The Ninth United States Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction but vacated the sentence of Richard “Smilin’ Rick” Fabel.
Fabel was an original member of and formerly the President of the Washington Nomads charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. The charter was founded in 1994.
The Court of Appeals ruled that District Court Judge Robert Lasnik miscalculated the “offense level” of Fabel’s crime. No date has yet been set for resentencing. Fabel, 51, is currently incarcerated, with about 1200 others, at the Federal Correctional Facility at Terminal Island, in Los Angeles harbor.
Never Say Quit
Assistant United States Attorney Mike Lang has already stated that he will ask that Fabel’s sentence be lengthened the next time the two meet in court.
Smilin’ Rick Fabel was convicted in June 2007 and sentenced that September to 90 months in prison on charges that he was part of a criminal conspiracy to commit mail fraud, extortion and to buy and sell stolen motorcycles and stolen motorcycle parts.
Prior to his sentencing, prosecutors argued, “For two decades, Rick Fabel’s life has been dedicated to glorifying violence and a criminal subculture. Fabel brought together a toxic blend of sociopaths and anti-social personalities, giving their violent tendencies a place to flourish. Fabel himself extorted, robbed and victimized numerous people.”
False Insurance Claims Too
Fabel was also convicted of victimizing the Progressive Insurance Corporation of more than $50,000 in false insurance claims.
As President of the Washington Nomads, his indictment argued, Fabel had the “decision making authority” of “directing, sanctioning, approving and permitting” other members of the chapter “to engage in criminal activities including murder, attempted murder, intimidation, extortion, robbery, and trafficking in stolen motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts.” The indictment was revised five times
Hoping to make a really, big case against some real, live bikers the government orchestrated a ten week show trial with anonymous, numbered jurors and more than 1,000 exhibits and 200 witnesses. At one point, the prosecutors rolled Fabel’s motorcycle into the courtroom, presumably to give jurors an idea of what motorcycles actually look like and, also, in an attempt to prove that Fabel had built his motorcycle out of stolen parts. The jury deadlocked on that particular charge.
Federal prisoners are generally eligible for parole after serving the first third of their sentences.