March 2, 2015
The Washington Post reports that the District of Columbia is to pay $9.2 million to a man wrongfully convicted of rape and robbery who spent more than 22 years in prison. According to the Post, Kirk L. Odom, 52, is one of five D.C. men convicted of rape or murder whose charges have been vacated since 2009 because they were based on erroneous forensics and testimony by an elite unit of FBI hair experts.
Carmen Johnson Convicted On Charges Related To Two Separate Residential Mortgage Fraud Schemes that occurred almost 10 years ago.
Chief Engineer Of Car-Carrier Vessel Sentenced To Prison For Obstruction Of Justice In Marine Oil Pollution Case (at least this conduct occurred within the last few years…)
Conspirator Indicted In $3.9 Million Fraud Scheme
Baltimore Woman Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison In Credit Card Fraud Scheme
Randallstown Man Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison In Counterfeit Check Cashing And Credit Card Skimming Schemes (Real time for fake cash)
Texas Man Sentenced For Illegal Export Of Night Vision Devices (I’m guessing he didn’t see that coming).
February 20, 2015
Here at Levin & Curlett, we keep an eye on the global tumult that may lead to international criminal proceedings in The Hague, whether before the International Criminal Court of one of the ad hoc Tribunals.
Of late, our attention, as well as the world at large, has been focused on the Islamic State (or ISIL, or ISIS, or Da’esh, depending on whom you ask). This week the United Nations Security Counsel expressly condemned the murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya. “The members of the Council further emphasized that such ‘continued acts of barbarism perpetrated’ by ISIL do not intimidate them but rather stiffen their resolve that there has to be a common effort amongst Governments and institutions, including those in the region most affected, ‘to counter ISIL, Ansar Al Sharia entities…and all other…entities associated with Al-Qaida,’ as the Council resolved in its resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2199 (2015), adopted just last week.” Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also condemned the actions.
Whether through military engagement or the mechanism of international criminal justice, or both, the threat must be checked.
February 18, 2015
There are 2 morals to this story: always pay your lawyers, and never represent yourself.
February 17, 2015
Lance Armstrong loses $10 million arbitration ruling.
The New York Times reports that an arbitration panel has ordered the cyclist to pay $10 million in a fraud dispute with SCA Promotions citing an “unparalleled pageant of perjury, fraud and conspiracy” related to the cover-up of Armstrong’s use of performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong’s lawyer stated that the ruling is “contrary to Texas law” and predicted it would be overturned in court. Such confidence is, in all likelihood, misplaced. Courts routinely uphold awards even when the law is misapplied by arbitrators. The standard to throw out an arbitration award requires the panel to have acted “in manifest disregard of the law.” That standard is rarely met. If I were a betting man, I’d wager Armstrong eventually writes the check.
February 16, 2015
Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has spoken of an “epidemic” of prosecutorial misconduct in California.
Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have published editorials since yesterday calling for legal reform that will allow prosecutors to be held accountable for misconduct.
Further illustrating the widespread and pervasive nature of corruption in the criminal justice system, on Saturday the Baltimore Sun’s Mark Puente published an article examining how a criminal case can fall apart when the police are, shall we say, less than truthful in their affidavits submitted to courts in support of search warrants.
Baltimore drug probe crumbles after court challenge
February 13, 2015
Brooklyn, New York
Grand Jury Indicts Officer for Death of Man in Hallway
Two months after a Staten Island grand jury refused to indict an officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner, which was recorded on video, a Brooklyn grand jury charged an officer with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and other offenses for the single shot fired in a pitch-dark hallway that killed Akai Gurley.
February 9, 2015
Texas Man Sentenced For Illegal Export Of Night Vision Devices
BGF Leader Tavon White Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison In Baltimore Jail Racketeering Conspiracy
Maryland Hunting Guides Sentenced For Violating Maryland Black Bear Hunting Regulations
Former Executives Sentenced To Prison For Defrauding Employer Of $1 Million Through Fraudulent Expense Claims
Adnan Syed, subject of “Serial,” granted appeal.
It is difficult to tell from the podcast whether Adnan is innocent, but reasonable doubt should not have been out of reach. Congratulations to our friend C. Justin Brown on this excellent result.
Russian National and Three Others Charged In Kickback Scheme.
Laurel Woman Admits to Stealing Almost $300K in Social Security Benefit Checks.
Former Chief of Baltimore City Division of Transit And Marine Services Indicted for Bribery Scheme.
Maryland Woman Admits To Treating Patients While Fraudulently Posing As A Physician’s Assistant.
Congratulations to the District of Maryland’s newest US District Court Judge!
The City Paper has this news story about two men who served a total of 57 years for murders they did not commit. And now, with the help of Levin & Curlett LLC, they want those responsible to pay.
The common theme in this morning’s news is alleged misconduct by prosecutors and police:
In a high profile murder case, it appears that prosecutors “forgot” to disclose some Brady material.
In this lawsuit, brought by Chad Curlett of Levin & Curlett LLC, it is alleged that police officers lied in an arrest warrant (shocking!), leading to the arrest of the WRONG MAN.
news rumors coming out of the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland:
AUSA Stuart Berman, the Greenbelt Branch Chief, is retiring after many successful years of government service. It is expected that Stuart will be joining a small law firm in the mid-Atlantic region.
AUSA Peter Nothstein has been detailed to the Senate Judiciary Committee for six months. Peter just recently received an annual award for excellence in prosecuting violent crime. See below.
AUSA Mark Crooks doesn’t just prosecute alleged criminals; he chases them too.
And let’s not forget these AUSAs, following the break: Continue reading “Rumor Has It . . .”
Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife.
Happy Felix Unger Day from your friends at Levin & Curlett LLC, who vigorously defend those who are also asked to remove themselves from their homes (often by the feds).
Earlier today, an Indictment was unsealed and “wanted” posters were issued for fugitives charged with multimillion dollar international cyber fraud scheme.
The posters looked nothing like this:
Welcome to Miami: Two men from Miami have pleaded guilty to laundering millions of dollars obtained through a $10.5 million Medicare fraud scheme using shell companies they controlled.
Is it too soon to announce the death of laws criminalizing marijuana?
According to this research, 58% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.
The Fourth Amendment is alive and well. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has ruled here that the government needs a warrant for GPS tracking.
The Proffer Letter:
The First Landmine in Federal Criminal Defense Practice
Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) often take the position that a proffer letter, or a “Queen for a Day” agreement, is intended to protect a defendant who ultimately chooses not to cooperate with the government. Stated another way, as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals did in United States v. Threw, 861 F.2d 1046 (7th Cir. 1988), “the purpose of [a proffer letter], according to the government, is to ensure that in the event a cooperating defendant decides not to plead guilty, any information he may have ‘proffered’ to the government cannot later be used against him at trial” or sentencing, with some exceptions. It is those exceptions that call into question a proffer letter’s true purpose. In my view, the purpose of a proffer letter, from the government’s perspective, is to ensure that a defendant pleads guilty, because if he goes to trial after proffering, he is going to sentencing as well.
A typical two-page proffer letter in the District of Maryland contains the following language (liberally summarized): Continue reading “Steve’s Fresh Perspective”
To read more about fraud, check out this New York Times article on The Civil War’s War on Fraud.
To read more about the FCPA, check out this article entitled Private Equity: blindsided by the FCPA–hedging against anti-corruption.
Finally, the Lincoln Law just turned 150 years old.
USAO-MD: Parkville, Maryland man indicted in plot to export industrial products and services to Iran;
USAO-MD: Leader in sophisticated bank fraud sentenced to 7 years;
In US ex rel. Noah Nathan v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Relator, a sales manager for Takeda, brought a qui tam action against his employer under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, alleging that Takeda violated the Act by causing false claims to be presented to the government for payment under Medicare and other federal health insurance programs. Continue reading “An Appeal To Remember”
A Note From the Doctor Won’t Help This Government Employee, Sentenced for Scheme to Defraud Federal Voluntary Leave Transfer Program She Administered–she created false doctor notes to take paid time off donated by other employees
You’ve got to love the alliteration of this press release: Four-Time Fraudster Sentenced to 44 Months.
What is it that they say about the family that schemes together? Here’s what the US Attorney’s Office has to say: Frederick Couple PLEAD GUILTY to Fraudently Obtaining Over $700,000 in Advanced Fees.
So much for the security in the Social Security Administration: SSA RETIREE PLEADS GUILTY TO EMBEZZLING OVER $400,000 AND TO TAX EVASION.
SEC Receives More Than 3,000 Whistleblower Tips in FY2012
Listen to the soothing voice of CNN’s Libby Lewis here as she reports on “Blowing the Whistle on Wall Street:” http://cnnradio.cnn.com/2012/11/15/blowing-the-whistle-on-wall-street/
And read the SEC’s press release here:
Washington, D.C., Nov. 15, 2012 — Over the past year, the Securities and Exchange Commission received more than 3,000 whistleblower tips from all 50 states and from 49 countries, according to the agency’s 2012 Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program released today. Continue reading “Whistle While You Work”
Judge Motz is willing to do the right thing, to include correcting an error made at trial. In this post-verdict Order, Judge Motz granted in part a motion for acquittal based on drug weight:
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA *
v. * Criminal No. – JFM-11-003
WAYNE LAMPKIN, JR. *
Defendant has filed a motion for new trial or judgment of acquittal. The motion will be granted in part and denied in part. Continue reading “Go “D”!”
USAO-MD: Morgan State University Professor Indicted in Scheme to Defraud the National Science Foundation.
USAO-MD: Labor Union PAC Fund Manager Indicted for Embezzling not $500,000, but $502,586.
USAO-MD: Ringleader and Girlfriend Plead Guilty in Identity Theft Fraud Scheme Involving Not 254 Individual Victims, but Over 250.
USAO-EDVA: Mental Health Service Provider Sentenced to 48 Months for Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud.
The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has issued this new report on pretrial release in the federal system.
Here is the accompanying press release:
From 2008 to 2010, federal district courts released more than a third (36 percent) of defendants prior to case disposition, according to a study released today by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of released defendants were released at their initial appearance hearing, while the rest were released at subsequent events including detention or bond hearings. Continue reading “DoJ News”
David Petraeus take note: On November 13th, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife.
Happy Felix Unger Day from your friends at Levin & Curlett LLC.
A Victory for Discretion
In 2004, the then-US Attorney for the District of Maryland famously wrote in a leaked email that he wanted three front-page indictments by November of that year. Though open to interpretation, the impression left by the poorly-drafted missive is that prosecutors should seek headlines rather than justice. Let’s give credit to the prosecutors involved in the Petraeus/ Broadwell affair, er, matter for their exercise of sound discretion. Continue reading “Steve’s Fresh Perspective”
News from the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland:
BARRY LANDAU CONSPIRATOR SENTENCED TO PRISON IN SCHEME
TO STEAL VALUABLE HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: Original Documents of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Adams, Stephanie Gallagher, Franklin Roosevelt, and Others Stolen from Historical Societies and Museums.
SILVER SPRING MAN SENTENCED TO OVER 6 YEARS IN PRISON IN CREDIT CARD FRAUD SCHEME.
News from the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia:
Couple Indicted For Wire Fraud and Other Charges In Scheme to Steal Grant Funds Intended for Charitable Youth Boxing Program
-Defendants Allegedly Used Money for Gambling, Other Personal Expenses-
Maryland Woman Sentenced to 75 Months in Prison For Defrauding D.C. Medicaid Program By Submitting Over $7 Million in Phony Claims
– Defendant Billed Some Patients For More Than 24 Hours of Therapy In A Single Day
News from the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland:
Convicted Fraudster Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Buy Merchandise Using Stolen Identifying Information of Others to Open Instant Credit Accounts.
Title Agent Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Stealing Over $694,000 from Mortgage Escrows.
SECOND CONSPIRATOR SENTENCED IN SCHEME TO FRAUDULENTLY OBTAIN OVER $1.399 MILLION FROM BALTIMORE HOUSING AUTHORITY ACCOUNT
BALTIMORE TAX EVADER SENTENCED TO PRISON
In United States v. Bennett, the Fourth Circuit held that Tapia v. United States, a case in which the US Supreme Court held that a federal court cannot give a criminal defendant a longer sentence to promote rehabilitation, applies to revocation proceedings. Here’s what Amy Winehouse had to say about that.
Former State Department Employee Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge in Identity Theft Scam
-Got Access to Information While in a Student Work Program-