Hello, my name is Ally Georgiou. I'm from Canada -just turned 24- oldest of five children (top right). I'm posting this to ask for your help. My father, George (pictured), was taken from us nearly 13 years ago, and we desperately want and need him back. Please spare a few moments to read some of our story, and if possible, find it in your hearts to join this petition.
In 2000, when I was 3, we discovered that my 18-month-old little brother, Johnny, had a lemon-sized brain tumour. To this day, words cannot describe without tears, the pain and suffering our family went through. We spent years in and out of hospital, with Johnny treated under the saintly care of Doctor Eric Bouffet and the amazing staff at Toronto Sick Kids. Over six years, Johnny underwent three resection surgeries, constant chemotherapy, high-dose chemo, stem cell transplant, and cranial spinal radiation. He was fearless, always the strongest of us all. My mother was heartbroken and my father was like a crazy man, obsessed, scouring the globe endlessly to find a cure. As a highly religious man, he was shaken to the core.
That is when Kevin Waltzer from Pennsylvania came into our lives.
Mr. Waltzer was involved in a small biotechnology company developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases - they needed money. My father was in the business of funding such ventures. Mr. Waltzer persuaded my father to provide capital.
In February 2006, we lost Johnny. No scale could weigh our family's grief. As my father recounts, that is when Mr. Waltzer visited us in Canada, offering his condolences, friendship, and compassion...but there was an alternate agenda. Mr. Waltzer represented that he owed legitimate back-taxes, and needed my father to save him before it turned into an IRS criminal tax-evasion. Mr. Waltzer's words were, "George, you know what it's like to lose a child, please don't let me lose mine." Consumed with emotion, my father arranged for Mr. Waltzer to receive over US $6 million. Unbeknownst at the time, Mr. Waltzer was a global criminal; a fraudster of massive proportions, having stolen over $45 million from insurance settlements.
Once Mr. Waltzer realized US authorities were onto him, his lies and thefts went into a frenzy, stealing from my father and a long list of other soft-targets. Mr. Waltzer then paid top criminal lawyers millions of dollars to cut a deal for him with US prosecutors, to become a criminal cooperator and informant. The US Attorney's office authorized him to go out and secretly record 100 public citizens. He told the prosecutors that my father was a stock market manipulator, notwithstanding my father had zero such history. It was July 2007, the day after my paternal grandfather had passed away, when Mr. Waltzer started recording my dad.
My grandfather had been stricken for many years with multiple sclerosis. My father had tended and cared for him lovingly and constantly for over 20 years, including taking him to church every Sunday, pushing him in his wheelchair before the congregation so he could receive Holy Communion. My father was a good son. In September 2008, after 15 months of recordings, but unable to make a case, Mr. Waltzer lured my father to the US under the auspices of repaying the US $6 million. My father never came home. My mother was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my little sister at the time. She gave birth without him.
My father had a global Rolodex of high-profile contacts. The US prosecutors wanted my dad to work as Mr. Waltzer had to accuse and convict others. My father refused. They eventually offered my father a six-year prison term if he would plead guilty. Believing in his innocence, he went to trial testifying in his own defence. Alas, one can picture the setting: my father was being accused of stock market manipulation at a time Bernie Madoff's largest Ponzi scheme in history was daily news and while the stock and real estate markets had crashed from the economic crisis. The jurors who would decide my father's fate were almost all from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, having to choose this foreigner, or the frothing accusations of their local federal prosecutors, whilst presided over by an elderly US federal judge who had never granted relief to a criminal defendant in 30 years.
In February 2010, my father was convicted. Notably, the case had nearly no American nexus, instead, focused almost entirely on a few Bahamian brokerage firms. To punish my father for not becoming their informant, he was given a 25-year sentence, the same as Viktor Bout, the "Merchant of Death."
Post-trial, it was learned that a massive trove of evidence had been withheld from my father's defence. This included that Mr. Waltzer had been under psychiatric care and medicated under mind-altering drugs for nearly 20 years, while snorting cocaine five days per week. No criminal defence attorney or legal scholar (of the dozens who have looked at the case), feel my father received a fair trial. In fact, in 2015, a large group of former Justice Department officials signed a petition that my father had been denied due process. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/us/politics/ex-justice-dept-officials-argue-against-federal-prosecutors-in-supreme-court-brief.html. Infuriatingly, the Courts refused to listen, taking the side of the US prosecutors each and every time.
Then it got worse: In 2016/17, my father uncovered another, larger trove of evidence withheld from trial. This included that Mr. Waltzer was informing with the FBI during the time he was supposedly conspiring with my father. Also, a fresh review of the actual securities trades showed that the transactions Mr. Waltzer testified were part of the supposed manipulation, had never even occurred. By comparing all of the new evidence against Mr. Waltzer's trial testimony, it was now crystal clear he had repeatedly lied to have my father convicted. At the hearing which followed, my father was even able to extract effective confessions from Mr. Waltzer that he lied. I won't belabour all of those proceedings, but here are some of the briefs filed in support:
Nevertheless, faced with overwhelming proof of unfairness and denial of due process, again the prosecutors and Courts refused to provide my father relief.
He remains rotting in an American jail.
But a glimmer of hope: the federal judge who denied my father relief for so many years has been replaced by a new Judge. Under new law, the First Step Act, my father can now apply for Compassionate Release; essentially, sentence reduction. I'm not accusing anyone of wrongdoing, other than Mr. Waltzer, but a 25-year sentence for a first offence, non-violent, white collar case, involving predominantly Bahamian brokerage firms, shocks the conscience.
My father is a good and loving man. You do not need to decide the issue of guilt or innocence to support me, nor whether my father has been denied due process. I simply ask that you join this petition so that the new Judge can see that other members of society support sentence reduction for my father.
"Please help send my son home”
My grandmother (George’s mom) with my brother, Christopher.