will hand himself over to federal authorities on Friday to begin his 10-year prison sentence.

Cabrera, 32, was found guilty of 11 fraud and money laundering charges in January.

He is hoping for a reprieve. His lawyers on Thursday filed a motion requesting a 90-day delay in the transfer, stating that because the federal Bureau of Prisons had not decided which prison to send Cabrera to, he would be kept at a local jail in the meantime, where he could become a target.

“Due to the publicity surrounding his case, it is likely that he will be subject to harassment, and there are reasonable concerns for his physical safety,” the motion reads.

Lee County jailers say they are prepared to house him, temporarily. Capt. Thomas Eberhardt, commander of the Ortiz Jail facility, said that as of Thursday afternoon, official word was that Cabrera’s destination remained in the air.

“Last I heard, they weren’t sure if they were going to take him directly to the federal prison or if he’d be spending time with us,” he said.

A Bureau of Prisons official on Thursday declined to look into Cabrera’s case, but said that if the motion was correct, such circumstances would be unusual.

“Typically they know where they’re going by the date they turn themselves in,” said Victoria Joseph, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons.

A search of the Bureau of Prison Web site found a record for Cabrera, but it did not name a facility at which he will be kept.

Cabrera has remained on bond throughout his trial and sentencing, a fact noted in his Thursday motion.

He has sought to remain on bond during appeal, but District Court Judge John E. Steele denied the request.

Steele granted a request that Cabrera’s sentence include the provision that he be kept as close to Fort Myers as possible.

Eberhardt, the jail official, said it’s not unusual for the jails to hold federal prisoners waiting for a facility. The county’s two jail facilities currently hold dozens of federal defendants and prisoners, many of whom are awaiting trial or sentencing. The Bureau of Prisons reimburses the jail for each day of custody, Eberhardt said.

Cabrera, as a high-profile inmate, may be allowed to choose whether to be placed in general population or protective custody, Eberhardt said. If he chooses the latter, he could be placed in an isolated cell or in a smaller housing area.

Eberhardt said Cabrera’s status must first be gauged if he was brought to the jail.

Other stipulations in Cabrera’s sentence include three years of supervised release following his release and participation in a 500-hour intensive drug treatment program while incarcerated. Cabrera is also required to forfeit $75,500.

Friday’s restitution hearing will determine the number of victims of Cabrera’s schemes and the amount of money each will receive from the forfeiture.

Cabrera bilked investors of $2.8 million in a pair of land flips linked to two south Fort Myers developments. When both developments dried up, investors lost everything.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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