A former FBI employee and his wife were convicted in a mortgage fraud scheme and now face up to 30 years in prison, the Mercury News reports.
The husband, Charles Espinel, 61, also admitted he lied to the agency about his new properties to prevent suspicion.
Espinel and his wife, Jeanette 58, pleaded guilty to defrauding First California Bank and Wells Fargo Bank to buy a combined $1.3 million in rental properties. The couple lied about their incomes and intentions of living at the properties.
Espinel spent 32 years with the FBI, retiring as a support services technician.
Another ex-big city mayor is headed to federal prison.
On Wednesday, C. Ray Nagin, the ex-mayor New Orleans was sentenced to 10 years in prison on corruption charges. He was convicted in February.
Nagin was found guilty in February on 20 counts that included kickbacks from contractors seeking city work, the New York Times reported. The kickbacks came in cash and trips and other things of value.
He was arrested in January 2013, nearly three years after he left office.
Last year in Detroit, ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was hit with a harsh sentence of 28-years for bribery, kickbacks and tax related charges.
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Even a convicted terrorist has a right to communicate with friends and relatives.
So ruled U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger in the case of Khalfan Khamis Mohammed, who sued the FBI because he was barred from communicating with a list of 32 friends and relatives, the Associated Press reports.
Mohammed, who is in federal prison in southern California, was convicted of killing 11 people and injuring 85 in the 1998 bombing of a U.S. embassy in Tanzania.
The judge said authorities couldn’t bar a prisoner from calling friends and family unless the inmate poses a real national security threat.
The FBI, the judge ruled, didn’t present sufficient evidence that Mohammed posed dangers while in prison.
If prison is designed to prevent repeat offenses, it’s failing miserably.
Business Insider reports that more than a third of state prisoners were arrested within six months of being released, and that number jumped to 56.7% within the first year, 67.8% within three years and 76.6 % within five years.
Those numbers were even higher for inmates who were 24 years old and younger.
The staggering statistics raise serious questions about the role of prisons and their ability to rehabilitate offenders.
Property offenders were most likely to land in trouble again, with 82.1% committing crimes within five years of being released from prison.
After four years of attacks and controversies, Attorney General appears to be finally settling in during his second term under President Obama.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Holder “has tackled his responsibilities with newfound energy and determination, surprising critics and supporters alike by striking out on a broad, ambitious and unapologetically liberal agenda.”
Here’s what he’s done: shortened prison sentences, pursued mega-banks for fraud and plans to ban federal agents from basing investigations on discriminatory practices.
“I am focusing on issues — really focusing on issues — in these last few weeks that have been near and dear to me for as long as I’ve been a lawyer,” Holder said in an interview. “This whole notion of criminal justice reform, civil rights enforcement — all these are the kinds of things that animated me and that made me want to become a lawyer in the first place.”
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- The Republican Editorial: AG Holder Is Right on Felons’ Release
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A disproportionate number of low-level drug criminals who are behind bars are African Americans sentenced under strict laws from the days of the crack epidemic.
Hoping to correct that disparity, the Justice Department is encouraging defense lawyers to help identify inmates for clemency, the New York Times reports.
Penalties for drug offenses involving crack were often more severe than those with powder cocaine.
So far, Obama has commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates sentenced to harsh sentences because of crack.
“There are more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. “This is not fair, and it harms our criminal justice system.”
The Justice Department leveled serious allegations against Alabama officials, saying the state failed to protect female prisoners from being sexually assaulted and harassed by correctional staff, Fox 6 WBRC reports.
“Tutwiler has a history of unabated staff-on-prisoner sexual abuse and harassment,” the department wrote in a report to Gov. Robert Bentley. “The women at Tutwiler universally fear for their safety. They live in a sexualized environment with repeated and open sexual behavior, including: abusive sexual contact between staff and prisoners; sexualized activity, including a strip show condoned by staff; profane and unprofessional sexualized language and harassment; and deliberate cross-gender viewing of prisoners showering, urinating, and defecating.”
The governor’s office expressed support for the investigation.
“Governor Bentley has been supportive of Commissioner Thomas’ proactive measures to address the needs and issues in our prison system. The Department of Corrections has been putting recommendations from the NIC report in place since last January. It is important to ensure safety of inmates and staff inside our prisons, and the Governor is supportive of Commissioner Thomas’ efforts to do just that.”