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Tag: convicted

Coal King Don Blankenship Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison for Safety Violations

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.31.39 PM

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Massey Energy Chief Executive Officer Don Blankenship, 66, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Charleston, W. Va., to one year in prison and fined $250,000 for conspiracy to violate mine health and safety standards in West Virginia where 29 miners were killed in a coal dust explosion six years ago.

In December he became the first CEO in U.S. history to be convicted of a workplace-safety crime, Bloomberg reports. 

“This sentence is a victory for workers and workplace safety,”  Acting U.S. Attorney Carol Casto said in a statement “It lets companies and their executives know that you can’t take chances with the lives of coal miners and get away with it.  Putting the former chief executive officer of a major corporation in prison sends a message that violating mine safety laws is a serious crime and those who break those laws will be held accountable.”

A Justice Department press release stated:

Over the course of the trial, in which jury selection began on Oct. 1, 2015, and the jury returned a guilty verdict on Dec. 3, 2015, the jury heard evidence from 27 witnesses called by the United States.  Many of these witnesses were coal miners who worked at the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine prior to the 2010 explosion and they testified in detail from their firsthand knowledge of the unsafe working conditions at UBB, violations of U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations and organized efforts to obstruct and interfere with MSHA inspectors.

The jury heard from Bill Ross, former Manager of Technical Services at Massey, who testified that he warned Blankenship about the company’s practice of rampant violations and told the defendant prior to the UBB explosion that Massey’s standard tactic of ignoring or defrauding MSHA could not be sustained without the possibility of a serious accident that could have fatalities.  The evidence also showed that Blankenship received daily updates on safety violations and helped perpetuate them.

“Putting profits over the safety of workers is reprehensible,” Casto remarked.  “The jury acknowledged that with the guilty verdict and the sentence imposed today recognizes that disregarding safety laws has real consequences.  From the beginning, the objective of this investigation and this prosecution was to not only show that those who violate safety laws will be held responsible, but also to deter these violations in the future to make everyone’s workplace safer.”

Bentley-Driving Preacher Convicted of Using Day Care Grants to Fuel Lavish Lifestyle

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal jury on Wednesday convicted a Bentley-driving preacher on 13 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and lying to the FBI, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Herman Jackson, who once warned a federal judge about the “wrath of God,” was taken into immediate custody because of his previous behavior while out on bond.

The jury also convicted his wife, Janetta Faria, of all five fraud counts against her.

As the leader of the Ark of Safety Apostolic Faith Temple, Jackson, 39, submitted false documents to obtain state Child Care Assistance Program subsidy payments for three Chicago-area child care centers.

Jackson used the money to subsidize his lavish lifestyle.

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Seriously Injures Knee Getting into U.S. Marshals Van

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — A new motion filed on behalf of convicted felon Kwame Kilpatrick indicates that he thinks he has plenty appealable issues and is innocent of the 24 criminal counts he was convicted of in March.

It also talks about how he damaged his knee while getting into a U.S. Marshals van.

The motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court by attorney James Thomas, asks the judge for the third time to let Kilpatrick go free pending sentencing. His request the previous two times was rejected, and he’s likely to have a hard time convincing U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edminds to change her mind this time around.

Thomas writes that Kilpatrick has been preliminarily diagnosed with a torn Anterior Ligament (ACL).

In the motion he states:

This injury occurred just after the verdict in this case on March 11, 2013. While Defendant Kilpatrick was exiting the federal building, chained and bound (hands and feet), he slipped on the rain soaked steel step of the Federal Marshal Van, being provided for transport to the Federal Detention Center at Milan, Michigan. After receiving no care for more than a week at the Detention facility,and experiencing tremendous swelling of the knee, the Court convened a meeting of the federal marshals and Detention Center Staff.

To read more click here.

Blago Won’t Vanish Quietly; Wants a 3rd Trial

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

No suprise: Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich won’t ride off into the sunset — or head to prison — quitely.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Blagojevich, who was convicted last month of 17 of 20 public corruption charges in his retrial, filed a motion Monday for a retrial, alleging judicial bias and error that helped the prosecution “strip away the effective aspects of the defense case.”

“Virtually every error in this trial stemmed from the fact that this Court deprived Blagojevich of the presumption of innocence and exhibited bias against the defense,” the motion asserted, according to the Trib. “The Court formed a closed mind to the evidence and made findings of fact.”

The motion said that “the government did not only benefit from the first trial, it used every opportunity to strip away the effective aspects of the defense case. … The Court rubber-stamped the government’s requests.”

Sen. Kennedy’s Office Manager Convicted of Stealing More than $75,000

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – A former office manager for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy could be off to prison.

A federal jury in Washington on Tuesday convicted Ngozi T. Pole, 40,of Waldorf, Md., of stealing more than $75,000 by paying himself unauthorized bonuses, the Justice Department said. Specifically, he was convicted of five counts of wire fraud and one count of theft of government property.

As office manager, authorities said, Pole’s responsibilities included transmitting salary information to the Senate Disbursing Office in order to adjust the pay of employees in the senator’s office.

Authorities charged that Pole beginning in at least 2003 and continuing until January 2007, repeatedly submitted paperwork causing the Senate to pay him larger bonus payments than had been approved by either the chief of staff or Senator Kennedy.

Pole hid the unauthorized payments “by repeatedly transmitting information to the chief of staff that falsely showed that he received only those payments that had been authorized,” authorities said.

“Today, a federal jury found Mr. Pole guilty of using his position as a Congressional staffer to steal more than $75,000 of government money,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division said in a statement.

“Employees of Congress are entrusted with performing their duties honestly and ethically. While hundreds of them live up to that important duty every day, we will, as today’s verdict shows, hold accountable those few who use their positions to illegally enrich themselves.”

Authorities said Kennedy’s staff fully cooperated in the probe. Sentencing is set for July 14.

Two Guyanese Men Guilty in Plot to Blow Up JFK Airport

jfk airport

jfk airport

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two Guyanese men were convicted Monday in Brooklyn federal court of plotting to blow up JFK Airport by exploding fuel tanks and fuel pipelines underneath the airport, authorities said.

Following a six-week trial, the federal jury convicted Russell Defreitas, a naturalized citizen from Guyana, and Abdul Kadir.  Authorities had been watching them at an early point in the plot and nothing ever materialized.

Authorities said Defreitas came up with the idea to attack JFK Airport and its fuel tanks and pipelines after working at the airport as a cargo handler.

Starting in 2006, he recruit Kadir and others to join the plot during multiple trips to Guyana and Trinidad, the FBI said.

Between trips, he conducted video surveillance of JFK Airport “and transported the footage back to Guyana to show to his co-conspirators.”

A third person has pleaded guilty in the case and a fourth faces trial.

“The defendants intended to send a message by killing Americans and destroying the New York City economy,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

“Today, the only message is that those who engage in potentially deadly plots against the United States will be stopped and punished.”

Crooked Ohio Pol James Traficant Wants Back in the Game

James Traficant/umass.edu photo

James Traficant/umass.edu photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently you can’t keep a good crooked politician down.

Ex-Ohio Congressman James Traficant, who served  seven years in prison after being convicted on public corruption charges, and was notorious for sporting a bad toupee, filed papers Monday to run in the 17th Congressional district in Ohio, a seat currently held by his former aide Democrat Tim Ryans, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. He was released from prison in September.

Interestingly, Trafficant also told reporters he might also file papers for the 6th District seat held by Democrat Charlie Wilson.

“There is no rhyme or reason to it,” Traficant’s campaign spokesman Dennis Malloy told the Plain Dealer. “This is Jim Traficant we are talking about, not the run-of-the-mill everyday politician.”

Ohio election officials said a person can seek two offices, but a House Democratic leadership spokesman told the Plain Dealer Trafficant would have to pick one district to represented if elected to both.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Texas Fed Prosecutors Want Convicted El Paso FBI Agent to Forfeit Weapons, Silencer and Cash

remington

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors in El Paso want FBI agent John Thomas Shipley, who was convicted this month of dealing weapons without a license and lying to ATF agents about the sales, to forfeit 17 weapons, a silencer, ammunition and $7,340 in cash found in his home.

Authorities filed a motion last week in U.S. District Court in El Paso asking for the forfeiture and listing the weapons, which includes Remington rifles and Glocks. The silencer was described  as “IAWC Systems Technology Silencer, Model Thundertrap .30.”

A federal jury in El Paso deliberated for less than three hours earlier this month before convicting Shipley.

ATF agents arrested Shipley, 40, last year after tracing back to him a .50 caliber rifle that was used in a drug cartel shootout in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Authorities charged that he sold 51 weapons between 2005 and 2008 for more than $118,000. Sentencing is set for July 8.