Alleged ‘Bucket List Bandit’ Michael Eugene Brewster Arrested in Oklahoma

September 14, 2012

Fox News on September 14, 2012 released the following:

“FBI: ‘Bucket List Bandit’ caught in Oklahoma

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH – An interstate bank robbery suspect nicknamed the Bucket List Bandit because he allegedly told a Utah bank teller he had only four months to live has been captured in Oklahoma, an FBI agent said Friday.

Michael Eugene Brewster, 54, was arrested Thursday night after a traffic stop in Oklahoma City, said Jason Crouse, the acting head of the FBI office in Erie, Pa. Crouse’s office is investigating a robbery in the northwestern Pennsylvania city earlier this week. He wouldn’t provide details of the arrest because the FBI planned a national announcement later in the day.

Erie FBI agents got a warrant for Brewster’s arrest earlier Thursday for robbing the Huntingdon National Bank branch in Erie on Monday. Erie is about 120 miles north of Pittsburgh.

A confidential informant called to give agents Brewster’s name and birth date after recognizing his picture in media accounts of the robberies that began June 21 in Arvada, Colo., a Denver suburb, according to the warrant. The warrant doesn’t say how the person knew that information.

A teller at the Erie bank picked Brewster’s photo out of a lineup and authorities then reviewed surveillance video and found an “obvious likeness” to Brewster during nine prior robberies in Flagstaff, Ariz.; Pocatello, Idaho; Roy, Utah; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Bloomington, Ill.; Columbia and O’Fallon, Mo., and the Colorado heist. Photos from the various robberies show a man with grayish, thinning hair, generally combed or brushed backward, wearing glasses and what appears to be the same blue polo shirt with a front pocket.

Authorities have released few details of the robberies, beyond those that appear to link the heists and relate to his nickname, which derived from the July 6 robbery of a Wells Fargo Bank in Roy, Utah.

That’s where the suspect allegedly told the teller, “I have four months to live,” after passing her a note demanding money, Rebecca Wu of the FBI’s St. Louis office told the AP after the Missouri robberies in late August.

Roy Police Sgt. Danny Hammon said police don’t know the specific wording of the note because the suspect took it back. Investigators haven’t said whether they’ve confirmed if Brewster is even terminally ill.

Online federal court records don’t list an attorney for Brewster, who was expected to make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate in Oklahoma City on Friday.

Crouse, the FBI agent, didn’t say how authorities tracked Brewster to Oklahoma.

The warrant doesn’t identify his hometown, but indicates he’s wanted for borrowing a black Chevy Captiva from a woman in Pensacola, Fla. on June 11 and not returning it. The vehicle was similar to one described by witnesses at several of the robberies authorities think Brewster committed, but Crouse said the vehicle didn’t figure in to how authorities tracked down Brewster.

No one has been hurt in any of the robberies and officials aren’t saying how much money he’s gotten away with except for the $4,080 taken from the Erie bank, which was disclosed in the FBI arrest warrant.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


Former Vincent Gray aide should avoid prison time, prosecutors say

September 11, 2012

The Washington Post on September 10, 2012 released the following:

“By Del Quentin Wilber

A former aide to Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign should be sentenced to probation, not prison time, because he “took full responsiblity for his crimes and provided substantial assistance to the government,” federal prosecutors wrote in court papers filed Monday.

Howard Brooks, 64, pleaded guilty in May to making a false statement to an FBI agent about his activities in the mayoral campaign, admitting that he was instructed to make illegal payments to a fringe candidate assailing then-Mayor Adrian Fenty (D).

Gray, then the D.C. Council chairman, beat Fenty in the 2010 Democratic primary and cruised to a general election victory.

Another campaign aide, Thomas W. Gore, 56, has pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and three misdemeanor charges of making of a campaign contribution in the name of another in the scame scheme.

Gore and Brooks have admitted to carrying out a scheme that illegaly diverted campaign funds to fringe candidate Sulaimon Brown so he could continue attacking Fenty.

No sentencing date has been set for Gore.

It is not clear what “substantial cooperation” Brooks provided federal authorities. Prosecutors disclosed details of that help under seal, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment on the case.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


Ex-NFL player pleads guilty to wire fraud in FBI sting

August 8, 2012

Sun Sentinel on August 7, 2012 released the following:

“By Paula McMahon

A former NFL first-round draft pick who was arrested in an FBI fraud sting earlier this year has pleaded guilty to his role in the crime, court records show.

A second former NFL player arrested in the same sting is scheduled for a change of plea hearing next week in federal court in Miami, according to court records.

Former Oakland Raiders running back Michael Antwon Bennett pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Fort Lauderdale to one count of wire fraud.

He was caught in an operation by the FBI, which set up an undercover financial services store in North Miami between February and April. An undercover agent worked behind the counter and the store was equipped with audio and video surveillance equipment.

Bennett, who turns 34 next week, admitted that he had sent an email to the store fraudulently claiming that he had $9 million in the bank so he could obtain a $200,000 loan, court records show.

Bennett went to the store on April 18 and signed a loan agreement to borrow $200,000 and repay $280,000 after three months. When agents checked the bank account, they found that Bennett had opened an account there about a month earlier but it had a zero balance and there had never been any money in the account.

When Bennett returned to the store and picked up a $150,000 cashier’s check on April 30, he was arrested. FBI agents said he admitted that he altered the bank statement to give the false impression that he had millions of dollars in his account.

The maximum penalty for the offense is 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 but prosecutors have agreed to recommend a punishment on the lower end of the sentencing guidelines, which are still being calculated, when he is sentenced in October.

Meanwhile another NFL player, William Joseph, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on Aug. 14 in Miami. The terms of the proposed plea agreement will not be made public until the court hearing.

Joseph, 32, of Miramar, was indicted in May on five federal charges including aggravated identity theft, possession of false identification documents, theft of government money and forgery of U.S. Treasury checks.

Federal authorities said Joseph cashed a $10,088 income tax refund check that was not his and that he did not have permission to cash.

Joseph played for the New York Giants between 2003 and 2007, then spent three years with the Raiders.

Former Syracuse player Louis Gachelin, 31, of Miramar, pleaded guilty earlier this year to theft of government money and aggravated identity theft in the same investigation.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


Bulger plans to take the stand

August 7, 2012

The Boston Globe on August 7, 2012 released the following:

“He would detail an immunity deal

By Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff

James “Whitey” Bulger, once America’s most wanted criminal, will for the first time ­address the charges against him, taking the stand in his own defense in hope of convincing a jury that federal officials once granted him immunity for his many crimes, his lawyer said Monday.

J.W. Carney Jr. announced that plan during a hearing in US District Court in Boston. He said Bulger wants to provide a firsthand account of his relationship with the FBI and the deal he had for working secretly as a government informant.

“He is going to tell the truth, if the judge permits him to,” Carney later told reporters outside the federal courthouse.

Bulger’s testimony could further shed light on one of the darkest eras of the FBI, as the gangster would probably describe the crimes he committed, what the FBI knew of them, and whether he received promises for his cooperation, providing a firsthand, real-life account of the type of underworld events that have become the fodder of books and movies.

Carney said that Bulger, a ­fugitive for more than 16 years until his arrest in June 2011, wants to tell his story directly to jurors at his trial, scheduled for March, rather than bring it ­before US District Court Judge Richard Stearns, who is presiding over the case.

Bulger’s lead attorney has questioned whether Stearns, who was head of the criminal division in the US attorney’s ­office in Boston during part of the time Bulger allegedly committed his crimes, would be able to look at the immunity claim impartially.

“Our client believes that he will get fairer consideration on the issue of immunity from a jury than he will from the person who was the head of the criminal bureau of the United States attorney’s office,” Carney said, adding, “I expect that he will get a fair jury and trust that they will see the truth.”

Bulger, a notorious gangster in Boston, had been secretly working as an FBI informant while allegedly carrying out his crimes. He fled shortly before a federal indictment of him came down in January 1995, after ­being tipped off by his corrupt FBI handler, John Connolly, who is now in prison for his role in a murder linked to Bulger.

Later, hearings in US District Court in Boston exposed Bulger’s inappropriate relationship with the FBI, and he was eventually charged with participating in 19 murders. He was discovered and arrested in ­Santa Monica, Calif. in a rent-controlled apartment he had been sharing with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, since 1996.

Family members of some of Bulger’s alleged victims said outside the courthouse Monday that Carney is getting desperate in his representation of the ­notorious gangster, and they questioned how Bulger could believe he had a “license to kill.”

But they also said they look forward to his testimony.

“I want to hear what he has to say,” said Patricia Donahue, whose husband, Michael, was an innocent bystander allegedly gunned down by Bulger in 1982 while giving a friend a ride home.

Whether Bulger will be able to raise an immunity defense before jurors remains an open question, according to legal ­analysts. The courts have established, in the case of Bulger’s longtime cohort, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, that a ­defendant cannot claim immunity offered by a rogue FBI agent.

US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf made that ruling, which was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, when Flemmi said he and Bulger were granted ­immunity for passing along information incriminating the Mafia.

But Carney has said that Bulger’s deal was different: The 82-year-old gangster asserts the immunity was granted not by the FBI, but from within the US Department of Justice, which has the authority to make ­immunity agreements.

Carney would not identify the law enforcement official he said granted Bulger’s immunity, saying he will do that at trial. But he has indicated in court ­records that he plans to call as witnesses some of the former law enforcement officials who held leadership positions in the US attorney’s office, such as Stearns and William F. Weld, former governor, who was also a US attorney during a part of the time Bulger allegedly committed his crimes.

Carney also said he would introduce evidence that would impeach the credibility of past statements by former and ­deceased law enforcement officials, such as former US attorney Jeremiah O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan was the US attorney who decided against indicting Bulger and Flemmi in a historic horse race-fixing scheme, though about 20 other gangsters, including associates in their Winter Hill gang, were charged and received lengthy prison sentences.

A.J. Manieri, a Providence-based criminal defense lawyer who has followed the Bulger case and others in organized crime, said the assertion of ­immunity seems to be a question of law that Stearns might have to decide before it reaches jurors. Prosecutors will probably argue that Bulger had no deal of immunity for crimes such as murder, and jurors should not be exposed to the assertion. Manieri said that the judge could exclude testimony that would not be relevant to the charges.

But he also said that Carney will want to show that the agreement came not from a rogue FBI agent, but from within the leadership of the Department of Justice. He said Carney could be successful just in having Stearns take up the legal ­issue because it would settle the question of law. “It’s going to be a bloodbath in there,” he said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


$43,000 embezzled out from under nose of FBI

July 16, 2012

Star-Telegram.com on July 16, 2012 released the following:

“Not everybody can be a paid snitch for the FBI. First, the case agent proposing to operate a confidential informant must complete an Initial Suitability Report and Recommendation addressing 17 different factors, such as the person’s motivation and truthfulness. To make sure the FBI is getting its money’s worth, it also tracks the “statistical accomplishments” of snitches – such things as the number of indictments, convictions and search warrants for which they get credit. Finally, when an FBI agent pays a snitch, another agent is supposed to go along to sign a receipt.

At least, that’s how you do it by the books.

So the FBI might have some explaining to do, after a special agent in Oklahoma managed to carry on an embezzlement scheme for four years, taking more than $43,000 from the agency’s confidential informant fund. On Friday, Special Agent Timothy Klotz pleaded guilty, the Justice Department reports. He worked in classified counterintelligence, the Oklahoman reports.

You might have seen this one coming, though. After all, 87 percent of the confidential informant files examined by the inspector general for the FBI failed to meet the agency’s guidelines, according to a 2005 report. Among the failures, information corroborating the extent to which the informant’s help would be relevant was missing from a number of files. And Congress was told in 2007 that there was potential for abuses in the program.

In Klotz’s case, he submitted 66 false confidential informant payment receipts on which he forged the signature of either FBI special agents or the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for North Texas handled the investigation after auditors discovered discrepancies. – Lois Norder”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


Judge approves release on bail for Texas horse trainer in alleged Zetas plot

June 19, 2012

The Washington Post on June 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press, Published: June 18

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge ruled Monday that a Texas horse trainer charged with conspiring to launder money for Mexico’s powerful Zetas drug cartel should be released on bail, rejecting the prosecution’s argument that the threat of cartel reprisals against him was so severe it could harm the surrounding community.

Eusevio Maldonado-Huitron remained in custody because federal prosecutors said they will appeal the decision. Hours later, however, federal prosecutors filed a motion to withdraw their appeal, clearing the way for Maldonado-Huitron’s release soon.

Maldonado-Huitron ran a horse farm in Bastrop County southeast of Austin and is among 15 people charged with helping the Zetas launder millions of dollars through quarter horse operations in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and California.

After listening to a string of witnesses in a bail hearing that stretched over two days, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin said he was setting conditions for Maldonado-Huitron’s release, but he didn’t immediately make them public.

Prosecutors conceded that they had no evidence Maldonado-Huitron was violent but said there was a risk he could flee to Mexico and disappear given his family ties in that country. However, the greater danger in releasing him from federal custody, they argued, was the threat posed by the Zetas targeting him and his family — and by extension, the community at large.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Fernald said she was limited on what she could say in open court prior to trial. But she argued that Maldonado-Huitron should remain in custody given the “nature and seriousness of the danger to any member of the community,” due to both “the nature of this organization and the seriousness of the potential retaliation, not just to him but to his family members and anyone else.”

That argument was based on testimony Friday from FBI agent Haskell Wilkins, who said the defendant was a serious flight risk due to the possibility he could be targeted by the Zetas.

But Maldonado-Huitron’s attorney, assistant federal Public Defender Jose Gonzalez-Falla, countered Monday that “we haven’t heard anything to indicate” his client’s guilt. He said prosecutors’ arguments of “’trust us, it’s in the indictment’” is not enough.

Gonzalez-Falla said Maldonado-Huitron is an illiterate horse trainer who poses no threat to the Zetas. An associate of Maldonado-Huitron’s from El Paso testified Monday that the trainer was actually dismissed weeks before his arrest because his horses were underperforming, which the defense attorney said meant his client was now even less important in the eyes of the cartel.

“Why on earth would they hit my client?” he asked. “What has he done? He’s a horse trainer.”

Also testifying Monday was Maldonado-Huitron’s brother, Jesus, who when asked if he knew what the Zetas were answered through an interpreter, “just what you hear on TV.”

“From what they say, they killed a lot of people in Mexico and then they toss the bodies out,” the elder Maldonado-Huitron testified.

Gonzalez-Falla said his client had a right to get paid for his services no matter who hired him, adding that the government’s arguments were based only on “a bunch of rumors about receiving some money.” He said prosecutors feared the ferociousness of any possible reprisals, “just because they’re the Zetas and they’re bad and they kill people and take their heads off.”

“What does that have to do with my client?” he asked.

Austin sided with the defense, saying Maldonado-Huitron’s family might be targeted, but that the threat was no less acute if the defendant was in prison. He said the only risk to the lager community he could see might be “someone’s horse might get beat in a race if Mr. Huitron trains the horse.”

Austin also said he appreciated the flight risk but couldn’t imagine the defendant fleeing to Mexico given how powerful the Zetas are there.

Maldonado-Huitron is “frankly, a lot better off in the United States than in Mexico, which is the only place I can see he’d flee to,” the judge said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

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Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


Man Offers Guilty Plea, Upending Terror Case

June 14, 2012

The New York Times on June 13, 2012 released the following:

“By BENJAMIN WEISER

A terrorism case in Manhattan that raised key questions about government interrogation tactics ended abruptly on Wednesday after the defendant pleaded guilty to conspiring to support a Somali terrorist group.

The defendant, an Eritrean man named Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed, admitted in Federal District Court that he trained in a camp run by the Somali group, Al Shabab, in 2009. The case had been seen as a potential test of the Obama administration’s strategy of interrogating terrorism suspects for both intelligence and law enforcement purposes.

Indeed, the plea came as the judge, P. Kevin Castel, was poised to rule on a motion by Mr. Ahmed’s lawyers seeking suppression of statements he had made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while he was in custody in Nigeria; his lawyers argued that the statements had not been voluntary and, thus, were inadmissible.

“I have in my hand a 60-page draft of the decision on the motion to suppress,” Judge Castel, holding up a thick document, said in court before accepting Mr. Ahmed’s plea. The judge did not reveal how he would have ruled on the motion, but said that the ruling itself would “now be suppressed.”

Mr. Ahmed, 38, who had lived in Sweden, was scheduled for trial on July 9. He had been accused of providing material support to a terrorist group, receiving training and bomb-making instruction in Shabab military camps in Somalia in 2009 and using a firearm in a crime of violence. The firearm count alone carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. As a result of Mr. Ahmed’s plea — to two conspiracy counts — he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years when he is sentenced on Nov. 2, the judge said in court.

Mr. Ahmed’s lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, said after the proceeding, “I’m sure Mr. Ahmed would have liked to have challenged the actions of the United States.” But, she added, given the difference between a maximum 10-year sentence and what could have resulted from a guilty verdict, it would have been a “humongous risk” to go to trial.

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said Mr. Ahmed had “traveled a long way from his home in Sweden to Somalia, where he took up the cause of Al Shabab, a deadly terrorist organization and sworn enemy of the United States and its people.”

Mr. Ahmed told the judge that in Somalia, he contributed 2,000 euros to Al Shabab and trained in one of its military camps, knowing that the United States considered it a terrorist organization.

Mr. Ahmed was taken into custody by Nigeria in 2009 under suspicion of being an agent for Al Qaeda. He was later interrogated by separate groups of American officials, known colloquially as “dirty” and “clean” teams.

The first team questioned him for intelligence purposes, without advising him of his rights, prosecutors have said. About a week later, a second team, of F.B.I. agents, read him his rights, which he waived, and he began to make incriminating statements, the government says. An issue before the judge had been how separate the American officials kept the two interrogations.

A prosecutor, Benjamin Naftalis, told Judge Castel that had the case gone to trial, the evidence would have included Mr. Ahmed’s statements and testimony from cooperating witnesses. Prosecutors have said a former Shabab military commander has been cooperating; although he has not been identified, his description resembles that of Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali captured by the United States military last year and questioned aboard a naval vessel for about two months.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


FBI drops subpoenas at treasurer’s office

June 13, 2012

TheTelegraph.com on June 13, 2012 released the following:

“By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT
The Telegraph
EDWARDSVILLE – Two FBI agents visited the Madison County Treasurer’s Office Tuesday morning to deliver grand jury subpoenas to two employees.

Current Treasurer Kurt Prenzler said the two employees also worked under former treasurer Fred Bathon. He said he assumed the investigation was about either tax sales or bond purchases. He emphasized that he was only assuming and had no knowledge of what the issue was.

The agents also visited the Madison County Clerk’s Office. A source in that office said they were there because County Clerk Mark Von Nida had previously been critical of Bathon’s handling of tax sales.

Von Nida, who had no direct comment on the matter, is credited with helping switch the sales process to its current setup wherein tax debts are auctioned electronically, allowing a more genuine bidding process and lower bids. The bids under Bathon were consistently at 18 percent, meaning the tax buyers consistently collected 18 percent of each tax debt they recovered.

The agents also were asked the location of Bathon’s personal secretary, but she was not there and is employed in another office, Prenzler, a Republican, said.

In a tax sale, the county auctions off delinquent property tax debts. Tax buyers bid a percentage penalty they may collect on the debt. Once the auction is completed, the successful bidder pays off the debt to the county and attempts to collect the debt, plus the percentage penalty they bid.

The newer system employs a computer system designed to produce a true, spontaneous bid, rather that the 18 percent that applied under Bathon’s term.

The system was in place under Prenzler’s immediate successor, Frank Miles, and the average penalty was 9 percent. The most recent sale under Prenzler was 2.65 percent.

A spokesman for the FBI Springfield office said he could neither confirm nor deny the report.

County officials have also been exchanging criticism over Republican Prenzler’s sale of $41 million in bonds before their call date. The sale resulted in the lost of millions of dollars, his Democratic critics claim.

Prenzler’s supporters say the losses were on paper, only, and that the sale was made because the bonds had a maturity date of more than the county’s 10-year maximum. Prenzler fired two employees over the bond purchases.

Democratic supporters say the bonds were “callable,” meaning they could be sold at a profit before the 10-year term, making them more profitable for the county and, in effect, within the 10-year guideline.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


Catherine Greig sentenced to 8 years for harboring ‘Whitey’ Bulger

June 12, 2012

Boston Glove on June 12, 2012 released the following:

“Catherine Greig, the girlfriend who spent years on the run with notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, was sentenced today to eight years in prison by a federal judge who said that Greig had aided “someone accused of the most serious crimes imaginable” to evade capture by law enforcement.

“We’re all responsible for what we do,” US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock told Greig at her sentencing hearing. “We all make choices.”

“There has to be a price imposed,” the judge said, “to serve as general deterrence.”

The sentencing closed another chapter in the saga of Bulger, a fearsome figure accused of 19 murders who once roamed the city’s underworld while at the same time being protected as a highly prized FBI informant. His connections with a corrupt FBI agent led to a tipoff that allowed him to flee and remain a fugitive for 16 years, until his arrest, along with Greig, last year. Bulger now faces a trial in the fall.

Woodlock, saying that the case demonstrated “how the criminal justice system can break down,” also fined Greig $150,000 and ordered her to serve three years of supervised release.

Prosecutors, arguing today for a 10-year sentence, say Greig, 61, was the “key actor” in a conspiracy that allowed Bulger to evade law enforcement. Assistant US Attorney Jack Pirozzolo said it would be “wise and reasonable” considering the nature of the case.

“Essentially, the defendant was committing a crime, day after day,” Pirozzolo said in US District Court in Boston. “This is a woman who by choice chose to help a man who has been accused of vicious crimes.”

But defense attorney Kevin Reddington, who has described Greig as a woman who was a victim of her love for Bulger, said she had not committed any crimes and was simply Bulger’s “housemate.” In court filings, he said that she was kind to animals, and never believed that Bulger was a murderer.

The sentencing hearing had included brief but emotionally charged testimony from relatives of some of Bulger’s victims.

Tim Connors, 37, whose father, Edward, was allegedly shot to death by Bulger June 12, 1975 — 37 years ago today — was first to speak. He addressed Greig, saying, “You are as much a criminal as Whitey, and you ought to be handled as such. … You are a cold-hearted criminal.”

Greig appeared to pay close attention what her attorney and prosecutors said — and then to the testimony of the relatives.

For the most part, when the relatives were speaking, Greig looked straight ahead, avoided eye contact, and showed no obvious emotion.

However, when Connors made a reference to the 1984 suicide of her brother, David, Greig’s composure crumpled.

Connors said he would have killed himself, too, if he had a sister like Greig. Greig gasped, then put her hands to her face and mouth – and started to cry. It took her several minutes to regain her composure. In March, Greig said in open court that she had sought psychiatric counseling after her brother shot himself to death.

Greig and Bulger were arrested last June at the Santa Monica apartment where they had been staying since at least 1996. Bulger, facing a racketeering indictment that alleges he took part in a host of murders, was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. He fled the Boston area just before he was about to be charged in an initial indictment in 1994, after being tipped off by his corrupt FBI handler.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


An aggressive, all-out defense

June 6, 2012

ESPN on June 6, 2012 released the following:

“By Lester Munson

WASHINGTON — It would be easy for Roger Clemens and his legal team to poke a few holes in the evidence against him and then argue to the jury that federal prosecutors have failed to meet the Constitution’s requirement of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If they managed to convince one or two jurors, they could hope for a deadlock in the jury’s deliberations and a mistrial and a technical victory.

That is not what they are doing. As they presented their 14th witness on Tuesday, they were in the middle of a massive effort that seeks nothing less than the total destruction of the government’s effort and a not-guilty-on-all-counts verdict that will vindicate Clemens and begin to restore his legacy as one of baseball’s greatest pitchers.

It’s a highly unusual strategy. There was enough doubt about the government’s evidence after the four-day cross-examination of the prosecutors’ star witness, Brian McNamee, that many defense lawyers would have concluded their efforts and relied on the jury to find the necessary “reasonable doubt.” McNamee confessed to numerous lies, mistakes and exaggerations, the kinds of admissions that most defense lawyers agree are enough to persuade one or more dubious jurors to hold out for a not guilty verdict.

But lead Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin’s cross-examination of McNamee was only the beginning, not the end, of the defense effort.

Relying on a high school teammate, retired ballplayers, expert witnesses, a housekeeper, two masseuses, a broadcaster, and even an FBI agent, Hardin is offering answers to every element of the government’s charges against Clemens. And there is more to come. Hardin says he’ll finish his presentation of as many as 21 witnesses on Friday, and when he is done, it promises be an impressive accumulation of evidence.

Here’s a look at how the Clemens lawyers have responded so far to the government’s charges that Clemens lied to Congress when he denied that he had ever used steroids or HGH.

At the center of the government’s case is a trove of syringes, cotton balls, vials, and ampoules that McNamee claims he used to inject Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. McNamee gathered the physical evidence after injecting Clemens in August 2001, stored it in a beer can and a FedEx box in his house, and finally turned it in to the government in January 2008. The prosecutors used an FBI expert and a forensic scientist from a private lab to show that Clemens’ DNA was present on some of the materials.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Goldberger, a Ph.D. forensic toxicologist who is the founder and director of a lab at the University of Florida, explained to the jury that the physical evidence did not meet the standards that apply to the collection and preservation of physical evidence.

Goldberger’s testimony came after a vigorous and extended argument from Asst. U.S. Attorney Daniel Butler, who insisted to U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton that Goldberger was not qualified to offer expertise on the collection of evidence and was qualified only to examine substances (blood, urine, drugs) in his laboratory. Clearly impressed with Goldberger and his knowledge of evidence collection, Walton allowed Hardin to present the expert to the jury.

Commingling the cotton balls, the syringes, and the other materials in what may have been a damp beer can, Goldberger said, leads to the possibility of “cross-contamination” and precludes the connection of any of the materials to anyone.

Speaking calmly and persuasively in what was the most powerful testimony in the entire trial, Goldberger told the jury that “the possibility of contamination leads to unreliable laboratory conclusions” and “there must be certainty beyond a reasonable doubt before we can make the scientific connection” between the material and an individual.

In the course of Goldberger’s testimony, the language of the trial was transformed with words like “manipulation” and “fabrication” and “garbage” suddenly being used in connection with materials the prosecutors had described as “medical waste.”

Goldberger told the jury that the material was doubly suspicious because it had been “collected and preserved by the accuser.” Hardin was soon referring to McNamee as the “accuser-collector.”

Butler’s cross-examination of Goldberger did not help as he quarreled with Goldberger about his qualifications and picked at him with questions about the “back story” of a piece of evidence. Butler succeeded only in allowing Hardin to come back with a question that prompted Goldberger to conclude that the physical evidence was the worst Goldberger had seen in 30 years of working with trial evidence.

On another central issue in the trial, Hardin has managed to suggest something that seemed totally unlikely ballplayers’ use injections of Vitamin B12 the way most of us use aspirin or Tylenol. Clemens, in what once seemed to be a weak response to allegations that he had been injected with steroids, claimed that the injections were B12.

Former pitcher Mike Boddicker told the jury that B12 injections were common during his 13 years in the big leagues and that he once walked into the Boston Red Sox training room and was surprised to see Clemens with his pants down being injected in the buttocks with B12. Boddicker, another charming and engaging witness for the defense, told the jury that he could see “B12” on the vial on the training table.

Like the other MLB players that Hardin and Clemens have presented, Boddicker seemed to capture the attention of the jury with his stories that he survived in the big leagues for 13 years with an 84-mph fastball and that he was once traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Red Sox for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling.

Prosecutor Steven Durham tried to cross-examine Boddicker by raising the well-known, unwritten law of an MLB clubhouse that what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. It was supposed to show that Boddicker would skew his testimony to help Clemens. But, instead, it opened the door for Hardin to return with Boddicker’s report that Clemens would frequently leave the clubhouse in uniform to visit children in Boston hospitals and that he insisted that his teammates tell no one, especially media, about it.

The enormous Clemens-Hardin effort clearly has the prosecutors scrambling. In his attempt to prepare for Goldberger’s testimony, Butler was on the phone with Goldberger on Tuesday morning, only hours before Goldberger appeared before the jury. To prepare for Boddicker’s testimony, the prosecutors sent an FBI agent to interview him on Sunday before his Tuesday appearance.

The defense strategy is proactive, and it is aggressive. It fits what we know of the Clemens way of doing things. It’s working now, but as another great ballplayer said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.