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Archive for June 23rd, 2010

Feds Indict Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on 19 Counts

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It was anticipated for many months, and on Wednesday federal prosecutors indicted imprisoned ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on 19-criminal counts stemming from his scheme to use the nonprofit Kilpatrick Civic Fund for personal benefit and campaign expenses.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Kilpatrick, who is serving prison time for state probation violation, devised a scheme starting in 1999 to bilk the fund that was used to pay friends and relatives and cash kickbacks for himself. It also covered expenses ranging from countersurveillance and anti-bugging equipment to yoga and golf lessons, golf clubs and summer camp for his children.

In all, his unreported income amounted to $640,000 between between 2003 and 2008, authorities said.

The indictment was another embarrassment for an impoverished city trying to reinvent itself while struggling to provide the basic services for its citizens. Kilpatrick, once a young, promising political figure dubbed the “Hip Hop Mayor”, quickly fell from the top of the political heap after he got caught lying in a whistleblower case involving the police department.

“It is important that public officials not escape prosecution just because they leave office,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in the statement announcing the indictment. “Public officials need to be accountable to deter them and others from cheating our citizens in the future.”

Detroit FBI Chief Andrew Arena said in a statement that the charges are part of a continuing investigation into “the corruption that has long plagued the City of Detroit.

Read Detroit Free Press Story

Abramoff’s Crimes Weren’t Kosher, But the New Gig Is

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is finishing off his prison term in a halfway house in Maryland, has got a new gig: It’s with a kosher pizza joint in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Jewish Times reports that he is working at Tov Pizza with owner Ron Rosenbluth “in almost all areas of the restaurant business, with perhaps a focus on marketing strategies.”

Abramoff ran some restaurants in D.C. including a kosher deli called Stacks, that was ironically or not, in very close proximity to FBI headquarters on Pennyslvania Avenue NW. He went off to prison in 2006 for fraud, conspiracy and corruption charges.

The paper said Abramoff will work at Tov Pizza for at least six months. His release date is Dec. 4.

Despite Protests From Some Heavyweights, Ex-Chief of Kosher Slaughterhouse in Iowa Gets 27 Years

iowa-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the end, the weight of a letter signed by a dozen ex-U.S. Attorneys, a former Solicitor General and six ex-Attorney Generals including Janet Reno, Ramsey Clark and Edwin Meese III, carried little weight in the sentencing Tuesday of Sholom Rubashskin, the former chief executive of an Iowa kosher meat packing plant, who was convicted on 86 counts of federal bank fraud in connection with loans to the company.

U.S. District Judge Linda R. Reade sentenced Rubashkin to 27 years in prison and ordered him to pay $27 million in restitution, according to the Associated Press.

The group of former law enforcement officials had written the judge inApril  to say the harsh sentence recommended by the prosecution was a “potentially severe injustice.” At the time the letter was written, the prosecution had asked for a life sentence, but later lowered that to 25 years.

Ex-Atty Gen. Janet Reno signed letter

Ex-Atty Gen. Janet Reno signed letter

”We cannot fathom how truly sound and sensible sentencing rules could call for a life sentence — or anything close to it — for Mr. Rubashkin, a 51-year-old, first-time, nonviolent offender,” the group of former laws enforcement officials wrote to the judge..

Rubashkin headed up the Agriprocessor kosher plant in Pottsville, Iowa, which was raided in 2008 as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration. Almost 400 illegal immigrants were detained. Last November, he was convicted on the bank fraud charges and the prosecution subsequently dropped the charges related to the illegal immigrants.

To read more click here.

Read Letter to the Judge

FBI Turns Up Few Leakers Despite Many Complaints From Intelligence Agencies

iStock_000003334143XSmallBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In Washington, and elsewhere, leaks happen often. The media quote anonymous sources on a regular basis, and sometimes note that the leaker doesn’t want to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.

Finding those leaks is no easy task.

The Associated Press reports that U.S. intelligence agencies have made 183 complaints about unauthorized leaks of classified information in the past five years, but the FBI has only identified 14 suspected leakers.

And of those, none have been prosecuted, AP reported.

Of the 183 complaints, the AP reported, the FBI opened 26 leak investigations. The news service said the agency lacked information to proceed in the others.

To read more click here.

U.S. Atty. Goes After $5 Mil In Assets from Bernie Madoff Employees

cash-100-billsBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The federal prosecutors aren’t done trying to recover more of the poisonous fruits from Bernie Madoff and his people.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of Manhattan announced Tuesday that his office filed  civil complaints against former Madoff employees Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi  to recoup  $5 million in assets they had.  Both worked for Madoff for more than 25 years and played a  role in the gigantic fraud, federal prosecutors alleged.

Authorities said Bongiorno responsibilities included  responding to clients’s questions about about their investments and  overseeing the fabrication of account statements, trade confirmations, and other documents. Crupi’s responsiblities included handing the receipt of funds  and transferring funds between Madoff’s business accounts.

According to a U.S. Attorney press release, the funds in question for ANNETTE BONGIORNO include: Approximately $1.1 million currently or formerly held in accounts at Citibank, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and HSBC; a 2005 Bentley Continental, for which BONGIORNO paid approximately $182,605; a 2007 Mercedes Benz, for which BONGIORNO paid approximately $90,000; and approximately $1.3 million paid towards a luxury condominium.

And for JOANN CRUPI: A house in Mantoloking, N.J., for which she paid $2,225,000 cash; and approximately $26,500 in rental income from the Mantoloking house, currently held at Commerce Bank.

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