In unusual move, judge delays Harycki sentencing

The sentencing of former Stillwater mayor Ken Harycki on federal conspiracy charges has been delayed until Nov. 16, after the scheduled trial of his alleged co-conspirators.

Harycki’s sentencing had been scheduled the morning of June 3, before Judge Ann D. Montgomery. At the hearing, Montgomery announced she wished to postpone her decision until after the October trial of Roylee and Thurlee Belfrey, who are accused of defrauding the government of more than $10 million over more than 10 years.

Harycki has said he wants to cooperate with the government in that trial.

Montgomery called the sentencing delay “fairly unusual,” but told Harycki she’d like to have “the entire picture of what your situation is before making a decision on sentencing.”

Nearly a year and a half has passed since Harycki pleaded guilty in January 2015 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Montgomery said she prefers to pronounce sentences promptly and this may be the longest she has delayed a sentencing in her 22 years on the federal bench. However, she said there was good reason to delay and consider all the facts at once, since Harycki may be eligible for a reduced sentence if he provides “substantial assistance” in the Belfrey case.

“I’m confident that the interests of justice will be served by continuing the sentencing,” Montgomery said.

According to the prosecution’s position regarding sentencing, filed May 24, Harycki has “met with the government and provided information,” but has not yet provided substantial assistance in the case against the Belfreys, as outlined in guidelines from the United States Sentencing Commission.

Joe Friedberg, Harycki’s attorney, said that what constitutes “substantial assistance” is at the discretion of the U.S. attorney.

Friedberg was initially surprised when he discovered Harcyki was scheduled to be sentenced prior to the Belfrey trial. Although it’s typical to postpone sentencing until after trial when a defendant is cooperating in another case, Friedberg said there’s no requirement to do so. He said Harycki’s case is closely tied with the Belfrey case.

In his plea agreement, Harycki admitted to intentionally filing false tax forms on behalf of himself and former clients, as well as incorporating a business to further a conspiracy. Authorities have estimated the tax loss from his actions at more than $2 million.

Although not binding on Judge Montgomery, the plea agreement called for a prison sentence of 37-46 months. It was agreed the sentence could be reduced if Harycki were to provided “substantial assistance” to the prosecution of the Belfreys. The prosecution currently recommends a sentence of 37 months.