In May 2010, Frederick Oberlander filed a civil racketeering complaint in the Southern District of New York on behalf of a former Bayrock employee, claiming that Bayrock LLC had committed tax fraud to the tune of $250 million USD.[1] This was formally filed in Kriss v. BayRock Group, 10-cv-3959, the case that spurred over half a decade of legal drama in which Oberlander was the chief antagonist. During the case, Oberlander used federally sealed documents containing information about Felix Sater, who was previously employed by Bayrock Group.[2]

Sater and his attorneys argued that Oberlander should be charged with contempt of court, since the documents were federally sealed and could not have been obtained through legal means. Oberlander, with his attorney Richard Lerner, disputed this. Ultimately, Oberlander was charged with contempt of court, after failing to follow several court orders specifying proper use of the documents. To further understand the extent of Oberlander’s pathological untrustworthiness, it is worth scrutinizing the court orders and the requirements made of Oberlander by US Eastern District Judges Glasser and Cogan.

Within days of the May 2010 case, Felix Sater’s attorneys obtained sealing and gag orders against Oberlander.[3] A gag order, also known as a “suppression order,” is a judicial order restricting information from becoming public knowledge.[4] In the case of Kriss v. Bayrock, this referred to the documents which Oberlander had obtained.  In June 2011, the Eastern District issued a court order against Oberlander, demanding that he abide by the gag order placed on him.[5] Presiding over the case, Judge Glasser argued that “Mr. Oberlander had knowingly and intentionally flouted a court order by unilaterally deciding to disclose information from [Felix Sater’s] sealed case.”[6] The judge placed a court order on Oberlander to ensure no future breaches of conduct. A court order is essentially a legal demand upon an individual to act or refrain from acting in some particular way.[7] In the case of Oberlander, this meant abiding by the gag order and desisting from any further use of the sealed documents in the courtroom.

In 2013, Oberlander attempted to challenge the gag order and subsequent court order in the Supreme Court.[8] The Supreme Court sided with the Eastern District and Sater’s attorney, stating that the ruling of the Eastern District was to be left “undisturbed”.[9] With a Supreme Court ruling against Oberlander, it was now abundantly clear that he was on the wrong side of the issue.

In2016, Judge Cogan of the Eastern District, expressed that Oberlander and his affiliate Richard Lerner, were in serious risk of violating their court order.[10] In his six-page opinion, he detailed how twice in the past four years, he referred Oberlander and Lerner to the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office for investigation. This was to determine whether they should be charged with criminal contempt for disclosing information from a sealed court file.[11] Judge Cogan argued that Oberlander’s repeated attempts to refute the Court’s rulings on the use of Sater’s files put him in contempt of court orders. This was further supported by arguments from Sater’s attorneys, in which they claimed that Oberlander had engaged in “a relentless campaign to extort a settlement”.[12]

A 2015 continuation of Kriss v. Bayrock substantiated and supported the claims made by Judge Cogan. The court ruled that Oberlander had defied the court orders by refusing to disclose the source of information underlying the allegations of the complaint in the lawsuit and imposed sanctions by striking substantial portions of the complaint. Furthermore, it ordered all case files to be handed over to the attorneys representing Bayrock.[13] Justice prevailed, and it was clear that Oberlander had broken the law and the ethical code of his profession.

The issue finally came to a head in 2018, when Oberlander appeared before the attorney grievance committee of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The grievance committee ruled that over the past eight years, Oberlander had engaged in both discourteous and illegal conduct, acting in an unacceptable way during several court proceedings and arguing for the use of illegally obtained evidence. His conduct was deemed to negatively reflect on his profession as a lawyer and to violate professional rules of conduct and numerous court orders.[14] In the end, none of these rulings would stop him and he was ultimately suspended from the Bar in 2018.

There can be no conclusion other than that Frederick Oberlander is unequivocally and absolutely untrustworthy. He violated a court order demanding that he refrain from using the sealed and confidential information that he was alleged to have obtained unlawfully. He then attempted to fight this order, and to use the files in complete derision of due process. Oberlander is fortunate to have been suspended for just a year. Based on his conduct, and his blatant disregard for both ethics and the rules of the court, this crooked lawyer should be treated like a drug cheat in the sports world. He should not be allowed the privilege of prosecuting another case in his life. The truth about Frederick Oberlander is that he is a corrupt and thoroughly immoral individual.

[1] https://www.businessinsider.in/New-York-court-dismisses-250-million-tax-fraud-case-against-Russia-born-former-Trump-associate/articleshow/60863181.cms

[2] https://www.vox.com/2018/12/6/18127229/trump-felix-sater-tower-moscow-spy

[3] https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCOURTS-nyed-1_16-mc-00706/pdf/USCOURTS-nyed-1_16-mc-00706-0.pdf

[4] https://legaldictionary.net/gag-order/

[5] https://www.newsday.com/long-island/u-s-supreme-court-rejects-review-of-li-lawyer-s-gag-order-1.4899990

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/nyregion/charges-considered-for-lawyer-who-revealed-witnesss-name.html

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Court_order

[8] https://www.newsday.com/long-island/u-s-supreme-court-rejects-review-of-li-lawyer-s-gag-order-1.4899990

[9] https://www.newsday.com/long-island/u-s-supreme-court-rejects-review-of-li-lawyer-s-gag-order-1.4899990

[10] https://wiselawny.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/with-trump-in-picture-judges-push-for-contempt-against-2-lawyers-may-falter/

[11]https://wiselawny.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/with-trump-in-picture-judges-push-for-contempt-against-2-lawyers-may-falter/

[12] Case 1:16-mc-02637-AMD Document 14

[13] Kriss et al. v. Bayrock Group, LLC, et al., 2015, Case 1:10-cv-03959-LGS-FM

[14] Case 1:16-mc-02637-AMD Document 14

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