Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018
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Toledo man at center of fake ID case asks judge to let him out of jail

A South Toledo man charged with running a large-scale fake ID business has asked a federal court judge to let him out of jail, but a hearing on the request was brief Wednesday.

Jane Roman, attorney for Mark Alex Simon, 34, asked Magistrate Judge James Knepp to postpone the hearing to an unspecified date to give her time to gather more information before arguing for her client's pretrial release.

Noah Hood, an assistant U.S. attorney, did not object to continuing the hearing. Judge Knepp granted the continuance, telling Mr. Simon his attorney wanted to make sure he would have “the best shot” for release before proceeding.

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Simon

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Mr. Simon, who is being held in the Lucas County jail, was arrested Feb. 6 at his Stengel Avenue home after investigators seized computer equipment, cash, gold and silver coins, and some $4.7 million in Bitcoin, a digital currency. Three other locations were searched, and three co-defendants arrested.

Mr. Simon along with Sarah Alberts, 34, of Perrysburg; Aaron Kuns, 33, of the 3700 block of Dewlawn Drive, and Benjamin Stalets, 28, of the 2200 block of Parkwood Avenue each are charged with production of false identification documents, transfer of false identification documents, possession with intent to transfer false identification documents, and possession of document-making implements and authentication features.

In a motion for Mr. Simon's release, Ms. Roman proposed the court release him to his mother, Lisa Ramsey-Simon, who would serve as his third-party custodian. Mr. Simon would surrender his passport, be on electronic monitoring, report in person weekly to the court's pretrial services department, execute an unsecured bond “in an amount to be determined by the court,” and have no contact with his co-defendants.

Mr. Simon “does not pose a flight risk as he has been a lifelong [resident] of Lucas County and his family ties remain here as well,” the motion states. Ms. Roman wrote that Mr. Simon is not charged with a crime of violence, that his alleged activities “would not necessarily endanger a community.”

“The defendant's history is relatively unique in that he has family support, he owns a residence in Toledo, he has worked in the past, he is not a substance abuser, and [has] no prior criminal conduct,” the motion states.

Ms. Alberts, Mr. Kuns, and Mr. Stalets previously were released from jail on unsecured bonds.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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