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.


Stiff sentence appears likely for Blagojevich today

December 7, 2011
Rod Blagojevich
Rod Blagojevich

Chicago Tribune on December 7, 2011 released the following:

“By Bob Secter, Jeff Coen and John Chase
Tribune reporters

Two things were clear Tuesday by the close of the first day of Rod Blagojevich’s sentencing hearing: The former governor was likely going to be hit with a stiff sentence, and his legal team had abandoned its early hope of him avoiding prison altogether.

At the same time, Blagojevich’s lawyers went to lengths to portray their client as an extraordinarily devoted family man at heart as well as a sensitive, caring politician who deserves leniency.

“Be merciful,” Blagojevich’s wife, Patti, wrote to U.S. District Judge James Zagel in excerpts from a letter read in court.

“Be merciful,” Blagojevich’s lawyer Aaron Goldstein also repeated as he closed a lengthy argument that for the first time acknowledged wrongdoing by Blagojevich but also sought to minimize the damage it caused.

Blagojevich has yet to speak on his own behalf. That will come today before Zagel formally decides on how much time to give the ex-governor for convictions on 18 criminal counts involving the attempted sale of a U.S. Senate seat, illegal shakedowns for campaign cash and lying to federal agents.

Zagel made it clear that he plans to take a hard-line approach to interpreting sentencing guidelines, siding with prosecutors in their calculation that Blagojevich hoped to squeeze more than $1.6 million in campaign cash from schemes on which he was convicted. Blagojevich’s lawyers argued that the numbers weren’t real because none of the money was paid and some of the shakedown targets testified they never had any intention of doing so.

The judge also said he did not buy defense arguments that the impeached governor was manipulated by aides and advisers into committing crimes. Zagel said he considered Blagojevich to be the ringleader of a criminal conspiracy, a designation that can lead to a significant increase in prison time under the guidelines.

Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison for Blagojevich, and Zagel’s comments suggest he could easily settle on something within that range.

“I do believe that is absurd to contend that his staff and advisers would devise criminal schemes whose only aim was to benefit the defendant,” the judge said. “He promised them nothing. He was interested in himself.”

It was a deeply chastened and somber Blagojevich who appeared in court Tuesday, a stark contrast to the defendant who entered and left court with a swagger during his two criminal trials. Back then, he acted almost as if he was still in campaign mode, glad-handing supporters in and out of the courthouse, waving to cameras and often stopping to proclaim his innocence and attack prosecutors for persecuting him.

On Tuesday, Blagojevich went out of his way to avoid the limelight. He was ushered in and out of the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse through a passage not accessible to the public and away from the media glare.

Inside court, which was held in an oversize room usually reserved for public ceremonies, Blagojevich was subdued and even looked sullen on occasion. His wife sat on a spectator bench behind the lawyer’s table, sometimes tearing up as her brother and sister consoled her.

On Wednesday, prosecutors will get their chance to explain why they think Blagojevich deserves a long prison term. While Blagojevich’s lawyers disagree, they also backed off previous public statements suggesting he was a candidate for probation.

When Zagel flatly asked Goldstein if he sought probation for the former governor, the attorney avoided repeating the word and said only that the defense wanted “the lowest sentence possible.”

In legal papers filed with Zagel last week, Blagojevich’s legal team came close to suggesting that the former governor still considered himself a victim and did not accept the jury’s finding. But in court, Goldstein and other Blagojevich lawyers repeatedly sought to backtrack on that, acknowledging for the first time that he committed crimes.

The marquee allegation in the case was that Blagojevich tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama before he went to the White House. And Sheldon Sorosky, another Blagojevich lawyer, said the former governor erred when he asked for a job in return for appointing Obama friend Valerie Jarrett.

“We accept the fact that’s a crime, it’s illegal, he should not have done it,” Sorosky said. “That crime does not call for a 15-year jail sentence.”

Likewise, Blagojevich sought campaign donations from supporters of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in exchange for a Jackson appointment to the Senate seat, Sorosky said. He pointed to a 2008 undercover recording of Blagojevich telling his brother, Robert, then his campaign finance chief, that if he appointed Jackson, “some of this stuff has to start happening now.”

“He’s asking for a contribution here. And that’s wrong and he’s guilty, but I don’t know that that’s anywhere near selling a Senate seat for $1.5 million,” Sorosky said. “And once again this does not call for a sentence of 15 years in jail.”

The defense repeatedly turned to Blagojevich’s family to hit the most emotional notes of the hearing’s first day. The lawyers said the family would be devastated if its husband and father is taken away for a decade or more.

“Your honor, I ask you humbly with the life of my husband and the childhood of my daughters in your hands, be merciful,” Patti Blagojevich wrote to Zagel in a letter from which Goldstein quoted.

Goldstein also read messages that Blagojevich wrote several years ago to his now-teenage daughter, Amy, when she was on a school trip. Amy was coming home the next day, and Blagojevich described how he couldn’t wait to see her.

The attorney also read passages to the judge from a letter Amy wrote recently about her father. In a message to the court prepared as part of the defense presentation, Amy said one of the few good things about her father’s criminal case has been that he has been home a lot with her.

“He’s been here to help me with my homework,” she wrote. “He’s been here to teach me life lessons.”

She, too, asked the court for mercy, describing how her life has been turned on its head and how a long sentence would make it worse.

“It’s too drastic a change. I need my father,” she wrote. “I need him there for my high school graduation. I’ll need him there if I don’t get into college.

“I’ll need him when my heart gets broken.”

Goldstein rattled through a litany of other public corruption cases that Blagojevich contends were far worse but still yielded lighter sentences. Many involved public officials who directly pocketed bribes in exchange for government action, while Blagojevich was asking only for campaign donations, got no money and ultimately didn’t use his power to punish those who didn’t give to him.

“It wasn’t cash in an envelope,” said Carolyn Gurland, another Blagojevich lawyer.

Even the added element of Blagojevich’s nonstop publicity campaigns railing against prosecutors has been seen before — and not produced a sentence like the one the government is now seeking, the defense said.

Don Siegelman, a former governor of Alabama, was charged in a corruption case and repeatedly painted himself as the victim of a government conspiracy, Goldstein said. He received a little more than seven years in prison.

Gurland asked Zagel not to sentence Blagojevich to a stiff term in order to send a broader message to other politicians. Blagojevich shouldn’t feel the brunt of a government effort to get ever-tougher prison terms for politicians who seemingly never learn not to illegally self-deal, she said.

Punishing Blagojevich for the wrongs of figures such as former Gov. George Ryan, Blagojevich’s predecessor who is now in prison, would be “demonstrably unfair to Mr. Blagojevich,” Gurland said.”

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

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.


After crime, punishment awaits ex-Gov. Blagojevich

December 6, 2011
Rod Blagojevich
Rod Blagojevich

The Associated Press (AP) on December 6, 2011 released the following:

“By MICHAEL TARM
Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Rod Blagojevich’s days of reckoning arrive Tuesday when a federal judge opens a sentencing hearing for the disgraced former Illinois governor on 18 corruption counts, including trying to auction off President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.

The impeached state executive-turned-reality TV star has good reason to feel anxious and afraid at the two-day hearing in Chicago. He faces the prospect of 10 or more years behind bars.

If Judge James Zagel settles on a sentence Wednesday of more than a decade, that would make it one of the stiffest penalties imposed for corruption in a state with a long history of crooked politics.

Prosecutors will ask Zagel to imprison the twice-elected governor for 15 to 20 years, arguing he has not only shirked all responsibility for his crimes but repeatedly thumbed his nose at the U.S. justice system.

Blagojevich has already paid a price in public ridicule and financial ruin, the defense argues in proposing a term of just a few years. They also seem bent on an approach judges often frown upon at the sentencing stage: Continuing to insist their client is innocent.

Both sides could finish their pitches to Zagel during Tuesday’s hearing, which was moved to a large ceremonial courtroom to accommodate expected crowds. But Zagel says he’ll wait until Wednesday to pronounce a sentence – possibly so he can sleep on it.

The 70-year-old judge, who played a judge in the 1989 movie “Music Box,” must answer nuanced questions according to complex sentencing algebra, including whether any good Blagojevich accomplished as governor counterbalances the bad.

In describing the humiliation his family has faced, the defense cited Blagojevich’s appearances on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” where he struggled to use a cellphone, and his wife, Patti, eating a tarantula on the reality show, “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!”

After sentencing, Zagel will likely give Blagojevich weeks before he must report to prison. Once there, the man heard scoffing on FBI wiretaps about earning a low six-figure salary would have to take a prison job – possibly scrubbing toilets – at just 12 cents an hour.

Blagojevich’s sentencing comes just days before his 55th birthday and three years to the week of his Dec. 9, 2008, arrest.

The jury deadlocked in his first trial, agreeing on just one of 24 counts – that Blagojevich lied to the FBI. Jurors at his recent retrial convicted him on 17 of 20 counts, including bribery.

Legal experts have said Blagojevich needs to display some remorse when, as expected, he addresses Zagel Tuesday or Wednesday. But the big unknown is whether the often cocksure ex-governor will beg for mercy at the hearing or yet again protest his innocence.

A flat-out apology isn’t always considered a must. If it isn’t sincere, it can only anger a judge.

The defense could call others to speak in court. But as Blagojevich became politically radioactive, longtime friends scattered, so it’s not clear who would be willing to speak for him now.

Wives often plea for leniency, but Zagel likely wouldn’t view Patti Blagojevich sympathetically. On FBI wiretaps, she was heard encouraging her husband’s bid for campaign cash or a top job in exchange for an appointment to Obama’s vacated seat.”

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

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.


Paul Conrad Ward, Jr., a California Lawyer, Receives 21-Month Prison Sentence for Defrauding New Mexico Investor

July 6, 2011

The U.S. Attorneys Office District of New Mexico on July 5, 2011 released the following:

“ALBUQUERQUE—United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that, on July 1, 2011 in federal court in Albuquerque, Paul Conrad Ward, Jr., 63, was sentenced to a 21-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release for his wire fraud conviction. Ward, a lawyer who resides in La Jolla, California, also was ordered to pay $530,000 in restitution to the victim of his fraud. At his sentencing hearing, Ward tendered a $200,000 check that will be applied to his restitution bill; he is required to pay the balance within a year of his release from prison. Ward was ordered to self-surrender to a federal correctional facility to be designated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons within 60 days.

Ward was indicted on August 10, 2010 and charged with devising a scheme to defraud an investor in New Mexico (the Victim) under false pretenses. According to the indictment, which was superseded on February 24, 2011, Ward perpetrated his fraudulent activity between December 11, 2006 through August 20, 2008 by inducing the Victim to give $500,000 to a business entity controlled by Ward, purportedly to be invested in an overseas trading program. However, instead of investing the money as promised, Ward used the $500,000.00 for his own personal use and that of others.

Ward entered a guilty plea to Count 1 of the six-count superseding indictment on March 31, 2011. In his plea agreement, Ward admitted soliciting and accepting $500,000.00 from the Victim under false pretenses. He further admitted that he did not invest the money as promised, but instead spent almost all of the money for his own personal use and the use of others in less than three weeks. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the remaining five counts of the indictment were dismissed after Ward was sentenced.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney George C. Kraehe.”

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

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

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

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