Criminal Justice

Inmate Hires Banner Plane to Call Attention to His Delayed Case

A Manhattan inmate awaiting trial for his alleged role in an ID theft ring hired a banner plane to protest his long incarceration.

Vadim Vassilenko paid $1,250 to the pilot who displayed his message on Tuesday, the New York Post reports. It read: “V. VASSILENKO JAILED 5+ YRS — NO TRIAL— IS THIS LEGAL?”

The banner didn’t do justice to the facts, however. In 2006, Vassilenko was sent to jail in upstate New York to serve time for running an unlicensed check-cashing and money-transfer store, the Post says. His sentence was completed in 2007, and he was transferred to immigration agents. He has been awaiting trial on the ID theft charges in the Manhattan Detention Complex since October 2007, and could be deported after the case is resolved.

Vassilenko’s lawyer, Rick Pasacreta, told the Post he understands his client’s anger but there are reasons for the delay. Vassilenko has changed lawyers at least four times. During that time, courts tossed some of the charges against Vassilenko, but they were reinstated on appeal.

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