Bail yanked for Wall Streeter

By Anthony M. Destefano
Newsday, Inc.
April 19, 2004

The multi-million dollar bail for a noted Wall Street short seller was revoked yesterday by a Brooklyn federal judge after federal agents charged the trader tried to fly from MacArthur Airport on Saturday with false identification papers.

Amr Elgindy, 36, had been free on $2.5 million bail since September 2002 after he was arrested along with a former FBI agent on securities fraud charges.

Prosecutors alleged that Elgindy, who goes by the names "Tony Elgindy" and "Anthony Pacific" tried to manipulate the price of stocks by using the Internet to precipitate price declines.

In court yesterday defense attorney Barry Burke said that Elgindy had been traveling to New York City, with the approval of federal pretrial services, to help his lawyers get ready for a June 1 trial date.

But according to a federal criminal complaint, Elgindy tried to pass through passenger screening Saturday at MacArthur for a flight home to San Diego with a Montana identification card with his picture but in the name of "Herbert Manny Velasco." Elgindy also had a boarding pass for the Southwest Airlines flight in the name of "Manny Velasco," the complaint stated.

The complaint also said that certain codes on boarding passes alert airport security personnel to give additional screening to some passengers and that Elgindy's pass triggered the added scrutiny. Assistant U.S. attorney Ken Breen would not disclose what data triggered the alert.

X-ray scanning of Elgindy's luggage uncovered that he had about $25,000 in U.S. currency and jewelry worth up to $40,000. Elgindy repeatedly claimed he was Velasco even after security personnel and local police found a photo name tag for "Tony Elgindy" in his possession, according to the complaint.

Burke said Elgindy had approval to be in New York from pretrial service officials and notified them that he intended to fly back to California on Monday but changed his itinerary to Saturday. He did not explain to Dearie why Elgindy possessed the false identification.

Dearie, who has often stated that he prefers defendants to have bail, decided that Elgindy, a U.S. citizen and a native of Egypt, was too much of flight risk to stay free.

"I think I would be gravely remiss if I released him," Dearie said as he revoked the bail.

Breen later said that Dearie had not ordered a seizure of the millions of dollars in property Elgindy posted to secure his bail. But the prosecutor hinted such a step could be taken. 

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