Federal convict Evan Montvel Cohen is a psychopath, who will hurt more people if Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood does not send him to jail for a long time, his wife of three decades wrote to the judge. Her now-ex-husband is so depraved, she stated in her letter asking the judge to give him the maximum sentence, he lied about having brain cancer and stole from their son.
“While I am not the victim in this case,” she wrote in her letter, “my son and I are victims of Evan’s deceit, abuse and many crimes and infractions over the years.”
Mr. Montvel-Cohen faces up to 45 years in prison for scheming and defrauding a company owned by his friend, and for defrauding the Bank of Guam. The crimes happened from 2019 to 2020. The U.S. Attorney initially charged him with aggravated identity theft as well, but he pleaded out in August last year.
This is not his first run in with the law.
In 2009, the Guam businessman pleaded no contest to a charge of first degree theft in a Hawaiian court. Prosecutors initially charged him with money laundering, credit card fraud, forgery, and second degree theft.
Before his stint in Hawaii, Montvel-Cohen lived in New York and founded liberal Air America there. The company had a range of investments, including $800,000 from the non-profit Boys and Girls Club of New York. The club helps poor and otherwise disadvantaged children to succeed in life.
That investment, as well as loans the club gave him, became the subject of a New York criminal investigation. No charges ever were filed.
“As Your Honor considers an appropriate sentence for Evan, I respectfully request that the maximum sentence be rendered,” his ex-wife wrote. “This is not the first time that Evan has schemed to win the court’s leniency by pleading guilty. In 2009, he won leniency in Hawaii Circuit Court by pleading no contest to theft; his sentence was five years of probation and some restitution money. He truly believes he can outsmart our justice system.”
“In his criminal and amoral life,” she wrote, “Evan has deceived, defrauded and hurt so many good, decent people and families, including those who loved and supported him most — such has his own mother, his brother and sister; his longtime business partner, Leon Colaco; and his best friends. I personally witnessed daily, hours-long, rageful verbal and written abuse by Evan against Leon from 2017 to 2020. And Evan also abused Leon financially, keeping him drastically underpaid at our former business and ‘borrowing’ endlessly and never paying the money back.”
Lying about having brain cancer
Montvel-Cohen’s ex-wife explained to the judge her suspicions many in the media and political world share regarding his claims of brain cancer during the new millennium. The former media and public relations executive for years told associates and peers he was undergoing chemotherapy and experimental drug treatment to cure brain cancer.
“I now have strong reason to believe that Evan lied about having debilitating brain cancer from 2000 to 2003, with self-proclaimed recurrences until 2015,” his ex-wife wrote to the judge. “On the pretense of this lie, he uprooted our family and we moved from Guam to Honolulu to NYC ostensibly for cancer treatment that couldn’t be found on Guam. In this radical deception, he fabricated a situation that put his family in extreme chaos and crisis mode. The impact on my health and our son’s stability is no small abuse. This caused huge crisis and stress for me and I was the sole breadwinner for a few years, trying to keep our Guam business going while also searching for a job in NYC, and trying to establish a life for my family. Evan never let me accompany him to the hospital where he supposedly was in daily outpatient treatment for a few years. I never saw any hospital bills. And I never saw any medical records. The ‘cancer years’ are a black hole … absolutely no eye witnessing, no medical records, no medical bills. I don’t even remember seeing him taking any chemo pills at home, and in fact what I do remember is only stories of how his doctors involved him in criminal trials and that’s why there were no bills to pay.”
The malignant psychopath
She described to the judge, in painstaking prose, what can only be described as decades of victimization. And while Montvel-Cohen for decades has been accused of manipulating, deceiving, and abusing colleagues and companies for money, she told the story of his constant and debilitating abuse of her and their son.
“His verbal diarrhea – talking in monologue for hours to the exhaustion of his hearers – had the effect of wearing you down, overwhelming you so that you no longer could see straight or keep track of the changing storyline. His stories were always just factual enough, sprinkled with lots of financial and business sophistication beyond the hearer’s league, that one simply had no choice but to assume that 1) he was the expert, 2) it was beyond anyone’s comprehension but his, 3) and there was no point questioning its veracity or his authority.
“He’d endlessly command me to ‘watch your language’ or agree with his truth or say something ‘the right way,’ saying that ‘words matter.’ He constantly told me that I was not remembering things correctly, or that I simply wasn’t capable of understanding something, or that my memory was so bad, so unreliable.
“Evan kept me breathless with constant emergencies, crises and urgent demands. This had the effect of eroding all healthy and necessary boundaries for staying mentally sound because my time and resources were never my own. He commandeered nearly all my emotional, mental, financial and physical resources for his own goals and needs. The chaos also kept me topsy turvy — barely ever finding my bearings and constantly doubting myself or being too scared or exhausted to defy him.
“I’ve come to believe that Evan is a malignant narcissist/psychopath.”
Stole from his son
She told Judge Tydingco-Gatewood in her letter that Mr. Montvel-Cohen ruined their college-aged son’s name and credit by “usurping and abusing a credit card, bank account and PayPal account in [the boy’s] name.”
“Evan’s financial abuse caused us to default on [his] college tuition,” she wrote. “Approximately $20,000 in tuition is outstanding and with a collection agency. This has tied up [his] official college transcript and there is a financial hold on his account, complicating his current efforts to apply to colleges anew in order to finish his degree. To explain why he cannot supply a transcript, [he] tells the college admissions team of his father’s criminal behavior, something no son should have to share about his father.”
She enclosed a copy of their son’s statement of intent to one college to which he applied following the default.
“My dreams were dashed at the end of 2018 when my undergraduate pursuits … ended abruptly,” their son wrote in his statement of intent. “My father, as it turned out, had done awful things behind my back. Only recently have my mother and I – I am an only child – discovered his deception, a realization prompted by his arrest in 2020. He pled guilty to felony identity theft and bank fraud in the U.S. District Court of Guam. A conman and philanderer, his abuse began to come to light during my last semester at [the previous college]. He depleted our family finances, leaving an unpaid tuition bill that year. I even discovered he had opened and defaulted on a credit card in my name and abused my other financial accounts for his personal gain.”
True danger to society
She closed her letter to the judge, by writing this:
“Evan’s contempt for decency, recklessness and abuse have had devastating impacts on so many innocent people. He has become a rageful, contemptuous and entirely remorseless man, with zero empathy for his victims and categorically without a conscience. I believe he is incapable of honesty, responsibility, true humility or remorse. I truly feel he is beyond rehabilitation. By his actions and life, Evan has demonstrated to me that in his mind, no person or code applies to him – law and morality do not matter to him. He bends the rules to serve his voracious greed and hatred. In my decades living and working with him, I know him to be uncommonly skillful, persuasive and cunning, and if left free, he will continue to use these against other victims. For these reasons, I believe he has been and remains a true danger to society.
“I have only shared the tip of the iceberg. Suffice it to say, that looking back on nearly 30 years with Evan, there is such a strong pattern that I now clearly see as Evan’s playbook. His tactics are known, and his next move is almost predictable by now. Please don’t allow him to repeat the harm.
“I believe the maximum sentence would only just begin to address the immeasurable ways Evan has hurt so many decent people.”