Hearing for Rene Ballenas’ grand larceny charges slated for Dec. 6

Trial lawyer Oscar Michelen

By Cristina DC Pastor

A second hearing in the grand larceny and burglary case against Rene Ballenas is set for Dec 6 at 9:30 a.m. at the Manhattan Criminal Court at 100 Center Street, according to lawyer Oscar Michelen.

“This is the second hearing already,” he told The FilAm.

The first was on October 5 shortly after the community leader of Team United was accused of allegedly carting away “iPads, a purse, shirts, printer equipment and bottles of wine” valued at $7,000 from a children’s cancer foundation, and shipping them off to the Philippines. Ballenas was released after posting $10,000 bail, Michelen said.

“The case is still in the early stages,” said Michelen, an entertainment and intellectual property attorney who is originally from the Dominican Republic.

He said he has requested the District Attorney’s office a copy of the surveillance video alleging Ballenas entered a locked storage room and committed the supposed theft. He has also asked to see a copy of the statement Ballenas reportedly made to the police confessing to the charges.

“I have not seen (those) yet,” he said. “I would like to see them. I hope in the coming weeks we will see them.”

As the case is in the initial stages, he said the DA is still investigating, and “we are also doing our own investigation.”

Michelen declined comment on reports that Ballenas has been asked to surrender his Philippine passport to the court as he continues to have close ties with the home country. He denied Ballenas was targeted because of his ethnicity.

“No, I don’t see that yet. I don’t see it leading us down that path,” he said.

Like most lawyers, Michelen said he would like to keep his client “out of harm’s way,” when asked what the defense is likely to bargain for. Whether the case would proceed to trial or settle in a plea bargain is still to be determined, he said.

Rene Ballenas

Press reports say Ballenas, 50, is charged with grand larceny and burglary, according to a criminal complaint by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He is accused of “taking more than $7,000 worth of valuables from the Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation offices on East 38th Street,” according to NBC New York. “A worker there told police she saw surveillance video of Ballenas going into locked rooms and storage areas that belonged to the charity when the office was closed. The complaint said he stole iPads, a purse, shirts, printer equipment and bottles of wine.”

Ballenas ran for the presidency of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc., which organizes the annual Philippine Day Parade on Madison Avenue. Ballenas lost to Fe Martinez, a retired nurse, 157-62, but vowed to introduce reforms in Pidci, threatening to launch a breakaway bloc under his Team United party.

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