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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Ex-U.S. Atty. Defends Ex-DEA Official in Obstruction Indictment


By Allan Lengel

Ex-U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey says in a court filing that the government has made a mistake by indicting his client Thomas Raffanello, the former head of the Miami Drug Enforcement Administration, in a banking scandal involving Allen Stanford, according to the Daily Business Review.

Raffanello, the chief security officer for the Stanford Financial Group, is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly ordering the destruction of records protected by court order. The company is accused in an $8 billion fraud.

“Every action that was done has a credible and legitimate explanation,” said Coffey’s motion filed last week said, according to the Daily Business Review. “There is no conceivable motive or motivation for defendants to obstruct an investigation of the crimes of others in which they indisputably did not participate and from which they did not gain.”

Coffey also asks for a speedy trial to commence this month.

To Read More

Fed Prosecutor Tells Judge Essentially It’s None of Your Business Why Pot Charges Dropped

This is a darn interesting case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts has dismissed marijuana charges against author and writer Andrew Sullivan, saying it could have impacted his immigration status. The Magistrate Judge raised some objections to the dismissal. The prosecutor essentially told the judge it was none of his business whether the prosecution chose to dismiss the case.

Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Sullivan

By The Docket blog
Political commentator, author and writer for The Atlantic magazine Andrew M. Sullivan won’t have to face charges stemming from a recent pot bust at the Cape Cod National Seashore – but a federal judge isn’t happy about it.

U. S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings says in his decision that the case is an example of how sometimes “small cases raise issues of fundamental importance in our system of justice.”

While marijuana possession may have been decriminalized, Sullivan, who owns a home in Provincetown, made the mistake of being caught by a park ranger with a controlled substance on National Park Service lands, a federal misdemeanor.

The ranger issued Sullivan a citation, which required him either to appear in U.S. District Court or, in essence, pay a $125 fine.

But the U.S. Attorney’s Office sought to dismiss the case. Both the federal prosecutor and Sullivan’s attorney said it would have resulted in an “adverse effect” on an unspecified “immigration status” that Sullivan, a British citizen, is applying for.

For Full Story

Read Judge’s Opinion

High-Quality Counterfeit Bills from Peru Flooding U.S.


Counterfeit money is an age old problem. But the flood of fake bills coming from Peru is raising some red flags and the U.S. Secret Service is responding.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — A Flood of high-quality counterfeit U.S. money from Peru is perplexing federal authorities, who say the shadowy networks that are responsible are also engaging in other criminal activity that poses a threat to national security.

Over the last year, authorities and banks have recovered at least $7.8 million in fake notes across the United States that they believe were manufactured in Peru, according to Secret Service statistics.

For Full Story

FBI in Dallas Looking into Stolen Jackie Kennedy Letter

Jacqueline Kennedy-1961/white house photo

Jacqueline Kennedy-1961/white house photo

Anything with a historic link to the Kennedys is bound to draw some public attention. But it’s not often that the FBI has had to step in. Here’s an interesting caper.

The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — An intimate moment between two of the world’s most famous widows is now the subject of an FBI investigation in Dallas.

The case centers around a poignant, handwritten note of condolence that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sent to Ethel Kennedy after Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968.

Investigators and Kennedy family members believe the note was probably stolen from Hickory Hill, the home of Robert and Ethel Kennedy in the Virginia suburbs outside Washington. But they don’t know when it disappeared from the McLean, Va., house. Collectors have been buying, selling and trading it for as much as $25,000 for more than a decade.

For Full Story

Read FBI Affidavit

See Letter


Blagojevich Fundraiser Who Just Pleaded Guilty Dies From Possible Overdose

Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — The man federal prosecutors pressured to cooperate in the corruption probe of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich died of an apparent aspirin overdose on Saturday, law enforcement sources said.

Christopher Kelly, 51, of Burr Ridge, was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital at 10:46 a.m. An autopsy is scheduled for today, a Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office spokeswoman said.

Kelly was Blagojevich’s “go-to guy” who once was the mastermind of the ex-governor’s lucrative campaign fund.

Kelly’s death comes just four days after he pleaded guilty to a scheme involving $8.5 million in fraud at O’Hare Airport.

For Full Story

Ex-Philly U.S. Atty Worker Pleads to Stealing Defedants’ Info for Online Loans

philadelphia-mapBy Allan Lengel

A different kind of payday is coming for Shakila Nakia Wallace — and it may be in the form of a prison sentence.

Wallace, 25, a former office automation clerk in the U.S. Attorney’s financial litigation unit in Philadelphia,  pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to using personal identification info from sentenced defendants to collect about $34,000 in online payday loans from January 2005 until March 2008, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Judge Mary. A. McLaughlin is scheduled to sentence her Dec. 15. She faces up to seven years in prison.

Read Press Release

Read Criminal Information

Kansas City Acting U.S. Atty. Matt Whitworth Named Maigistrate Judge

By Allan Lengel

Matt J. Whitworth

Matt J. Whitworth

Kansas City Acting U.S. Attorney Matt J. Whitworth has been named a U.S. Magistrate Judge, the U.S. District Court in Western Missouri announced.

Whitworth, who became acting U.S. Attorney on March 1,  has been a federal prosecutor in the Kansas City office since 1988. He is a 1983 graduate of the Univerity of Arkansas School of Law.

Read Court Press Release

Weekend Series on History: Nixon Talks About Jewish Spies and “Negro Spies”