Felix Sater, a former resident of Sands Point and ex-associate of President Donald Trump, once said in an interview that his wife described living with him as “like reading next week’s newspaper today” and that just might have been true.
The Russian-born businessman has had frequent appearances in the media over the past year due to his involvement in attempting to broker a Trump Tower Moscow while Trump was running for president.
But last week, a federal judge in Brooklyn unsealed court documents that detail Sater’s cooperation with the FBI from 1998 to 2009 as a result of a deal made after Sater pleaded guilty to involvement in a “pump and dump” scheme, where his company inflated stock prices and sold the shares off once investors started buying in.
The documents were unsealed after The Intercept, an online investigative news site, requested access to them.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), an assistant U.S. attorney at the time of Sater’s 2009 sentencing hearing, described Sater’s cooperation as “extraordinary both in terms of its depth and breadth” in his court testimony.
“Mr. Doe’s cooperation runs a gamut that is seldom seen,” Kaminsky said on behalf of the government at the hearing. “It involves violent organizations such as Al Qaeda, it involves foreign governments, it involves Russian organized crime.”
In the unsealed documents, Sater is often referred to as “Doe” or “Slater” to protect his identity from those whom he helped convict.
And more specifically, Sater’s involvement included various families of La Cosa Nostra, a New York group of mafia families, such as an individual on the ruling board of the Genovese crime family, a captain in the Bonanno crime family, a soldier in the Gambino crime family and “the list goes on and on,” Kaminsky said.
He also said Sater was the FBI’s entry into the types of financial frauds that were being perpetrated in the 1990s when “the criminal financial wizards were one step ahead of law enforcement,” which ended when Sater began cooperating with the FBI.
Leo Taddeo, a former senior FBI agent, testified that Sater “was instrumental bringing Frank Coppa in” which led to further damage to the Bonanno family. Coppa’s case resulted in 19 defendants coming before the court for conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
“Without his cooperation, it would have been a few more years where the FBI would have effectively removed La Cosa Nostra from the penny stock business,” Taddeo said.
In an appeal filed in 2011 on a matter where confidential information on Sater was made public by a practicing attorney, Kaminsky wrote that Sater passed on specific information to the U.S. government about key leaders in al-Qaida and affiliated groups that the government could use to locate them.
“Doe traveled internationally to hostile regions on the government’s behalf to gather information on anti-American groups,” Kaminsky wrote.
Also in the appeal, Kaminsky said that Sater’s cooperation led to the conviction of over 20 people.
Not only did Sater have Kaminsky and Taddeo testify on his behalf, but his attorney said in 2009 that the court had possession of letters from Sater’s rabbi describing his involvement in the community.
In a 2014 speech where Sater was awarded the Chabad of Port Washington’s Man of the Year Award, Rabbi Shalom Paltiel said he had been Sater’s rabbi and friend for over 16 years.
He could not be reached for comment.
Judge Leo Glasser ultimately imposed a $25,000 fine on Sater in 2009 for his involvement in the pump and dump scheme, an enterprise Sater became involved in after losing his stockbroker’s license for slashing a competitor in the face with a broken margarita glass in 1991. He was 25 years old.
In 2003, Sater joined Bayrock Group LLC, a luxury mortgage firm whose home office was on the 24th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan, two floors below the office of Donald Trump, a real estate mogul at the time whom Sater lended his negotiation skills to.
He said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times that he “was building Trump Towers by day and hunting Bin Laden by night.”
After a recent testimony before the House intelligence committee in an effort to gather insight into the proposed Trump Tower Moscow, Sater is said to have “failed to cooperate.”
Sater sold his Sands Point home in February in order to relocate to waterfront property, said local real estate agent Kathy Levinson. He purchased the home in 2004 and moved from another property within Port Washington.