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Initially the sentencing hearing of Mr. Adrian Fox on the misdemeanors of “Harboring Alien Conspiracy and Negligent Operation of Vessel” was scheduled to be held on Wednesday, 13th October, 2021 but was adjourned to Friday, 15thOctober, 2021 at 3:00pm before the Hon. Denise L. Cote, US District Court.  

The aforementioned adjournment was decided on 2nd September, 2021 and reiterated on 5th October, 2021.

The Sentencing Hearing took place in Courtroom 18b, 500 Pearl Street, US Court House, New York, New York 10007. Family and friends were permitted in the courtroom and those who were unable to attend were able to dial in via telephone conference 888-363-4749, access code 4324948.


JUDGE: Hon Denise L. Cote


DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Alex Spiro (Lead) and William Weinreb

GOVERNMENT ATTORNEY: Female (Name Unknown)

CHARGES: Harboring Alien Conspiracy, Negligent Operation of Vessel

SENTENCE: Time Served, 1 Year Supervised Release with payment of $25 Assessment Fee and $5,000 Penalty. Same is due to be paid 30 days post sentencing (15/10/2021)


At the start of the sentencing hearing Mr. Fox was placed under oath after which he underwent a line of questioning from Judge Cote to determine if he was competent to enter a plea of guilty.

He provided the following responses which confirmed his competency:

Name: Adrian Fox

Age: 52

Level of Education Completed: 11th Grade

Mental Illness: No

Drugs/Pills Consumption: No

Alcohol Consumed in Last 24hrs: None

Clear Mind: Yes

Judge Cote informed the Court that as a result of Mr. Fox’s guilty plea he would give up his right to testify if he chooses, give up his right to appeal and will be sentenced thereafter.

She further informed that she had read the submissions by the United States Government and Mr. Fox’s Defense Attorneys and informed of the following activities of Mr. Fox from 2005 to 2008:

“Between 2005 to 2008, Mr. Fox aided and abetted others in the operation of a vessel in territorial waters of the United States of AmericaThe operation was grossly negligent consequently endangering lives. The area/territory included the Sothern district of New York or elsewhere within the jurisdiction of the United States.

By way of penalties, she would not be able to sentence him to more than one (1) year in prison. However, there is a period of supervised release that last up to one year subject to supervised monitoring. One must comply and if not compliant will be imprisoned. The maximum fined for a crime of this nature is $100,000, as well as the payment of an assessment fee to the Courts of $25.

There are serious immigration consequences she emphasized. No one is able to determine the prediction of this sentencing and if pleading guilty one has to be bound by this plea.”

Judge Cote questioned Mr. Fox if he had been threatened to plead guilty of which he responded “no.” She further questioned if he had seen his existing plea agreement with the United States of America containing five (5) pages of which his signature was on the last page. He confirmed “yes he had seen it and read and discussed it with his attorneys.”

She asked Mr. Fox to describe in his own words what transpired during the period of 2005 – 2008. He responded that “he was guilty of helping people on an overcrowded vessel. The starting point was Nassau, The Bahamas and the destination was the United States. He was unaware that the vessel was being operated in a negligent way. He found out in 2008.”

Judge Cote added that she understood that he stopped aiding in 2008.

The Government Representative intimated that the vessel was headed to Florida and consequently was subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Judge Cote informed that she had a pre-sentence report dated May 20, 2021 and questioned Attorney Spiro if he and Mr. Fox had read the document and discussed it. She informed that this document would be taken into consideration. She was also in possession of a letter from the US Government dated 8th October, 2021 and a submission with attachments dated 1st October, 2021.

The Government Representative informed that she would rest on the submission by the Defense Attorneys.

Attorney Spiro requested that the submission be sealed. Judge granted his request and the Government Representative agreed.

Attorney Spiro continued on to his official statement

“15 years ago Mr. Fox did something wrong. He is in court to make amends and to move forward. Mr. Fox withdrew from this conspiracy voluntarily. The way he became involved was very important. Growing up he was poor and abused. He then worked with his supervisor. He made a mistake. He listened to his supervisor to make money. He agreed to help. He ended up aiding his supervisor, getting them on boats.

Since that time to now he has worked hard to fight his way out of poverty. The support in this hall makes that clear…by giving back and helping others. Not just charitable giving, giving during pandemic…. The Bahama Islands is suffering. Mr. Fox is revered there because of the man that he is. He has done other things to make amends. He is here to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. His boss got no jail time. Others involved has had no criminal penalties. 13 years later he is a changed man. Aware of the consequences. He would like to address the court.”

Mr. Fox stated that he knew he did a crime, he was ashamed of his decision, and that he regretted it. He continued that ever since then he has tried to help the community, his country and his daughters.

Judge Cote concluded that

·       it was evident that Mr. Fox withdrew from the activity before being arrested by law enforcement;

·       he has bettered the lives of many people;

·       his voluntary withdrawal speaks volumes;

·       he has no criminal history otherwise;

·       there was no point of incarceration;

·       time of imprisonment is time served, one year (1) supervised release;

·       he has to pay $5,000 as penalty which will be due in 30 days, post today’s sentencing; and

·       he has to pay $25 assessment fee.

The Government Representative moved to dismiss the indictment and Defense Attorney Spiro added nothing further. Court was dismissed.