Prosecutor Who Ran Ethics Unit Leaves Justice Department

April 17, 2012

The New York Times on April 17, 2012 released the following:

“By CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday announced the departure of a high-profile prosecutor who ran its ethics unit during the botched case against Senator Ted Stevens and has since played a prominent role in the Obama administration’s efforts to prosecute officials for leaking information to the press.

The departure of the prosecutor, William M. Welch II, was disclosed in a motion before a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va. The department informed the court that he would no longer represent the government in the case against Jeffrey Sterling, a former Central Intelligence Agency official who is accused of leaking information to James Risen, an author and a reporter for The New York Times.

“Mr. Welch is leaving the Department of Justice for a job in the private sector,” the motion said, but it did not give details.

Another department official confirmed that Mr. Welch had retired, saying that his last day was Friday, and that he was taking a job in the Boston area. A law firm that represented him during the fallout from the Stevens case also confirmed that he had left the Justice Department. NPR first reported Mr. Welch’s departure on Monday.

A hard-charging prosecutor, Mr. Welch got his start in 1989 in the Justice Department’s tax division and later worked as an assistant United States attorney in Nevada and in Massachusetts. In August 2007, he was made acting deputy chief of the public integrity section at Justice Department headquarters, and the following March became its chief.

In that position, he oversaw the trial team that won a conviction against Mr. Stevens in October 2008 for failing to report gifts from an oil-services firm. But the conviction was withdrawn and the case collapsed after it emerged that prosecutors had failed to turn over information to the defense that could have helped Mr. Stevens, an Alaskan Republican who lost re-election in November 2008 and later died in a plane crash.

The federal judge overseeing the case held Mr. Welch and other prosecutors involved in the case in contempt of court, and the judge and the Justice Department opened investigations. Last month, however, the judge made public the results of his investigation, and the findings largely exonerated Mr. Welch.

Specifically, the report found that Mr. Welch had been cut out of direct supervision of the trial team because his superiors in the criminal division had taken a strong interest in the case and so he had focused on other cases. It also found that “to his credit, on each occasion” when disclosure issues were brought to Mr. Welch for a decision, he directed prosecutors to provide the information to the defense.

Back in 2009, Mr. Welch was replaced as head of the public integrity section. In October of that year, he returned to the United States attorney’s office in Massachusetts but continued to work for the criminal division, whose new head, Lanny A. Breuer, asked him to take up several largely dormant leak investigations left over from the Bush administration years.

One of those cases was against Thomas Drake, a former National Security Agency official whom Mr. Welch eventually prosecuted in connection with leaks to The Baltimore Sun about enormous waste and mismanagement within the agency.

Mr. Welch initially sought conviction on charges that could have put Mr. Drake in prison for 35 years, winning an indictment in April 2010. But the case against Mr. Drake largely collapsed amid a dispute over what classified evidence prosecutors could use.

Mr. Drake pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge and received a year of probation, while all the major charges were dropped and he avoided prison time. When the judge overseeing the case accepted the deal in July, he called the government’s handling of the case — putting Mr. Drake through “four years of hell” and devastating him financially, only to drop the major charges on the eve of trial — “unconscionable.”

Mr. Welch also helped revive an investigation against Mr. Sterling, who is accused of providing information about what was portrayed in Mr. Risen’s 2006 book, “State of War,” as a botched effort to sabotage Iranian nuclear research in 2000. Mr. Sterling was indicted in December 2010.

That case, too, is in trouble. Mr. Welch had been seeking to compel Mr. Risen to testify against Mr. Sterling, but Mr. Risen’s lawyers invoked the First Amendment and said he would not testify about any confidential sources. A district court judge ruled in favor of Mr. Risen. In appealing that ruling, prosecutors told the appeals court that if the ruling stands, it “effectively terminated the prosecution” of Mr. Sterling.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


9th Circuit Court of Appeals To Hear Appeal Over Medicating Jared Lee Loughner

August 30, 2011

The Associated Press (AP) on August 30, 2011 released the following:

“SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday over a request to permanently ban prison officials from forcibly medicating the Tucson shooting rampage suspect with psychotropic drugs.

At issue in Jared Lee Loughner’s appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal is whether prison officials or a judge should decide whether a mentally ill person who poses a danger in prison should be forcibly medicated.

Prosecutors say the decision is for prison officials to make, while Loughner’s lawyers say it’s up to a judge.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges in the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

He has been at a federal prison facility in Springfield, Mo., since late May after mental health experts determined he suffers from schizophrenia and a judge ruled him mentally unfit to stand trial. He was sent to the facility in a bid to restore his mental competency so he can assist in his legal defense.

Loughner was forcibly medicated from June 21 to July 1 after prison doctors concluded that he was a danger. His attorneys appealed U.S. District Judge Larry Burns’ ruling that said Loughner could be forcibly medicated in prison.

After the appeals court temporarily stopped Loughner’s forced medication, the prison put Loughner under round-the-clock suicide watch in mid-July after he asked a prison psychologist to kill him. Prison staff said Loughner’s psychological condition was deteriorating, noting that he had been pacing in circles near his cell door, screaming loudly and crying for hours at a time.

Loughner was given twice daily dose of an oral solution of Risperidone, a drug used for people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe behavior problems.

Loughner’s attorneys have questioned whether prison officials violated the appeals court’s order by medicating him again.

Eventually, the appeals court denied a request by Loughner’s attorneys to prevent the prison from continuing to medicate him. The court never said whether prison officials had violated its earlier order that temporarily prevented them from forcibly medicating Loughner.

Loughner’s attorneys continue to contest the forced medication in both the district and appeal courts.

Defense lawyers argued that the decision to forcibly medicate their client solely on the basis of an administrative hearing held by prison officials had violated Loughner’s due-process rights. For instance, they said, Loughner was denied the chance to call a witness at a hearing.

Prosecutors said the appeal is without merit because defense attorneys are asking the district court judge to substitute his judgment on whether Loughner poses a danger while in prison with the conclusions of mental health professionals.

They also said Loughner received all necessary due-process protections and noted that the witness he requested was his lawyer and that he didn’t have a right to have a lawyer at the administrative hearing at the prison.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Tamara Lanz Moon Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Six Counts of Mail Fraud Alleging She Stole From Her Clients at Citigroup

June 30, 2011

U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of California on June 29, 2011 released the following press release:

Former Citigroup Employee Allegedly Stole A Total Of More Than $800,000 From More Than 20 Clients

SAN FRANCISCO – Today agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Tamara Lanz Moon based on charges that she stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from her clients at Citigroup, United States Attorney MELINDA HAAG announced. On June 23, 2011, a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Moon on six counts of mail fraud, and that Indictment was unsealed this morning after Mooon’s arrest.

According to the Indictment, Moon, 43, formerly of Redwood City and now of Fremont, worked for Citigroup from 1996 until 2008. During that time, she was registered as a General Securities Representative, and she held both a Series 7 and a Series 63 license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. At Citigroup, Moon’s duties included executing trades for brokers and handling much of the paperwork related to certain clients who had investment accounts with Citigroup.

According to the Indictment, Moon operated a scheme through which she stole a total of more than $800,000 from more than 20 of Citigroup’s clients. Moon allegedly falsified account records, forged client signatures, created fake “letters of authorization” to divert client funds, and made unauthorized trades in client accounts. According to the Indictment, Moon used the proceeds of her scheme to remodel her home, to pay mortgages on properties she owned, to pay her credit card bills, to pay down her personal home equity line of credit, and to invest in real estate.

After she was arrested this morning, Moon appeared in Court and was arraigned on the Indictment. She was released on bail and ordered to appear before United States District Court Judge William H. Alsup on July 5, 2011, at 2:00 p.m.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, is 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, three years of supervised release, and restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Doug Sprague and Robin Harris are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rayneisha Booth. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Ms. Moon must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 11-0404 WHA”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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