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Tag: Justice Department

8 Executives Charged in $100 Million Foreign Bribe Scheme

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If you’re going to bribe a country, you might as well do it big time.

That’s what eight former executives and agents of Siemens AG and its subsidiaries must have figured.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that the eight had been charged with allegedly engaging in a decade-long scheme to bribe senior Argentina officials  to secure, implement and enforce a $1 billion contract with the government to produce national identity cards.

“Today’s indictment alleges a shocking level of deception and corruption,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement. “Business should be won or lost on the merits of a company’s products and services, not the amount of bribes paid to government officials.

The indictment charges that the defendants and their co-conspirators conspired to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the wire fraud statute, money laundering conspiracy and wire fraud.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the defendants bribed Argentine officials in two successive administrations “and paid off countless others in a successful effort to secure a billion dollar contract.”

The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to conceal the illicit payments.

For instance, authorities said, one person made cash withdrawals from Siemens AG general-purpose accounts in Germany totaling approximately $10 million, transported the cash across the border into Switzerland and deposited the funds into Swiss bank accounts for transfer to officials.

The defendants charged in the indictment returned late Monday included Uriel Sharef, a former member of the central executive committee of Siemens AG; Herbert Steffen, a former chief executive officer of Siemens Argentina; Andres Truppel, a former chief financial officer of Siemens Argentina; Ulrich Bock, Stephan Signer and Eberhard Reichert, former senior executives of Siemens Business Services (SBS); and Carlos Sergi and Miguel Czysch, who served as intermediaries and agents of Siemens in the bribe scheme.

 

Ex-Mo. Sheriff Gets 18 Months, Snapped Pictures of Womens’ Breasts During Illegal Searches

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Former sheriff of Worth County, Mo. Neal Wayne “Bear” Groom was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison followed by a year of supervised release for violating the civil rights of several women by getting them to expose parts of their body, according to a statement from the Justice Department.

Following an FBI probe,  Groom pleaded guilty on August 17 to coercing women into exposing body parts to him, in violation of Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable search and seizure. Groom also admitted to taking photographs of the women’s exposed or partially covered breasts.

Groom often said he was looking for domestic violence injuries or drug injection marks to force women into revealing their flesh, though he admitted in the plea that he conducted the searches for no legitimate law enforcement purpose, according to the Justice Department.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Beth Phillips said in a statement:  “We will not tolerate law enforcement officers who take advantage of the individuals whom they are sworn to protect.   Such individuals shake the public’s confidence in law enforcement and thus harm not only the victims they target but also the community at large.”

Why Aren’t the Bankers in Trouble?

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

In the wake of the financial sector’s meltdown, many were on the hunt for the blood of bankers. But convictions for wrongdoing on Wall Street have been remarkably scarce in the aftermath of the industry’s collapse–no small part of why Occupy Wall Street protestors have gathered in lower Manhattan.

A Wall Street Journal blog explains why prosecutions in the financial sector have been so slow to surface. Federal agent’s “hopes slowly gave way to frustration over how to prove criminal intent,” the blog post notes, citing former deputy assistant director of the FBI David Cardona.

Much of the Justice Department’s criminal investigations “hinge on disclosure” Cardona told the Journal. “What does adequate disclosure mean? And those are really technical arguments that sometimes get lost with a jury.”

Many of the FBI’s criminal probes into financial wrongdoing have gone nowhere, according to the Journal, including probes into top financial firms like AIG, Goldman Sachs and Washington Mutual. After a jury acquitted Bear Stearns in 2009, US officials have been wary of trying crimes in which a jury may decide losses were due to bad judgement or the market rather than actual criminality.

“Thus, cases that turn on technical issues such as disclosure are being left for civil-enforcement actions.”

To read more click here.

 

Ex-Chicago Cop Pleads Guilty to Crimes Involving Latin Kings Gang

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Another story from the city known for deep dish pizza, hot dogs and public corruption: a former Chicago police officer pleaded guilty Friday to a series of charges involving collusion with the violent Latin Kings street gang.

Antonio C. Martinez Jr., a 40-year-old former Chicago police officer, faces a possible lifetime sentence on charges including racketeering conspiracy; conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana; robbery; and using a firearm while committing the crimes, according to a statement from the Justice Department.

A series of robberies committed between 2004 and 2006 were done under the direction of the Latin Kings, Martinez admitted. He used his status as a police officer to facilitate the robberies, many of which were committed against drug traffickers in the region. He also admitted to picking up and dropping off packages of cocaine multiple times for the gang.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 14.

Rep Darrell Issa May Recommend that ATF be Folded Into the FBI

Rep. Issa/gov photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who has led the crusade against Attorney General Eric Holder during the Fast and Furious investigations, said he may recommend merging  ATF into the FBI, Bloomberg reports.

“ATF, perhaps, should be molded completely into the FBI and be done with it,” the California Republican told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor-sponsored breakfast in Washington. “There is no reason you can’t have a special unit under the FBI” that investigates federal firearms laws. Both the ATF and the FBI are under the Justice Department.

Over the years, rumors have circulated that the ATF or DEA might be folded into the FBI.  Lawmakers from time to time have pushed for such changes as well.

To read more click here.

One More Officer Sentenced in New Orleans’ Danziger Bridge Incident

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Add five years to the Danziger Bridge prison time count. A former New Orleans police officer was sentenced Thursday to five years for his role on the bridge in the days following Hurricane Katrina, according to a Justice Department statement.

Robert Barrios rode with other officers in a large Budget rental truck to the bridge on Sept. 4, 2005, according to the statement. The bridge was the scene where several officers were involved in a shooting incident that left two dead civilians, seriously injured four others and drew national attention.

Barrios admitted to agreeing with officers to obstruct justice as feds investigated the incident in April of last year. He also admitted to meeting with sergeants investigating the incident, who told him and other officers to get their stories straight before making official statements. Barrios admitted to lying to cover for fellow officers and sought to provide false and misleading information to make the bridge shooting appear legally justified.

Barrios is the fifth officer to cooperate and face sentencing in the Danziger case. Also serving time in federal prisons are former Lieutenant Michael Lohman, former Detective Jeffrey Lehrmann, and former Officers Michael Hunter and Ignatius Hills.

Member of Aryan Brotherhood Gets 37.5 Years for Fires and Trying to Murder Disabled African American

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For guys like Steven Scott Cantrell, hate never goes out of style. Luckily in this case, either does justice.

The 26-year-old member of the Aryan Brotherhood, who hails from  from Crane, Tex. was sentenced Wednesday in fed court in Midland, Tex., to 37.5 years for a hate crime stemming from a series of arsons last December including one at a historic African-American church, the Justice Department said. Cantrell was also ordered to pay $550,780 in restitution to the victims.

As part of the arson of the historic church, he tried to murder a disabled African-American man, the Justice Department said.

Authorities said that Cantrell admitted that on Dec. 28, 2010, he set fire to Faith in Christ Church, a predominantly African-American church, as part of an effort to murder a disabled African-American man who he saw passing by the church in his wheelchair.

Authorities said Cantrell admitted that he started the fire with the intent of killing the disabled African-American man whom he believed lived at a shelter inside the church.

The man was not hurt.

Authorities said Cantrell ransacked the church, wrote a series of threatening and racist messages in large letters across the wall of the church next to the pastor’s office, and “tagged” the church with references to the Aryan Brotherhood.

Authorities alleged that the arson was part of a series of racially-motivated arsons that Cantrell set that day to gain status with the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. In addition to the church, Cantrell admitted that he set fire to the house of someone he believed was Jewish.

“Today’s sentence reflects the vile nature of this defendant’s actions. Every person, regardless of race, national origin, religion or disability, should have the opportunity to live without fear of threat or harm,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in a statement.

Washington Man Convicted of Filing $20 Billion in False Liens Against Fed Prosecutors and Others

“The jerk store called, they’re running out of you.”  George Costanza, Seinfeld
 
By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The above quote may be applicable to a Washington state man who was convicted  Tuesday of filing over $20 billion in false liens against federal officials including fed prosecutors.

The 2-day trial ended when Ronald James Davenport, of Chewelah, Wash., was convicted on  all four counts he was charged with in the Eastern District of Washington state, according to the Justice Department.

In December of 2009, Davenport filed false liens against the Clerk of the Court for the Eastern District of the state, the then-US Attorney, an Assistant US Attorney and an IRS officer, according evidence presented at trial. Each lein claimed Davenport was owed $5.184 billion and attached all the victims personal property as security on the debt.

Davenport chose the individuals because of their service as government officials and their involvement in a civil suit in which Davenport allegedly owed about $270,000 in unpaid tax liabilities, according to the Justice Department.

A sentencing date has not yet been set, but Davenport faces a potential maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a $1 million fine.