Bruno trial ready for February

May 30, 2012

TimesUnion.com on May 30, 2012 released the following:

“Jury selection for second trial of ex-Senate majority leader set to begin Feb. 4 in Albany

By Brendan J. Lyons

ALBANY — The second criminal trial of former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno is scheduled to begin in February.

A federal judge on Tuesday met with federal prosecutors and Bruno’s defense attorneys for the first time since Bruno was indicted May 3 on two felony mail fraud charges. The attorneys discussed the scheduling of pre-trial motions, and the judge set a Feb. 4 trial date.

Bruno is charged with depriving the state of his honest services by allegedly using his political leverage to benefit a business associate and friend, Jared E. Abbruzzese of Loudonville.

Bruno’s dealings with Abbruzzese led to a conviction on two counts of honest services fraud at Bruno’s first trial, which ended in December 2009. The law used to convict Bruno was later retooled by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared honest services convictions must include allegations of a bribe or kickback, and Bruno’s conviction was vacated last fall.

A mid-level appeals court in Manhattan rejected Bruno’s arguments that he not face a second trial. The panel ruled there was enough evidence to support a new indictment, and the court ruled federal prosecutors could seek new charges on a theory that Bruno had received kickbacks.

Bruno, 83, did not attend Tuesday’s meeting in the chambers of U.S. District Senior Judge Gary L. Sharpe, according to court minutes.

In May 2010, Sharpe sentenced Bruno to two years in prison for his conviction on two of the eight counts of honest services fraud contained in the earlier indictment. The sentence was vacated after Bruno’s 2009 conviction was overturned.

The new indictment alleges Bruno received $440,000 in payments from Abbruzzese that were “disguised as ‘consulting’ payments and $80,000 in payments for a virtually worthless horse.”

The investigation of Bruno, called Operation Green Pastures, began in late 2005 when FBI agents started examining his use of private jet aircraft supplied by Abbruzzese, his horse-breeding partner. Abbruzzese flew Bruno to Kentucky horse country, New York City and exclusive Florida golf resorts — including trips that were largely bankrolled by Abbruzzese.”

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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

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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.


Former media mogul Conrad Black is released

May 4, 2012

Associated Press on May 4, 2012 released the following:

“MIAMI (AP) — Former media mogul Conrad Black was released from a federal prison in Miami early Friday and faced deportation after serving about three years for defrauding investors.

Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke did not give an exact time on when Black was released and said he didn’t have any other details.

Black, whose empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of London, The Jerusalem Post and small papers across the U.S. and Canada, had returned to prison last September to finish serving his sentence.

U.S. immigration officials said they had custody over Black, who doesn’t have American citizenship. Black is facing deportation and could travel to either Canada or Britain.

“I can confirm that he’s in (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) custody,” said bureau spokesman Nestor Yglesias He would not say where Black was headed, citing privacy laws.

A former member of the British House of Lords, he had been sentenced to more than six years in prison after his 2007 conviction in Chicago, but had then been released on bail two years later to pursue an appeal that was partially successful. A judge reduced his sentence to three years and he returned to prison last September. With time off for good behavior, he has completed his sentence.

Black’s big chance to quash his convictions arose in June 2010, when the U.S. Supreme Court sharply curtailed the disputed “honest services” laws that underpinned part of the case against him.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago tossed out two of Black’s fraud convictions last year, citing that landmark ruling. But it said one conviction for fraud and one for obstruction of justice were not affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling. The fraud conviction, the judges concluded, involved Black and others taking $600,000 and had nothing to do with honest services. It was, they asserted, straightforward theft.

Black – who received the title of Lord Black of Crossharbour – was known for a grand lifestyle, including a $62,000 birthday party for his wife, a swanky apartment on Park Avenue in New York and a trip to the island of Bora Bora.

Black’s three-month trial drew international attention, heightened by his sometimes haughty comments. When shareholders grumbled about the cost of the Bora Bora trip, he wrote a memo saying: “I’m not prepared to re-enact the French revolutionary renunciation of the rights of the nobility.”

At the core of the honest-services charges against Black was his strategy, starting in 1998, of selling off the bulk of the small community papers, which were published in smaller cities across the United States and Canada.

Black and other Hollinger executives received millions of dollars in payments from the companies that bought the community papers in return for promises that they would not return to compete with the new owners.

Prosecutors said the executives pocketed the money, which they said belonged to shareholders, without telling Hollinger’s board of directors.

At his resentencing hearing last year, several inmates wrote letters to the judge saying Black had changed their lives through lectures he gave on writing, history, economics and other subjects. But one prison employee claimed in an affidavit that Black had arranged for inmates – “acting like servants” – to iron his clothes, mop his floor and perform other chores. Another employee told her Black once insisted she address him as “Lord Black.””

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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

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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.


Superseding Indictment Charges Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno with Alleged Scheme to Defraud Citizens of His Honest Services

May 3, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 3, 2012 released the following:

Explicitly Charges Bribery and Kickback Theory, Pursuant to Decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

ALBANY, NY— A federal grand jury in Albany returned a superseding indictment today against Joseph L. Bruno, the former New York State Senate majority leader. Bruno is charged with carrying out a scheme to defraud the state of New York and its citizens of the right to his honest services through bribery and kickbacks by soliciting and accepting payments from an Albany businessman totaling $440,000. Bruno will be arraigned this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. before United States Magistrate Judge David R. Homer in Albany, New York.

Today’s indictment follows a trial and an appeal. In December of 2009, a jury convicted Bruno of two counts of honest services fraud. Then, in 2010, the United States Supreme Court decided United States v. Skilling, holding that the honest services statute criminalizes only fraudulent schemes involving bribes or kickbacks. On November 16, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion vacating Bruno’s conviction and authorizing a retrial, as requested by the United States. The Court of Appeals noted that the jury had been instructed pursuant to the law in effect at the time of the trial, which had not required bribery or kickbacks to constitute honest services fraud, but the subsequent Skilling decision had changed the law. In determining that a retrial was proper, the Court of Appeals reviewed the case against the elements of honest services fraud as altered by Skilling and held that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that Bruno accepted “payments that were intended to and did influence his conduct as a public official,” and to find that “Bruno’s actions deprived New York citizens of his honest services as a New York senator under the standard announced in Skilling.” The Court of Appeals also endorsed the government’s proposal to seek a superseding indictment, commenting: “While the indictment alleges sufficient facts to support a bribery charge, it does not explicitly charge a bribery or kickback theory, and does not contain language to the effect that Bruno received favors or gifts ‘in exchange for’ or ‘in return for’ official actions. It would be preferable and fairer, of course, for the government to proceed on explicit rather than implicit charges, and as the government intends to seek a superseding indictment, we dismiss the indictment, without prejudice.”

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said: “Based on the decision issued by the Second Circuit, a federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment today charging Joseph L. Bruno with depriving New York of his honest services through bribery, kickbacks, and the exploitation of his official position for personal enrichment. Before Skilling, a trial jury determined that Bruno committed honest services fraud, and the Court of Appeals determined that the evidence presented at that trial was sufficient to convict Bruno under the Skilling standard. We look forward to having an impartial jury consider this superseding indictment and the evidence in this case as soon as possible.”

According to the indictment:

  • Bruno solicited payments from an Albany businessman who directed that several companies pay Bruno a total of $440,000. The payments were disguised as “consulting” payments and $80,000 in payments for a virtually worthless horse. Bruno did not perform legitimate consulting work commensurate with the money that he was paid; the horse payments were to make up for expected consulting payments that had been stopped; and Bruno accepted the payments knowing, understanding, and believing that (a) he was not entitled to the payments; (b) the payments were made in return for official acts as opportunities arose rather than being given for reasons unrelated to his office; and (c) his reasonably perceived ability to influence official action, at least in part, motivated the making of the payments.
  • The payments gave the Albany businessman greater access to the New York State Senate majority leader than was available to the other citizens of New York state. In return for the payments, Bruno would and did perform official acts benefitting the interests of the Albany businessman and his companies as opportunities arose, including (a) in or about February 2004, Bruno directed the award of a $250,000 grant to Evident Technologies, Inc.; (b) in or about April 2004, Bruno recommended that the Albany’s businessman’s partner be appointed to the board of the New York Racing Association; (c) in or about July 2005, Bruno directed the award of a $2.5 million grant to the Sage Colleges for the benefit of Evident Technologies, Inc.; (d) in or about the fall of 2005, Bruno sought the acceleration of the award of the NYRA franchise; and (e) in or about November 2005, Bruno sought the dismissal of certain NYRA officials.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and Bruno is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. None of the other persons or entities identified in the indictment have been accused of federal criminal violations. If convicted, Bruno faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000 on each of the two counts of the indictment under the federal mail fraud statute.

The investigation which led to this indictment was conducted by the Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The United States is represented in this prosecution by Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth C. Coombe and William C. Pericak.”

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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

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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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.


Enron’s Skilling Rejected by Top U.S. Court on Conviction

April 16, 2012

Bloomberg on April 16, 2012 released the following:

“By Greg Stohr

The U.S. Supreme Court left intact Jeffrey Skilling’s conviction for leading the Enron Corp. accounting fraud, refusing to grant a second hearing to the imprisoned former chief executive officer.

Today’s rebuff leaves Skilling with nothing to show for his victory at the Supreme Court in 2010, when the justices said prosecutors used an improper legal theory to convict him. A federal appeals court then reaffirmed his 19-count conviction, saying the verdict would have been the same regardless.

Skilling is serving a 24-year sentence in a federal prison in Colorado after he and former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay were found guilty of deceiving investors about the company’s true financial condition. Lay died in 2006.

The accounting fraud caused Enron, once the world’s largest energy trading company, to file for bankruptcy in 2001, wiping out more than 5,000 jobs and $60 billion in shareholder value.

The 2010 Supreme Court ruling said Skilling couldn’t be convicted under a federal statute outlawing fraudulent schemes to withhold “honest services.” The high court said that law could be used only in cases involving bribery or kickbacks, which weren’t at issue in the Enron case.

The honest-services law had come into play on Skilling’s conviction on one charge of conspiracy. The jury didn’t spell out whether he had conspired to commit honest-services fraud or to commit securities fraud.

In its ruling last year, the New Orleans-based appeals court said there was “overwhelming evidence that Skilling conspired to commit securities fraud.”

Skilling’s sentence might be adjusted because the appeals court concluded in an earlier opinion that the trial judge overseeing the case erred on one issue.

The case is Skilling v. United States, 11-674.”

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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.


El Paso Attorney Luther Jones and El Paso County District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez Were Each Sentenced

August 16, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas on August 15, 2011 released the following:

“EL PASO ATTORNEY LUTHER JONES AND FORMER EL PASO COUNTY DISTRICT CLERK GILBERT SANCHEZ SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON

United States Attorney John E. Murphy and FBI Special Agent in Charge David Cuthbertson announced that El Paso attorney Luther Jones and El Paso County District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez were each sentenced today to six years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for scheming to deprive El Paso County and it’s citizens of the right to the honest services of elected members of the El Paso County Commissioner’s Court. In addition, United States District Judge Frank Montalvo ordered that Jones pay a $50,000 fine.

“The sentences imposed today send a strong message that those who have attempted to corrupt members of the El Paso County government will be held accountable for their actions and that such dishonesty will not be tolerated,” stated United States Attorney John E. Murphy.

In April, a federal jury found Jones and Sanchez guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and deprivation of honest services and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and deprivation of honest services.

Evidence presented during trial revealed that from October 2003 until July 2004, Jones and Sanchez conspired with others in a scheme to secure a multimillion dollar document imaging contract between El Paso County and one of Luther Jones’ clients. Specifically, Jones offered bribes in the form of cash, travel expenses to Las Vegas and gratuities to Sanchez, which Sanchez accepted, for his support of the contract and influence in his official capacity as an elected public servant. In addition, Sanchez directed another county employee, with assistance from Jones, to structure a Request for Proposal (RFP) with limitations embedded in the RFP that would assist Jones’ client in securing the contract. Furthermore, Jones caused cash bribes in the form of campaign contributions to be paid to a member of the El Paso County Commissioners Court for support in securing the multimillion dollar vendor contract for his client.

“The sentences imposed today reflect the seriousness of the crimes that the defendants have been convicted of. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to seek justice for El Paso citizens through the thorough and timely investigation of all credible allegations of public corruption in our community,” stated David Cuthbertson, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, El Paso Division.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Franco Gregory and Antonio Franco, Jr., prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.”

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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