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Archive for December 27th, 2008

More Stock Fraud Going Undetected in Bush Years

As the country worried about terrorist attacks, the Bush adminstration seemed to take its eye off of Wall Street. The result: Fraud and more fraud and people losing life savings.

By ERIC LICHTBLAU
New York Times
WASHINGTON – Federal officials are bringing far fewer prosecutions as a result of fraudulent stock schemes than they did eight years ago, according to new data, raising further questions about whether the Bush administration has been too lax in policing Wall Street.
Legal and financial experts say that a loosening of enforcement measures, cutbacks in staffing at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a shift in resources toward terrorism at the F.B.I. have combined to make the federal government something of a paper tiger in investigating securities crimes.
At a time when the financial news is being dominated by the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that Bernard L. Madoff is accused of running, federal officials are on pace this year to bring the fewest prosecutions for securities fraud since at least 1991, according to the data, compiled by a Syracuse University research group using Justice Department figures.
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Prosecution to Court of Appeals: Enough Delays in Rep. Jefferson’s Public Corruption Trial

Congressman William J. Jefferson has apparently never met a court delay he didn’t like. The prosecution says enough is enough.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors are asking a Virginia appeals court not to further delay U.S. Rep. William Jefferson’s corruption trial, saying the government “should be afforded an opportunity to proceed with its prosecution” in a case first brought more than 18 months ago.
Prosecutor Mark Lytle said such a delay would result in “further prejudice” to the government’s case against the nine-term New Orleans Democrat.
The brief, filed this week, came in response to a motion by Jefferson’s attorneys asking the court to delay implementing its ruling that rejected their plea to throw out 14 of the 16 charges pending against the congressman. If the appellate court delays what is called the “issuance of a mandate,” the district judge presiding over the case could not schedule a trial.
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Read Prosecution’s Motion

Read Jefferson’s Reply

Campaign Contribution by Father Trips Up Pardon

Pardoning the pardon isn’t easy to do. But the Bush folks have obviously learned from history how embarrassing a bad pardon can be.

By KEN BELSON and ERIC LICHTBLAU
New York Times

The ties that bind fathers and sons come in all shapes and sizes, including 10-foot-high chain-link fences.
That is one of the many connections between Robert Toussie and his son Isaac, who was pardoned and unpardoned by President Bush this week, decisions that set abuzz the normally sedate Brooklyn community of Manhattan Beach.
Neighbors say the elder Mr. Toussie built the fence a decade ago to keep rabble-rousers away from the shoreline promenade on the Rockaway Inlet that abuts his family’s waterfront homes, including one where Isaac lives.
While Mr. Toussie’s fence, which has No Trespassing signs in English and Russian, has largely kept the derelicts at bay, it has also alienated neighbors who might otherwise have little bad to say about him.
It also shines light on the complex relationship between Mr. Toussie and his son, who pleaded guilty in 2001 to using false documents to have mortgages insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in 2002 to mail fraud, admitting that he had persuaded officials in Suffolk County to overpay for land.

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