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Archive for February, 2009

FBI Tracks Down Texas Billionaire Scammer Allen Stanford in Virginia

The FBI tracked down this man who may be another glaring example of the failures of the Security and Exchange Commission that has cost people a lot of money. Maybe if the SEC folks had invested with people like Standford of Bernie Madoff they might have paid closer attention.

By DEVLIN BARRETT
Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Texas financier R. Allen Stanford was tracked down Thursday in Virginia, where FBI agents served him with legal papers in a multibillion-dollar fraud case.

FBI agents, acting at the request of the Securities and Exchange Commission, served Stanford court orders and other documents, the FBI and the SEC said.

Stanford is not under arrest and is not in custody.

In a civil complaint Tuesday, the SEC accused Stanford, two other executives and three of his companies with committing an $8 billion fraud that lured investors with promises of improbable and unsubstantiated high returns on certificates of deposit and other investments. It’s not clear how much of the $8 billion was lost and how much investors might recover.
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OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mexican Leader Vows To Continue Fight Against Drug Cartels (Washington Post)

Illinois Gov. Demands that Sen. Burris Resign (CNN)

Jewish Engineer Sues Justice Dept. and DOD After Being Cleared of Spying for Israel

This has been a long running saga that derailed his career. Now David Tenenbaum is striking back.

By DAVID N. GOODMAN
Associated Press Writer
DETROIT — An Orthodox Jewish Army engineer who was cleared of spying for Israel sued the U.S. Defense and Justice departments Thursday, saying they made false security claims to prevent him from seeking compensation.

David Tenenbaum and his wife, Madeline, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Detroit, calling the secrecy claim “frivolous” and an “abuse of power.”

In addition to the government, the lawsuit names former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and several other individuals as defendants.

A spokesman for the Defense Department’s inspector general declined comment Thursday on the Tenenbaums’ lawsuit, their second since 1998 when they sued over religious discrimination.

The Pentagon put Tenenbaum on paid leave in 1997 while it investigated whether he was supplying secrets to Israel. Investigators cleared him, and he still works at the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command in Warren.

Tenenbaum, 51, is the son of a Holocaust survivor and speaks Hebrew. One of his primary duties at the tank command was to design and develop safer combat vehicles, and he was in frequent contact with military engineers from other nations, including Israelis.

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Georgia Lawsuit Says Fed Prosecutor Drove Woman To Suicide

For a prosecutor who pressures someone to testify, for a reporter who exposes someone’s wrongdoing, the end results can sometimes be deadly.

By STEVE VISSER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATLANTA — A federal prosecutor drove a woman to suicide by threatening to indict her to get her to incriminate her husband in a massive investigation of a Norcross dietary supplement company, according to a lawsuit.

The Fulton County Superior Court lawsuit filed last week contends Aaron Danzig kept Jessica Holda “in a state of terror and dread.”

Two years ago, Holda took a .40-caliber Ruger pistol and shot herself in the head.

The lawsuit contends she killed herself after Danzig threatened to prosecute her for selling a luxury car that the government had targeted for seizure if she didn’t assist in the federal investigation.

“I hope Aaron Danzig feels some kind of remorse,” Holda wrote in her suicide note. “I blame him for my struggles with wanting to live.”

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ICE Stops Detentions at Va. Facility After a Death

The death has made ICE rethink the way it handles non-citizens awaiting deportation. But is this an indication of something more systemic, something beyond Virginia?

By Nick Mirroff and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer

The November death of a Prince William County man in immigration custody at Piedmont Regional Jail has prompted Immigration and Customs Enforcement to suspend placing new detainees at the facility, three hours south of the District near Farmville, Va.

In recent years, the rural six-county jail has contracted with ICE at rock-bottom rates to become a principal storehouse for noncitizen detainees from Northern Virginia and the District awaiting deportation. But since the Nov. 28 death of detainee Guido Newbrough, ICE has launched an investigation into medical care at the facility, and its detainee population had plunged from 330 to 53 as of yesterday. As a result, 50 jail employees have been laid off.

“There is no effort underway to cease utilizing Piedmont. However, we have stopped housing detainees at Piedmont while we continue to monitor current conditions at the facility,” said Cori Bassett, an ICE spokeswoman.
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Now This Should Be Interesting: Judge Orders Feds to Release Documents in Eliot Spitzer Probe

Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer

The documents should give us some interesting insights into Eliot Spitzer  and the FBI investigation. Some say the probe was politically motivated and the feds wouldn’t have normally gone so far in a prostitution case. Others say there was enough suspicion of possible corruption to carry out the probe. Documents should be released next week.

By William K. Rashbaum
New York Times

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the federal prosecutors whose investigation exposed former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s involvement with a prostitute to unseal court records that may shed some light on the origins of the case that led to his resignation in March 2008.

The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan, ordered federal prosecutors to provide the records – sworn affidavits that were part of wiretap applications in the case – to The New York Times, which in December filed a motion to have the material unsealed.

Prosecutors argued that the documents should not be released, citing the privacy concerns of the more than 60 apparent clients of the prostitution ring who were intercepted and the need for confidentiality of law enforcement investigations.

But The Times agreed to the redaction of the names of the apparent clients and Judge Rakoff said that there was no longer a need for confidentiality concerning the investigation, which has concluded with charges against four people involved in the ring. Mr. Spitzer was never charged with a crime.

The judge, in ruling for the newspaper, wrote that “there is obvious interest in obtaining information about the origins of an investigation that led, ultimately, to the resignation of the governor of New York.”

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Ex-Rep. Jefferson Takes His Constitutional Appeal to the Supreme Court

It has been 3 1/2 years since the FBI raided ex-Rep. William Jefferson’s homes on Capitol Hill and in New Orleans and that man has still not gone to trial. Could this latest move delay the May 26th trial?

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
Ex-Rep. William Jefferson while still in office

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson while still in office

WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson’s attorneys are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court decision rejecting arguments that prosecutors improperly presented information about his legislative duties to a grand jury in violation of a constitutional separation of powers clause.

In a request filed late Wednesday and posted on the court’s Web this morning, Jefferson wants 14 of the 16 corruption charges he faces at a May 26 trial dropped.

The defense attorneys said the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia, in rejecting their appeal, not only failed to take note of grand jury testimony about his role in helping pass an African trade bill – a clear violation they said of the Constitution’s Speech or Debate clause – but refused to review unreleased grand jury testimony to determine if other violations occurred.

“The Speech or Debate Clause is a unique constitutional provision that creates an absolute privilege for legislative activities within its scope,” Jefferson’s attorneys said. “It protects legislators not only from conviction based on legislative acts, but also from having to defend themselves as a result of those acts.”
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Feds Step Up Crackdown on Graft in Calif. Tomato Processing Biz

The food industry is grabbing unwanted publicity as of late. Peanut butter and tomatoes. What’s next? For the sake of us chronic snackers, please don’t mess with the Potato CHIPS!

By Demian Bulwa,
San Francisco Chronicle
SACRAMENTO — Federal investigators stepped up a crackdown on alleged graft in California’s huge tomato-processing industry by securing guilty pleas from two people Wednesday, including a Kings County woman who admitted to mislabeling products that should have been thrown out because of high mold content.

Jennifer Dahlman, 48, of Lemoore, was a longtime employee at SK Foods, which provides tomato paste to food makers for use in sauces, soups and other products. The Lemoore company has been the target of a federal probe into alleged bribery, price-fixing and mislabeling, with prosecutors calling it a “racketeering enterprise.”

Prosecutors said the corruption alleged in the case raised consumer prices for tomato sauces, soups and salsas.

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The Circus Must Go On! Sen. Roland Burris Defends Himself as Things Heat Up