United States District Court, S.D. New York
December 12, 2005.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
JESSE HILSEN, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, District Judge
Defendant Jesse Hilsen ("Hilsen") has pleaded guilty to a
charge of failure to pay court ordered child support obligations
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 228 (a) (3), a class B misdemeanor.
For the reasons set forth below, Hilsen is sentenced to time
served. In addition, Hilsen is sentenced to one year supervised
release and shall be required to pay restitution in the amount of
An information was filed in the Southern District of New York
on July 29, 2003, which charged that from June 1998 up to June
2004, Hilsen, who resided outside the United States, failed to
pay at least approximately $161,975 in past-due payments for the
support and maintenance of his son and daughter, as required by
an order of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, dated on or about August 3, 1988. Hilsen
voluntarily surrendered on June 19, 2004 and has been in custody
since that date. On October 31, 2005, Hilsen appeared before this
court and pleaded guilty to the above charges in accordance with
a plea agreement entered into with the Government. The sentencing
is scheduled for December 12, 2005.
The Sentencing Framework
In accordance with the Supreme Court's decision in United
States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005) and the Second Circuit's
decision in United States v. Crosby, 397 F.3d 103 (2d Cir.
2005), the sentence to be imposed was reached through
consideration of all of the factors identified in
18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), including the advisory Sentencing Guidelines (the
"Guidelines") establishing by the United States Sentencing
Commission. Thus, the sentence to be imposed here is the result
of a consideration of:
(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and
the history and characteristics of the defendant;
(2) the need for the sentence imposed
(A) to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to
promote respect for the law, and to provide just
punishment for the offense;
(B) to afford adequate deterrence to criminal
conduct; (C) to protect the public from further crimes of the
(D) to provide the defendant with needed educational
or vocational training, medical care, or other
correctional treatment in the most effective manner;
(3) the kinds of sentences available;
(4) the kinds of sentence and the sentencing range
(A) the applicable category of offense committed by
the applicable category of defendant as set forth in
the guidelines . . .;
(5) any pertinent policy statement . . . [issued by
the Sentencing Commission];
(6) the need to avoid unwarranted sentence
disparities among defendants with similar records who
have been found guilty of similar conduct; and
(7) the need to provide restitution to any victims of
18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). A sentencing judge is permitted to find all
the facts appropriate for determining a sentence, whether that
sentence is a so-called Guidelines sentence or not. See
Crosby, 397 F.3d at 111.
Jesse Hilsen (birth name Jesse Hilzenradt) was reportedly born
on May 28, 1940 in New York, NY. Hilsen stated that he was reared
in the Bronx, NY, under lower middle-class economic circumstances
by his parents. Hilsen stated that he shared a loving
relationship with his family and that he enjoyed a normal, yet uneventful childhood.
Hilsen resided in the parental home until the age of 23, at
which time he entered medical school, but resided intermittently
at his parent's home.
Hilsen reportedly married Rita Finley in April 1965, in Niagara
Falls, NY. According to Hilsen, they separated in 1984 and were
granted a divorce in 1988. Hilsen asserted that their divorce was
a result of Finley's abuse of sleeping pills, diet pills,
alcohol, sever PMS rage, and just being difficult to live with.
Three children were born to this union: Nicole, 38; Daryl, 36;
and Erik, 31. Erik and Daryl are the subject of the child support
matter. According to Hilsen, his children are aware of his
incarceration as a result of the child support matter and are
upset about it. Hilsen reports that they have remained supportive
of the defendant.
Hilsen married Joan Packles during the late 1980's in the
Dominican Republic, but this union was annulled in 1994. No
children were born to this union.
Hilsen reported marrying Leona Grunenbaum in July 1996 in
Jerusalem, Israel. They were divorced in April 2001, due to
incompatibility problems. No children were born to this union. Hilsen stated that he has resided throughout the world in
search of a place where he could prosper. He reports feeling that
he found prosperity in South Africa. He asserted that he returned
to the United States to seek employment as a result of his
ex-wife, Rita Hilsen, attaching his pension.
At the time of his arrest, Hilsen was residing at uncle's home
in Walkill, NY, while recuperating from his open heart surgery.
He intends to reside with his uncle upon release from custody.
Hilsen reports being in fair health, although he suffers from
mitral valve prolapse, a condition in which heart valves do not
function properly; sleep apnea; high blood pressure; and high
The defendant disclaims having been treated for any mental or
emotional illnesses. He also disclaims ever having used any
illicit substance or alcoholic beverages.
Hilsen stated that he earned a Doctor of Medicine from the
University of Buffalo Medical School, Buffalo, NY, in 1965,
graduated from City College, New York, NY, in 1961 with a
Bachelor of Science degree in science, and graduated from
Christopher Columbus High School, Bronx, NY in 1957. Prior to being incarcerated in June 2004, Hilsen was unemployed
and recuperating from open heart surgery. Prior to that, from
September 2003, until December 2003, Hilsen was the doctor in
charge of two children's units at St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center
in Ogdensburg, NY. He earned $10,000 per month until he stopped
as a result of his heart condition and subsequent surgery.
From 1994 until September 2003, Hilsen was basically unemployed
as a result of his heart condition, and resided in Italy,
Holland, South Africa, New York and Israel. Hilsen stated that he
was seeking employment while living in Europe. He stated that he
was also financially supported by social security benefits and
Hilsen reported having assets in totaling between $12,000 and
$14,000. Hilsen stated that his accounts in South Africa were
frozen by Rita Hilsen, as a part of the instant offense. He
stated that he was uncertain of the balances in those accounts.
With regard to liabilities, Hilsen admitted owing between $2 and
$3 million, which stems from medical bills, and the balance in
judgments to Rita Hilsen. Hilsen is expecting to receive %50 of
the value of household items from his mother's estate.
Hilsen has no prior criminal convictions. The Offense Conduct
On August 3, 1988, Judge Myriam J. Altman ("Judge Altman") of
the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York,
entered a final judgment of divorce between Hilsen and Rita
Hilsen ("the divorce judgment"). The divorce judgment granted
Rita Hilsen custody of second daughter, Daryl, and only son,
Erik, and ordered Hilsen to pay $750 per week in lifetime spousal
support, as well as $200 per week in child support, retroactive
to January 1, 1987. The child support was to continue until Daryl
reached the age of 21 (May 18, 1990) or graduated college, at
which point the defendant's child support would be reduced to
$125 per week and continue until Erik reached the age of 21
(October 16, 1995) or graduated from college.
On July 6, 1992, the Supreme Court of the State of New York,
County of New York, found Hilsen in default of his child and
spousal support payments, and ordered him to pay arrears of
$140,176.16. On September 16, 1993, the Family Court of the City
of New York, Count of New York ("Family Court") found Hilsen in
further arrears of $34,500.
On March 24, 1994, the Family Court issued a warrant for the
arrest of Hilsen. On June 16, 1994, Judge Leah R. Marks of the
Family Court found that Hilsen had knowingly, consciously, and voluntarily disregarded his obligations under lawful Court
orders and had willfully failed to pay $174,676.16 in child and
spousal support payments, and accordingly held Hilsen in contempt
Over a year later, Hilsen had still failed to pay these arrears
in child and spousal support. Given that Hilsen's child support
obligations represent, by the most conservative estimate, 14% of
his total calculated arrears ($174,676.16), Hilsen had presently
owed at least $24,454 in past due child support for Erik and
Investigators learned that Hilsen was a licensed psychiatrist,
who also worked from about 1988 to about June 1994, as the
manager of a prominent rock band. The findings of the Hearing
Examiner of the Family Court proceeding found that Hilsen
received between $230,000 and $500,000 a year, in addition to
undetermined amounts of cash, while employed by the rock band.
On July 1, 1987, Hilsen filed a petition for bankruptcy in the
Southern District of New York. The bankruptcy court authorized
Judge Altman to dispose of all issues in the divorce case. Judge
Altman found that the facts of the case belied Hilsen's
assertions of bankruptcy. Judge Altman further stated that Hilsen
"deliberately dissipated moneys in order to devalue the marital
assets." On October 11, 1990, the Honorable Robert P. Patterson of the
Southern District of New York, rendered a decision in connection
with the bankruptcy action filed by Hilsen. That decision stated
that "the record demonstrates unequivocally that Jesse Hilsen was
using the bankruptcy process to avoid state court actions and to
defraud his wife of her share of the parties' marital property."
Jesse Hilsen voluntarily surrendered to federal authorities on
June 19, 2004, and he has been detained since that date.
Relevant Statutory Provisions
The maximum term of imprisonment that may be imposed for the
sole Count is six months. See 18 U.S.C. § 228 (a) (1) and (c)
If a term of imprisonment is imposed, the Court may impose a
term of supervised release of not more than one year. See
18 U.S.C. § 3583 (b) (3).
The defendant is eligible for up to five years' probation.
See 21 U.S.C. § 3561 (c) (2). The maximum fine that may be imposed is $5,000. See
18 U.S.C. § 3571. A special assessment of $100 is mandatory. See
18 U.S.C. § 3013.
Full restitution to the victims is required under
18 U.S.C. §§ 3663A and 3664. Restitution in the amount of $161,975 is owed to
Rita Hilsen (address on file with the U.S. Attorney's office).
The November 1, 2004 edition of the United States Sentencing
Commission Guidelines Manual ("the Guidelines") has been used in
this case, in accordance with Guidelines U.S.S.G. 1B1.11(b)(1).
A conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 228(a)(1) and (c)(1) is a Class
B Misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months confinement.
Pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 1B1.9, the Sentencing Guidelines do not
apply to such offenses. The commentary for that same section
states that the Court may impose a sentence up to that authorized
by statute. See id.
The Sentence In accordance with the above, Hilsen is hereby sentenced to
Hilsen is also sentenced to one year supervised release. Hilsen
shall report to the nearest Probation Office within 72 hours of
release from custody, and supervision will be in the district of
As mandatory conditions of supervised release, Hilsen shall:
(1) not commit another federal, state, or local crime; (2) not
illegally possess a controlled substance; (3) not possess a
firearm or destructive device; and (4) refrain from any unlawful
use of a controlled substance.
The standard conditions of supervision are imposed in addition
to the following special conditions: (1) the defendant shall
comply with the order of the New York State Supreme Court and the
Family Court of the State of New York, adhere to the child
support payment agreement, and meet all monthly payments as
directed by same; and (2) the defendant shall provide the
probation officer with access to any requested financial
Hilsen shall also be required to make restitution payable to
the Clerk, U.S. District Court, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY
10007, for disbursement to Rita Hilsen in the amount of $161,975. The restitution shall be paid in monthly installments
of 15% of gross monthly income over a period of supervision to
commence thirty days after the date of the release from custody
and shall be paid in full not later than three months prior to
the termination of supervision. The factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3664
(f) (2) were considered in formulating the payment schedule.
Hilsen shall also pay to the United States a special assessment
in the amount of $100, which shall be due immediately. Given the
imposition of restitution, the fine in this case is waived.
It is so ordered.
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