Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shadowed by Tiger Woods' problem

Baucus defends nominating girlfriend
Senator, staffer involved when he recommended her as a U.S. attorney

FILE - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., looks on before speaking to reporters about health care reform legislation, in this Oct. 15, 2009 file photo taken on Capitol Hill in Washington. A spokesman for Baucus said late Friday Dec. 4, 2009 the Montana Democrat was in a romantic relationship with the woman he nominated for U.S. attorney. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

In June, Melodee Hanes accepted a job as a counselor in the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, acknowledged Saturday that he was involved in a romantic relationship with a senior staff member at the same time he recommended her to be U.S. attorney for Montana.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Evangelist sentenced to 175 years for sex crimes

TEXARKANA, Ark. — Evangelist Tony Alamo was sentenced Friday to 175 years in prison for taking underage girls across state lines for sex, effectively punishing him for the rest of his life for molesting children he took as "brides" in his ministry.

During Friday's hearing, some of Alamo's victims testified about how their families were destroyed while the evangelist took over their lives.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

U.S. Senator John Ensign resigned from a party leadership post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a new setback for the struggling Republican party, U.S. Senator John Ensign resigned from a party leadership post on Wednesday after admitting an affair with a female staffer.

"He's accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized to his family and constituents. He offered, and I accepted, his resignation as chairman of the (Senate Republican) Policy Committee," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Ensign's resignation causes another headache for the Republican Party, which preaches "family values" and has been scrambling to rebuild in wake of losing the last two congressional elections and the White House in 2008.

Ensign, of Nevada, led failed efforts by Republicans to pick up seats in last year's Senate elections, which left Democrats in control of the chamber with 59 of the 99 filled Senate seats.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Christopher Dodd denied lying

Watch Dodd's interview with CNN's Dana Bash »

and apologized.

On Tuesday, Dodd denied to CNN that he had anything to do with adding the language, which has been used by officials at bailed-out insurance giant AIG to justify paying millions of dollars in bonuses to executives after receiving federal money.

He said Wednesday that the "grandfather clause" language "seemed like innocent modifications" at the time. Video Watch Dodd's interview with CNN's Dana Bash »

"I agreed reluctantly," Dodd said. "I was changing the amendment because others were insistent."

Dodd said he did not speak to high-ranking administration officials and the change came after his staff spoke with staffers from Treasury.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

At a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa, California, about an hour after Dodd spoke, President Barack Obama didn't directly address the language change -- but said he'll take responsibility for the bonuses being awarded.

"We didn't draft these contracts. We've got a lot on our plate. But it is appropriate when you're in charge to make sure stuff doesn't happen like this," he said. "So we're going to do everything that we can to fix it."

Dodd said later Wednesday in a written statement that his amendment allows the Treasury Department to review bonus contracts like AIG's and seek ways to get the money back for taxpayers.

AIG's derivatives branch is in Dodd's home state. Many of the bonuses in question were awarded to executives at that branch. But in the written statement, Dodd said he had no idea the legislation would impact the company.

"Let me be clear -- I was completely unaware of these AIG bonuses until I learned of them last week," he said.

Dodd also said in the statement that his comments on Tuesday and Wednesday to CNN did not conflict.

"I answered a question by CNN [Tuesday] night regarding whether or not [an exemption before] a specific date was aimed at protecting AIG," he said. "When I saw that my comments had been misconstrued, I felt it was important to set the record straight -- that this had nothing to do with AIG."

According to a transcript of the Tuesday interview, Dodd was asked about an executive-compensation provision "that exempts everything prior to February 11, 2009 -- any contracts prior to that date."

He said that language was not in the version of the bill that left the Senate and that he was not one of the negotiators who hammered out a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the plan.

"I can't point a finger at someone who offered a change at all," he said.

Asked whether he had later been able to figure out who added the language, he said, "I really don't know."

In Wednesday's interview, Dodd never said his Tuesday comments had been misunderstood.

"Going back and looking, I apologize," he said when questioned about his words from the day before.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

WG’s Greenwood, Walsh

WG’s Greenwood, Walsh Boosted Lavish Life, U.S. Says

By David Voreacos, Patricia Hurtado and David Scheer

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Money managers Paul Greenwood and Stephen Walsh said they outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index for a decade, while prosecutors and regulators claim they misappropriated $554 million from investors for luxury homes, cars, horses and collectible teddy bears.

Greenwood, 61, and Walsh, 64, were charged yesterday with using WG Trading Investors and related companies as a “personal piggy bank” from 1996 to this year. Investors who lost money include public pension funds in Iowa and California, and the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

The men, who touted a conservative “enhanced stock indexing” strategy, had the majority of investor funds sent to themselves, according to the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. Greenwood signed promissory notes promising to repay $291 million, while Walsh promised to repay $261 million, authorities said.


CFTC Complaint

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission also sued Greenwood and Walsh yesterday, saying they misappropriated $553 million of $1.3 billion in funds from commodity pool investors. They used funds from new participants to cover prior losses, while spending $160 million on personal expenses, the CFTC said in the complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan.

The expenses included rare books bought at auctions, Steiff teddy bears bought for $80,000 at auctions, and a $3 million home for Walsh’s ex-wife Janet, according to the CFTC.

Greenwood and his wife, Robin, 57, live in a North Salem home on 9.1 acres valued in 2007 at $9.5 million, property records show. Greenwood is the town supervisor in North Salem, where 5,200 people live about 50 miles northeast of New York City.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A third Madoff flower

Probe of Stanford Began at Least 3 Years Ago
SEC Enlisted FBI's Enforcement Tools to Investigate Alleged $9.2 Billion Fraud

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 21, 2009; Page D03

A range of federal agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI, IRS and banking regulators, have been investigating allegations of fraud and possibly other illegal activity at R. Allen Stanford's companies for at least two years, according to people familiar with the matter.

PA Judges corruption case

US Judges involved in human trafficking (The People's Voice)

On Thursday, 12 February 2009, “judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.”

“While prosecutors say that Judge Conahan, 56, secured contracts for the two centers to house juvenile offenders, Judge Ciavarella, 58, was the one who carried out the sentencing to keep the centers filled.

“‘In my entire career, I’ve never heard of anything remotely approaching this,’ said Senior Judge Arthur E. Grim, who was appointed by the State Supreme Court this week to determine what should be done with the estimated 5,000 juveniles who have been sentenced by Judge Ciavarella since the scheme started in 2003. Many of them were first-time offenders and some remain in detention.”

These judges sold 5,000 children in five years for $2.6 million. This means that on average they sold approximately three children per day for $520 each for a net profit of $1,560 per day. These are the numbers that have been revealed so far.

Sources Tie Admitted Felons to Pa. Court Scandal (The National Law Journal)

Judge Guilty in Kickbacks Is Accused of Fixing Suit (New York Times)

my Goodman: Jailing children for cash (By: Amy Goodman)

Monday, February 9, 2009

From ABC: CEOs, Bankers Used Corporate Credit Cards for Sex

Wall Street Exposed as Convicted Escort Boss Reveals Client List of 9,800

Wall street lawyers, investment bankers, CEOs and media executives often used corporate credit cards to pay for $2,000 an hour prostitutes, according to the madam who ran one of New York's biggest and most expensive escort services until it was busted last year.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Madoff Flower

In Nadel case, warning signals

By John Hielscher, Anthony Cormier & Michael Pollick

Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

Federal law enforcement agents have tracked missing hedge fund manager Arthur G. Nadel of Sarasota to Slidell, La., according to sources close to the investigation.

As the net tightens around Nadel, investors in the Sarasota-based hedge funds he managed say they saw warning signs weeks ago. ...

Finding Nadel, 76, is critical to discovering what happened to the $350 million that his partners say is gone from the hedge funds run by Scoop Management Inc.

While fund principals claim nothing appeared amiss until Nadel vanished Jan. 14, some investors were baffled by what they call an unusual delay in getting at their money.

They say that instead of obtaining routine withdrawals in early January, they were told they would have to wait until Jan. 15, which turned out to be the day after Nadel disappeared.

Some $50 million was supposed to be disbursed Jan. 15, Detective Jack Carter of the Sarasota Police Department confirmed. When Nadel went missing, "That set off the bells and whistles," Carter said.

Nadel left behind a note that prompted the family to file a missing person's report.

Two sources who have seen or been briefed on the note indicated Nadel told family members that he made a grave mistake and planned to kill himself. Once he spoke with family members by phone, however, the suicide fears dissipated and FBI agents began hunting him as a missing person.

...Then, two days before Nadel took off, the investor talked with Martin to make sure the distribution had been processed as he had requested in November and again in early January.

"He said the whole amount, $14,000, would be wired out on the 15th of January," McCandless said. That would mean he would have gotten his money last Thursday. "But on Wednesday, I got the call from this friend in Sarasota. Like 'whoops.'"

Others investors told of warning signs in early December.

One Bradenton client, who asked Dec. 3 for $50,000 of his money, found it "kind of strange" when fund managers said they would not write checks until Jan. 15. "It did sound odd to me to wait until the 15th, when I just usually drive down and pick up the check around the first of the month," said the investor, who asked not to be identified.

Another Manatee County investor asked to withdraw his entire $99,000 in early December and was told to wait until Jan. 15. He was puzzled by the reply from fund representative Martin.

"He said, 'Don't ask anybody else, and don't say anything to Art about it,'" said the investor, who also asked not to be named.

Moody, asked to comment, referred a reporter to his lawyers at the Hollywood law firm of Boies Shiller and Flexner. Messages to two different attorneys went unanswered.