Counterfeit sneaker defendant acquitted

October 20, 2012

The Buffalo News on October 19, 2012 released the following:

“BY: PHIL FAIRBANKS

By the time the predawn raids were over, 24 people were rounded up and charged, each one accused of taking part in a multimillion-dollar counterfeit sneaker ring stretching from China to Buffalo.

Five years later, one of the 24 rolled the dice and went to trial, well aware that each of his co-defendants had been convicted.

A federal court jury helped Greg Smiley beat the odds Thursday by finding him not guilty.

“He’s very happy and glad to be heading home to see his family,” said David R. Addelman, Smiley’s defense lawyer.

In understanding why Smiley went to trial – and ultimately got off – while 23 others did not, Addelman believes it is important to understand the defendants’ varying degrees of involvement in the counterfeit sneaker case.

He says Smiley was a relatively small player in the conspiracy, a network that started with manufacturers in China and stretched all the way to two New York City warehouses and ultimately to distribution points in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

“I don’t think we can read too much into it,” Addelman said of his client’s acquittal. “He was way out there in Atlanta all by himself.”

Prosecutors dismiss the notion that Smiley was anything but a major player in the conspiracy or that the case against him was weaker than against other defendants.

“We certainly felt the case was a strong one,” said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. “We charged 24 men and women and 23 were convicted.”

As the owner of Top of the Line Fashions, a small neighborhood clothing store, Smiley stood accused of buying and selling counterfeit Nike sneakers.

From the start, he argued that, yes, he bought the sneakers but no, he had no idea they were fakes.

“The prosecution was, he must have known,” said Addelman. “And the defense was, that’s no way to convict someone.”

The jury seemed to agree even though the prosecution, eager to prove Smiley knew what he was buying, played taped recordings of his conversations with one of the alleged ring leaders, Malik Bazzi.

“He’ll tell you how the whole operation ran,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski said of Bazzi early on in the trial. “He’ll tell you how he found suppliers. He’ll tell you how he found customers. And most important, he’ll tell you how he knew Greg Smiley.”

Federal agents also testified against Smiley, noting the taped conversations with Bazzi and the repeated delivery of counterfeit sneakers to Smiley’s store in Georgia.

Addelman countered by suggesting the recordings proved very little and that Smiley was nothing more than another victim of the conspiracy.”

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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

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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.


Media motion seeks Edwards juror names at end of trial

May 26, 2012

The Charlotte Observer on May 24, 2012 released the following:

“The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and other media organizations are seeking to make public the names of jurors deciding federal charges against John Edwards at the end of his trial at the U.S. District Court in Greensboro.

In a motion filed with the court Wednesday, the media organizations cited a local rule of the Greensboro court that prohibits the clerk’s office from disclosing without court permission the names, addresses and telephone numbers of people who have served on juries.

The panel deciding whether the former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate violated federal campaign-contribution laws is expected to begin its fifth day of deliberations Thursday. The jury has not been sequestered during more than four weeks of testimony or during deliberations.

The names of people serving on federal juries is public according to federal law, the media organizations argued in their court filings.

The motion also cites intense public interest in the trial and in how the jury ultimately rules. It argues that “there is no compelling governmental interest in withholding the identities of individuals who served on the jury. Moreover, given that the case has proceeded in open court with jurors whose identities are at least partially known, perpetuating the secrecy of the jury is an affront to the First Amendment in service of a weak interest with no hope of success.”

Joining in the motion are WRAL, WTVD, The New York Times Co., Media General, News 14 Carolina, NBC Universal and The Associated Press.”

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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.


Documents provide rare insight into FBI’s terrorism stings

April 16, 2012

The Washington Post on April 13, 2012 released the following:

“By Peter Finn

Days before his arrest in Pittsburgh last month, Khalifa Ali al-Akili posted a remarkable message on his Facebook page: A mysterious man who spoke often of jihad had tried to interest Akili in buying a gun, then later introduced him to a second man, whom Akili was assured was “all about the struggle.”

It smelled, Akili wrote on Facebook, like a setup.

“I had a feeling that I had just played out a part in some Hollywood movie where I had just been introduced to the leader of a ‘terrorist’ sleeper cell,” Akili wrote.

When he googled a phone number provided by the second man, it turned out to be to Shahed Hussain, one of the FBI’s most prolific and controversial informants for terrorism cases. Soon the sting was off; Akili was subsequently arrested on gun — not terrorism — charges, which he has denied.

It was a rare miss for Hussain, 55, who has played a wealthy, dapper member of a Pakistani terrorist group in several FBI operations over nearly a decade.

This role has inflamed Muslim and civil rights activists, who describe Hussain as an “agent provocateur,” and prompted harsh comments from the presiding judge in a 2010 case, who questioned his honesty and the aggressiveness of the FBI’s tactics.

“I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here except the government instigated it, planned it and brought it to fruition,” said U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon at the sentencing of four men from Newburgh, N.Y., convicted on terrorism charges. She added, “That does not mean there was no crime.”

Hussain declined to speak about his work for the FBI, saying in a brief phone interview, “I can’t say anything for security reasons.” The FBI declined to discuss Hussain or McMahon’s comments.

But the blown Pittsburgh sting and the voluminous court records from the 2010 case have provided rare insight into a tactic used increasingly by the FBI since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in which suspects are monitored almost from the beginning of plots and provided with means to help them carry them out. The targets in such stings have included Washington’s Metro subway system, the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol.

There have been 138 terrorism or national security cases involving informants since 2001, and 51 of those have come over the past three years, according to the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School in New York. The center said the government secured convictions in 91 percent of those cases.

Law enforcement officials say stings are a vital tactic for heading off terrorism. But civil rights activists and others say the FBI has been identifying individuals with radical views who, despite brash talk, might have little ability to launch attacks without the government’s help.

“It almost seems like the government is creating a theatrical event that produces more fear in the community,” said Michael German, a senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union and a former FBI agent who worked undercover.

Yet in these terrorism stings, every attempted defense that has alleged entrapment by the government has failed, according to Fordham’s Center on National Security. The FBI said that record speaks volumes and rejected any suggestion that it has invented terrorist plots. “They present the idea,” FBI spokesman Kathleen Wright said of the targets of investigations. “It is not us coming up with these ideas.”

Officials said the subjects of these stings are the ones who first generate suspicion — by contacting terrorists overseas, attempting to secure weapons or speaking of a desire to commit violence.

One of the prosecutors in the 2010 case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Halperin, said in court that confidential informants such as Hussain are an “important tool” for the FBI. “Mr. Hussain is Pakistani. He speaks Urdu. He speaks Pashto. He’s Muslim. He can read Arabic,” Halperin said. “All of these things make Mr. Hussain a very valuable asset for the FBI.”

The birth of an asset

In testimony for the 2010 terrorism case, for which Hussain appeared as a witness for the prosecution, he described himself as a member of a politically connected family in Pakistan who fled to the United States with his wife and children after he was falsely accused of murder during a government crackdown against the secular MQM party. He arrived on a fake British passport in 1994, Hussain testified.

In the years since, his relatives in Pakistan have transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to him, allowing him and his family to acquire gas stations, a beverage center and a motel in Upstate New York, according to financial records produced in court. He also testified that former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, during a trip to New York, gave his son $40,000 to buy a new car, but the judge, McMahon, questioned the veracity of the claim.

It was not the only time McMahon expressed doubts about Hussain’s honesty.

“By the end of the trial, the jury knew that Hussain had lied about his finances to at least two courts (the Northern District of New York and the Northern District Bankruptcy Court), lied to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, lied to the Town of Colonie and its school district about his residence, lied to potential customers of his motel, and lied to the IRS about his income at tax time,” wrote McMahon.

In late 2001, Hussain was arrested on federal fraud charges of helping immigrants illegally secure driver’s licenses. Hussain, who had been working as a translator for the Department of Motor Vehicles, faced a possible prison term and deportation to Pakistan. He pleaded guilty and, as part of his agreement with the government, cooperated with the FBI by going undercover to secure evidence against several former associates in the scheme, including his mistress.

Hussain excelled in this new role — a fact grudgingly accepted even by his detractors.

“Both his physical and emotional presence seemed impervious to chastisement, to exposure, to anything — nothing seemed to throw his casual defiance off course,” said Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham’s Center on National Security, who has observed Hussain in court.

The bureau also has sent Hussain to London and Pakistan, where he infiltrated a terrorist training camp, according to court testimony.

In the summer of 2003, Hussain first adopted the persona of the suave, moneyed terrorist at the direction of the FBI. The object of the sting was Yassin Aref, an Iraqi Kurd and the spiritual leader of an Albany mosque.

Aref was convicted of participating in a plot to launder funds from the sale of a shoulder-fired missile. Aref’s attorneys said he simply saw what he thought was a loan between Hussain and the owner of a struggling pizza parlor who was also convicted. Aref and the owner of the pizza parlor were sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The informant at work

On another assignment for the FBI, Hussain went to Newburgh’s Masjid al-Ikhlas mosque 12 times before he met James Cromitie, a convert to Islam and a stocker at a Wal-Mart, in June 2008.

In a poor community, Hussain struck an odd figure, driving Hummers and BMWs and wearing designer clothes.

Salahuddin Muhammad, imam of the mosque, said in an interview that some people suspected that Hussain was an FBI informant. He was too eager to engage people in conversation about jihad, Muhammad said.

Cromitie, who attended the mosque infrequently, either didn’t hear of the suspicions of others or didn’t care.

Hussain later told the FBI that Cromitie said: “Look, brother, I might have done a lot of sin, but to die like a shaded (martyr), I will go to paradise . . . I want to do something to America.”

By July, Hussain had told Cromitie he was part of a Pakistani terrorist group. Cromitie, who had multiple drug convictions but no history of violence, said he wanted to join, according to the FBI’s debriefing of the informant.

During a November 2008 trip to Philadelphia with Hussain, which coincided with the terrorist attacks on several locations in Mumbai, India, Cromitie made some of his most incendiary statements.

Cromitie hadn’t heard of the attacks, but Hussain pointed out that one of the targets in Mumbai was a Jewish center, according to transcripts of conversations that were secretly recorded and later played in court.

“I’d like to get a synagogue,” Cromitie said.

The judge later noted in a finding of fact that “whenever Hussain asked Cromitie to act on those sentiments — make a plan, pick a target, find recruits, introduce the [confidential informant] to like-minded brothers, procure guns and conduct surveillance — Cromitie did none of the above.”

McMahon said that at this point Hussain began to add “more worldly inducements” to the “offer of paradise” beginning with a BMW “but only after Cromitie had completed a mission.”

Closing the net

Hussain left for Pakistan on Dec. 18, 2008, and didn’t return to the United States for two months. While he was away, the FBI briefed officials at Stewart International Airport in New York on the investigation but assured them that “Cromitie was unlikely to commit an act without the support of the FBI source.”

Indeed, Cromitie said, “I just dropped everything,” according to the transcript of the conversation. But when Hussain returned, Cromitie’s enthusiasm was rekindled.

McMahon later wrote that “the court believes and specifically finds that it was about this time when Hussain offered Cromitie as much as a quarter million dollars to participate in a mission.”

Such an offer was not authorized by the FBI, the prosecutor told the court. Hussain denied making it, saying the reference to a specific amount of money was not intended to be literal. McMahon, in her sentencing, said she did not believe him.

After a surveillance drive around Stewart Air National Guard Base on Feb. 24, 2009, Cromitie cut off communication with Hussain for six weeks, he later testified. Cromitie pretended to have left town, although he was still in Newburgh.

On April 5, Cromitie called Hussain. “I have to try to make some money, brother,” Cromitie said.

“I told you. I can make you $250,000, but you don’t want it, brother. What can I tell you,” Hussain said.

Cromitie soon was back in.

On May 20, 2009, Hussain, Cromitie and three associates drove south from Newburgh carrying three duffel bags, each stuffed with nearly 40 pounds of explosives and 500 steel ball bearings to maximize casualties at a synagogue and a Jewish community center in the Bronx. After bombing them, the men planned to double back north to Stewart Air National Guard base near Newburgh to launch a stinger missile at parked military planes.

But the FBI had provided the bombs and the missile and had rendered them harmless.

All four Newburgh men were later convicted on terrorism charges in a jury trial and sentenced to 25 years in prison. They have appealed.

On the final drive to the Bronx, Hussain tried to get Cromitie to prime the bombs by following his instructions on which wires to connect, Hussain testified. But Cromitie and the others couldn’t figure it out, and Hussain had to stop the car and do it himself.

When they got to the Bronx, Hussain had to explain how to operate a car key fob so Cromitie could open the first of the pre-parked cars and plant the bomb.

Afterward, Hussain asked him if he had turned the bomb on. “I forgot,” Cromitie replied.

Hussain told him not to worry, it could still be detonated.

Cromitie then set off to plant the other two bombs, but he couldn’t open the trunk of the next car. Hussain told Cromitie by walkie-talkie to just put them in the back seat.

Hussain then signaled for the FBI to move in.”

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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

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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 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.


Federal Jury Acquits All Six in a High-Profile Alabama Federal Corruption Case

March 8, 2012

AJC.com on March 7, 2012 released the following:

“Jury acquits all 6 in Ala. casino corruption case

By PHILLIP RAWLS
The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A jury acquitted a casino owner, three current or former state lawmakers and two other defendants on all counts Wednesday in a high-profile federal case that alleged the legislators were being bribed to legalize gambling in the state.

The jury returned its verdict after seven days of deliberations. One-by-one, each defendant stepped up to a podium in front of the judge to hear the verdicts. They nodded in agreement with the jury’s decision, squeezed their attorneys’ hand or bounced nervously as the clerk said not guilty. Family members in the gallery sobbed in relief, and when court recessed, there were hugs all around.

“We feel like this case was built on innuendos, lies and half-truths,” said Tom Coker, a casino lobbyist who was among those acquitted.

The federal investigation of vote buying began with three Republican legislators telling the FBI they were offered campaign contributions if they would support legislation designed to let electronic bingo games operate in Alabama.

Federal prosecutors said behind the scenes, two casino operators and their lobbyists were offering millions in campaign contributions, benefit concerts by country music entertainers, free polling and other incentives for votes.

The trial was the second for the defendants. The first ended in August with no convictions, two defendants acquitted, and the jury unable to resolve all charges against the remaining defendants.

“This is truly a day to celebrate, and ladies and gentlemen, the celebration starts now,” said VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor.

State Sen. Harri Anne Smith said she would walk into the Senate on Thursday and get to vote again.

“I got my life back today and I want to thank God for that jury,” Smith said.

Also acquitted were former Sens. Larry Means and Jim Preuitt, and Country Crossing casino spokesman Jay Walker.

McGregor, the casino owner, was accused of offering large campaign contributions to legislators for their votes for gambling legislation. Smith and the former senators were accused of agreeing to accept bribes in return for their votes.

The jury found McGregor and the others innocent on charges that included conspiracy and bribery.

The case was the latest in a series of government corruption investigations in Alabama, including the conviction of former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy on bribery charges in 2006 and a probe of Alabama’s two-year college system that brought down three legislators and the system’s former chancellor in 2008.

The three Republican legislators who cooperated with the FBI recorded calls and meetings and the FBI tapped phones during a yearlong probe that coincided with Republican Gov. Bob Riley creating a task force to shut down electronic bingo. Riley said the machines, featuring flashing lights and sound effects, were illegal slot machines and not simply an electronic version of paper bingo.

Riley’s task force seized machines and won court battles while casino operators failed in 2009 and in 2010 to pass protective legislation.

Ronnie Gilley, the developer of Country Crossing casino, and two of his lobbyists, Jennifer Pouncy and Jarrod Massey, pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Former state Rep. Terry Spicer of Elba also pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Massey and Gilley. All four helped the prosecution and are scheduled for sentencing in April.

Prosecutors said Gilley provided Smith with $200,000 in campaign money, plus a fundraising concert by John Anderson and Lorrie Morgan. They accused Gilley and McGregor of promising Means $100,000 for his vote. They accused Gilley, McGregor and Walker of promising Preuitt $2 million in contributions, a fundraising concert by country music starts and other campaign support.

Defense attorneys argued the case was based on lies told by the guilty in hopes of getting lighter punishment.

All three indicted senators voted for the gambling legislation when it passed the Senate on March 30, 2010. The FBI announced its investigation two days later, and the bill died in the House without coming to a vote.

McGregor’s casino, 15 miles east of Montgomery, was once the state’s largest with 6,000 machines, but it has been closed since the crackdown in 2010. Other casinos, including one in Dothan operated by Gilley’s former partners, are operating.

One thing that was never in dispute in the trial was the profitability of electronic bingo. McGregor’s attorneys acknowledged his casino in Shorter made $40 million in 2009 when it was operating all year and lost $4 million in 2010 when it was closed most of the year.”

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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 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 McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Witness Says He Warned Stanford on Ponzi Plan

February 3, 2012

The New York Times on February 2, 2012 released the following:

“By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

HOUSTON — As R. Allen Stanford’s chief financial officer, James A. Davis knew a lot about his boss’s offshore banking operations. As he took the witness stand on Thursday against his former boss, Mr. Davis said he repeatedly warned him over the years that his Ponzi scheme would collapse, and to make his point graphically he would cup his hands as if they were in handcuffs while making his plea.

“I told him what we are doing would have consequences, and not good consequences,” he recalled as Mr. Stanford took notes and shook his head in denial. “Mr. Stanford would just laugh, and he would say, ‘I will just blame it all on you.’ ”

And that is just about what is happening as the Texas financier once thought to be worth over $2 billion stands trial on multiple charges of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, with Mr. Davis already indicted and serving as the lead prosecution witness.

It was just the beginning of what court officers and lawyers involved in the case believe will be four or five days of an emotional locking of horns between the two men most responsible for running an offshore bank on the island of Antigua that prosecutors say fleeced nearly 30,000 investors of $7 billion in investments.

In his first day on the stand, Mr. Davis described how Mr. Stanford had fraudulently made up insurance coverage to lure investors and had taken a blood oath with senior Antiguan bank regulators who would overlook his misdeeds and profit from them. He also testified how Mr. Stanford had lavished loans and campaign contributions on Antiguan political leaders, and how the cash reserves of the Stanford offshore bank disappeared over the years in money-losing businesses and loans to Mr. Stanford until nothing was left by 2009.

Throughout his testimony, Mr. Davis described a relationship with Mr. Stanford in which he was emotionally bullied to lie and cheat investors, and to keep his secrets from everyone, including his wife.

“Yes, I did lie,” Mr. Davis said, fighting back tears. “I wanted to please Mr. Stanford. I was proud. I was a coward. Later on I was greedy, regrettably.”

Perhaps no man except Mr. Stanford himself knew more about the operations of Mr. Stanford’s empire — which included real estate, restaurants, two airlines and even a cricket team and stadium — than Mr. Davis. Soon after the enterprises collapsed three years ago, Mr. Davis was indicted and pleaded guilty to several counts of fraud and conspiracy to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. He faces up to 30 years in jail.

The lawyers for Mr. Stanford, in their opening argument to the jury and in cross-examinations of witnesses over the last two weeks, have tried to build a case that Mr. Davis, not Mr. Stanford, would have been at the center of any shady financial dealings, which centered on sales of supposedly safe, high-interest certificates of deposit. But the money, according to the prosecution, went to risky investments, loans to Mr. Stanford and bribes from a Swiss bank to Antiguan officials.

Mr. Davis described Mr. Stanford as a cagey, manipulative dictator who was quick to compliment but even quicker to lash out in anger. Mr. Davis described how he rearranged the offices of some employees when Mr. Stanford was away from the office for several weeks and did not return messages.

When Mr. Stanford returned from his travels, he entered Mr. Davis’s office and screamed, “ ‘I thought I was C.E.O. around here’ and then slammed the door,” Mr. Davis testified. “He didn’t speak to me for three months.”

Another time, Mr. Davis recalled, Mr. Stanford asked him to take a drive in his new Mercedes-Benz on the Katy Freeway outside Houston. Mr. Stanford floored the accelerator until the car reached 170 miles an hour. “He scared me to death,” Mr. Davis said. “He instilled intimidation and fear.”

Mr. Stanford’s lawyers have argued that while Mr. Stanford was the chief strategist and marketing guru, Mr. Davis invested the money and handled the paperwork. He not only worked apart for years from Mr. Stanford, from an office in Memphis, but he also hired many investment executives, including his own trusted family members.

In his introductory arguments, Robert A. Scardino, one of Mr. Stanford’s lawyers, called Mr. Davis a “liar and a crook and yet these prosecutors are going to ask you to believe him.”

Mr. Davis differed with that characterization. “Everyone reported to Mr. Stanford,” he testified.

“In a charismatic way, he managed by flattery, fear, intimidation. He said it was better to be feared as a manager than be loved,” Mr. Davis testified.

Mr. Stanford has pleaded not guilty to all 14 counts of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. His lawyers say he will testify, but because Mr. Stanford has said that his memory was shattered by the blows he sustained two years ago in a prison fight, it is unclear what he will say about Mr. Davis.

Mr. Davis began working for Mr. Stanford in 1988 and, he testified, from the start there were secrets. Mr. Davis said he was told not to speak to Mr. Stanford’s father, James, who was a junior partner in the bank, without first talking to him. Mr. Stanford also explained that the bank, the Guardian International Bank, had been founded offshore rather than in the United States, saying, according to Mr. Davis, that “he did not feel he could go through that rigorous regulatory vetting.”

For years, Mr. Davis testified, he was suspicious of fraud, but he was not certain until 1991, when Mr. Stanford ordered him to fly to London merely to fax to a prospective investor a fake confirmation from a shell insurance company Mr. Stanford had concocted. When Mr. Davis went to the office, it was nothing but a desk, a chair and a fax machine in an office cubicle. Mr. Davis flew back to Houston as soon as he sent the fax, he said.

When Mr. Davis questioned Mr. Stanford about the scheme, Mr. Davis said, his boss “said this was really a marketing device” and that paying “premiums would be a waste of money.”

When asked repeatedly by the prosecution why he had continued to work for Mr. Stanford after the episode, Mr. Davis replied, “I was a coward. I was embarrassed and he signed my paycheck.”

Mr. Davis said he had been paid handsomely and estimated that he made $14 million over the years in salary, with additional bonuses and loans of $850,000 in 2008 and 2009.

Tieless, and dressed in a gray suit and white shirt, Mr. Stanford took notes through much of Mr. Davis’s testimony. He frequently shook his head in disbelief and even laughed softly.”

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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 – Detention Hearing

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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 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 McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


David Michael McElmurry Convicted by a San Diego Federal Jury of Distribution of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography

August 29, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 26, 2011 released the following:

“United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that David Michael McElmurry was convicted today after a three-day jury trial before United States District Court Judge John A. Houston. A federal jury returned verdicts convicting McElmurry of one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. McElmurry faces a fifteen-year mandatory-minimum sentence.

According to evidence presented at trial, McElmurry used the screen name “Teentrade” on a file-sharing program where he had over 41,000 files of child pornography available for sharing. Among his collection were children as young as infants involved in sexual conduct with adults and other children. The jury also heard testimony about his previous law enforcement contact from 2006, when he stated he was addicted to child pornography, had been viewing it since he was 15 years old, used encryption and traded files online.

The Court scheduled a sentencing hearing on November 28, 2011, at 8:30 a.m.

Case Number: 10CR5096-H

DEFENDANT
David Michael McElmurry

SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(4)(B) (Possession of Images of Minors engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct)
Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2) (Distribution of Images of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct)

Minimum penalty: 15 years’ imprisonment.
Maximum penalties: 40 years’ imprisonment.
Supervised Release: 5 years – Life.
Mandatory Registration under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act

AGENCY
Federal Bureau of Investigation”

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 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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Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez Convicted by a Federal Jury on All Counts for Their Involvement in the Scheme to Bribe Haiti Officials

August 7, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida on August 5, 2011 released the following:

“TWO TELECOMMUNICATIONS EXECUTIVES CONVICTED BY MIAMI JURYON ALL COUNTS FOR THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN SCHEME TO BRIBE OFFICIALS AT STATE-OWNED TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY IN HAITI

Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, former executives of Terra Telecommunications Corp., have been convicted by a federal jury on all counts for their roles in a scheme to pay bribes to Haitian government officials at Telecommunications D’Haiti S.A.M (Haiti Teleco), a state-owned telecommunications company. The jury reached its verdict yesterday after five hours of deliberations, following a two-and-a-half-week trial.

The convictions were announced by U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida; Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Special Agent in Charge Jose A. Gonzalez of Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), Miami Field Office.

“These individuals conspired and made corrupt payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of securing business advantages for their company,” said U.S. Attorney Ferrer. “The FCPA helps to create a more level playing field in which businesses can compete fairly and sends the message that American businesses are simply not up for sale.”

“These defendants authorized more than $800,000 in illegal bribe payments to Haitian officials in exchange for business advantages – a clear violation of the FCPA,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “This verdict is another powerful example that bribery of government officials – whether at home or abroad – has serious consequences. In finding the defendants guilty on all charged counts, the jury sent an unmistakable message that paying off foreign officials does not, in fact, pay off.”

“These convictions send a strong and clear message that we will aggressively pursue investigations on subjects that use shell companies to launder funds,” said IRS Special Agent in Charge Gonzalez. “IRS-CID will utilize its financial investigative expertise to unravel any complex money laundering scheme leaving no financial stones unturned.”

Joel Esquenazi, 52, of Miami, and Carlos Rodriguez, 55, of Davie, Fla., were convicted of one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and wire fraud; seven counts of FCPA violations; one count of money laundering conspiracy; and 12 counts of money laundering.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Esquenazi was the president and Rodriguez was the executive vice president of Terra, which was headquartered in Miami-Dade County, Fla. Haiti Teleco was the sole provider of land line telephone service in Haiti. Terra had a series of contracts with Teleco that allowed the company’s customers to place telephone calls to Haiti.

According to the evidence presented at trial, the defendants participated in a scheme to commit foreign bribery and money laundering from November 2001 through March 2005, during which time the telecommunications company paid more than $890,000 to shell companies to be used for bribes to Teleco officials. Esquenazi and Rodriguez authorized these bribe payments to successive directors of international relations at Teleco.

The purpose of these bribes, according to the evidence presented at trial, was to obtain various business advantages from the Haitian officials for Terra, including the issuance of preferred telecommunications rates, reductions in the number of minutes for which payment was owed, and the continuance of Terra’s telecommunications connection with Haiti. To conceal the bribe payments, the defendants used various shell companies to receive and forward the payments. In addition, they created false records claiming that the payments were for “consulting services,” which were never intended to be performed or actually performed.

Esquenazi was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals. Rodriguez remains free on bond. Sentencing for both defendants currently is scheduled for Oct. 13, 2011.

On April 27, 2009, Antonio Perez, a former controller at Terra, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and money laundering. On Jan. 12, 2010, he was sentenced to 24 months in prison, which he is currently serving.

On May 15, 2009, Juan Diaz, the president of J.D. Locator Services, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and money laundering. He admitted to receiving more than $1 million in bribe money from telecommunications companies. On July 30, 2010, he was sentenced to 57 months in prison, which he is currently serving.

On Feb. 19, 2010, Jean Fourcand, the president and director of Fourcand Enterprises Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering for receiving and transmitting bribe monies in the scheme. On May 5, 2010, he was sentenced to six months in prison.

On March 12, 2010, Robert Antoine, a former director of international affairs for Haiti Teleco, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He admitted to receiving more than $1 million in bribes from Miami-based telecommunications companies. On June 2, 2010, he was sentenced to 48 months in prison, which he is currently serving.

In a superseding indictment, Washington Vasconez Cruz, Amadeus Richers, Cinergy Telecommunications Inc., Patrick Joseph, Jean Rene Duperval and Marguerite Grandison are charged in a related scheme to commit foreign bribery and money laundering from December 2001 through January 2006. No trial date is currently set. An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The conspiracy to commit violations of the FCPA and wire fraud count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost. The FCPA counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $100,000 or twice the value gained or lost. The conspiracy to commit money laundering count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. The money laundering counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. The indictment also seeks forfeiture which will determined by the court at a later date.

The government’s investigation is ongoing. The Department of Justice is grateful to the government of Haiti for continuing to provide substantial assistance in gathering evidence during this investigation. In particular, Haiti’s financial intelligence unit, the Unité Centrale de Renseignements Financiers (UCREF), the Bureau des Affaires Financières et Economiques (BAFE), which is a specialized component of the Haitian National Police, and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security provided significant cooperation and coordination in this ongoing investigation.”

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 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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