Organized Crime Investigation Into the Trash Industry Leads to Guilty Plea For Conn Businessman
We've covered the government's probe into the affairs of Connecticut businessman and all around refuse magnate, James Galante going back as far as 2005. Galante is now facing jail time on 93 counts including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, extortion, mail and wire fraud and witness tampering. Oh yeah - also arson and kidnapping. 29 others are also under indictment in connection with the charges. Prosecutors are calling their shot and say to expect a guilty plea from Galante the next time he shows his face in court. Galante has a previous conviction (and served time already) for tax evasion.
Refco Attorney Faces Fraud Charge
Labels: indictment, James Galante, organized crime
Wired Magazine Covers the PI Pretexting Embroglio
An indictment of Joseph Collins, Refco's lawyer for a decade, has been in the wind for some time
. This week it became a reality.
While the murmurs about his own legal troubles swirled, Collins saw his firm, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw
become a class action lawsuit target brought by angry shareholders
of the now defunct commodity trading firm.
Collins has plead not guilty to the 11-count indictment filed by U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which alleges securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy. A separate civil complaint from the SEC was also filed
Check out further comment on the Collins case
from Thomas O. Gorman
at Porter, Wright's
SEC Action blog. Bookmark the blog
while you're there if you follow the SEC. Good stuff.
Labels: indictment, Joseph Collins, Mayer Brown Rowe and Maw, Refco
Mel Weiss Pleads Not Guilty, Has Not Yet Begun to Fight
Melvyn Weiss Steps Down, Indictment Expected Today
Investigators from Washington, California, Oregon, Texas and New York are all involved in this pretexting mess:
Emilio Torrella, BNT Investigations, Washington State
Brandy Torella, BNT Investigations, Washington State
Steve Berwick, BNT Investigations, Washington State
Victoria Tade, C.I., Inc., California
Megan Ososke, P.I. and Information Services, Oregon
Robert Grieve, Robert Greive International, Texas
Ziad Sakhleh, Robert Greive International, Texas
Darci Templeton, sole proprietor, Texas
Patrick Bombino, AAA Allstate Investigations, New York
Esau Pinto, AAA Allstate Investigations, New York
Primaries and subcontractors are both represented here... It seems pretty clear that in the wake of the HP publicity one step removed isn't going to be a helpful buffer when it comes to pretexting / ID theft-related allegations.
And that's a good thing. This kind of conduct is an insult to the investigative process - whereby legitimately obtained public records and source interviews produce actionable information on behalf of clients.
Check out the comments from Wired's information security blog right here
and don't miss the link to the full indictment
, (filed in the Western District of Washington State) which should make for interesting reading.
Labels: indictment, pretexting, private investigator
The word is out on the Mel Weiss indictment.
Melvyn Weiss Indictment Expected
Milberg issued a statement late yesterday indicating that, in anticipation of a revised indictment expected to be filed in short order (via the New York Observer
"Milberg Weiss understands that a second superseding indictment will be issued tomorrow that will include new charges against the Firm and also Melvyn Weiss. Mr. Weiss has decided to discontinue his participation in Firm management in order to focus on the defense of the charges against him. The Firm’s other partners, none of whom is alleged to have been involved in any wrong doing, will be responsible for its management and litigation activities. Mr. Weiss will remain available to counsel clients and Firm attorneys. The Firm remains proud of Mr. Weiss’s and the Firm’s accomplishments over the years and will continue to fight for its clients and class members and to produce the excellent results for which it is known. We do not anticipate any interruption in our work and we look forward to putting this difficult period behind us."
It has been reported
that the recent zeroing in on Weiss is the result of information obtained following the plea agreement of former Milberg lawyer, Steven Schulman. Over at CNNMoney,
Roger Parloff's Legal Pad blog has the Shulman plea agreement
linked if you want to review it for your own speculations. See Defendants Obligations
sub 18 for notes on Schulman's cooperation with authorities.
Labels: indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
The WSJ law Blog has details
Plaintiff Attorneys in the Cross-Hairs
WSJ's Lattman Muses Over the Future of a Lerach-less Lerach Coughlin
and a statement from Milberg Weiss on the upcoming, revised kickback indictment, which is expected to include charges against Milbeg Weiss patriarch, Melvyn Weiss.
And as usual, at the WSJ Law Blog, half the fun is in the comments.
Labels: indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
Is that wistfullness I hear?
Update onf Defense Filings in the Milberg Kickback Indictment
Motion(s) on the Milberg Indictment
As always with the WSJ Lawblog, half the fun is in the comments.
Labels: Bill Lerach, indictment, kickbacks, Lerach, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
Bershad Guilty Plea... Supporting Docs
Several defendants in the Milberg kickback case have filed motions challenging the legitimacy of the charges against them, most particularly those charges relating to "honest services fraud." Federal prosecutors have just filed their first response to these dismissal motions. As you might imagine, they intend for the charges to stick. Details at Law.com.
Labels: Bill Lerach, indictment, kickbacks, Milberg
Milberg's Schulman Continues to Battle Charges Against Him
Fortune's Legal Pad
has links out to the David Bershad plea agreement, along with a statement of fact and other supporting information. Go read it.
I'll wait. Done?
Great, now go check out Parloff's follow-up post
. Hot water, getting hotter - all around.
Labels: bribery, David Bershad, indictment, Milberg Weiss
Louisiana Representative William Jefferson Indicted
Steven Schulman, one of the former Milberg Weiss partners facing charges in the ongoing probe of the firm, continues to pursue the dismissal of charges against him. While his former firm talks plea deal, Schulman has expanded his motion seeking a dismissal of charges against him.
His most recent filing addresses the charge of "honest services fraud" arguing that the government's definition is vague and arbitrary. Schulman is also attempting to pick apart the charges of mail fraud and failure to perform his fiduciary duty. Whether he's successful, we'll know in time. Law.com has further details on Schulman's legal maneuverings.
Labels: class action, indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, securities, Steven Schulman
Ideoblog Mulls the Anniversary of the Milberg Indictment
Authorities recently announced a long expected indictment of current Louisiana congressman, William Jefferson
. You may recall Jefferson as the individual who, post Katrina, was caught with nearly $100,000 wrapped in tinfoil in his freezer.
Now, knowing Louisiana as I do, I would expect that most politicians have upwards of five figures socked away somewhere in small bills...
What made Jefferson's nest egg particularly notable, was its apparent origins as bribe money relating to Nigerian telecom deals and presidential candidates
. The subsequent investigation of Jefferson included a controversial search of Jefferson's congressional offices and the political balance-of-power power squabbling that ensued has remained at a low simmer for months now.
Fueling the Jefferson indictment is evidence from two former associates
- Brett Pfeffer, a former congressional aide and Vernon Jackson a telecom exec. Pheffer and Vernon Jackson allegedly funnelled approximately $1million to Jefferson to secure his support for various deals amongst African businessmen and politicians
Pfeffer and Jackson both struck deals
with prosecutors in exchange for dirt on Jefferson, who, as you might imagine, continues to protest his innocence, despite .
Labels: bribery, corruption, indictment, Nigeria, William Jefferson
Typically great commentary
The Case for David Stockman
from Larry Ribstein
as he considers the guv'ment's case against Milberg Weiss
one year after the indictment. The post is chock-a-block with additional links for further reading - give it a look at Ideoblog
Labels: Ideoblog, indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
WSJ Law Blog Q&A With Melvin Weiss
Reagan-era public official and former Collins & Aikman
CEO, David Stockman
isn't taking his recent indictment
on fraud charges lying down. Calling the prosecution "amateur hour," Stockman spoke with the New York Times
about how he plans to fight the fraud charges against him, charges that had loomed for months
before a formal indictment was finally handed down.
Labels: Collins and Aikman, David Stockman, Fraud, indictment
Former McAfee GC Indicted on Stock Option Backdating Charges
Peter Lattman interviews Melvin Weiss over at the WSJ Law Blog
. Weiss comments on the the Tellabs case, the Milberg indictment. Worth a look. And if you're a snarky soul, maybe check out the comments as well.
Labels: indictment, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, securities, Tellabs
Refco Indictment Update, Tone Grant
Kent Roberts got the boot
from computer security software maker, McAfee about nine months ago when it came to light that Roberts had misled both the SEC and McAfee itself regarding his handling of stock options grants. Roberts is now facing seven criminal fraud counts in relation to his actions.
The McAfee case is one of the longer running of the backdating-related cases the SEC is currently pursing. The options grants in question go back to 2000. McAfee has already paid a $50 million fine to the SEC
and is ultimately expected to see a financial restatement in the range of $100-150 million. Roberts, if convicted to do up to twenty years and pay up to $5 million in fines.
More on the Kent Roberts indictment
via Mercury News
Labels: backdating, general counsel, indictment, Kent Robert, McAfee, SEC, stock options
Milberg Weiss Loses Anti-Trust Team
Tone Grant, former owner of Refco, plead not guilty in January
to charges of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering. Grant stands accused to of helping to hide the collapsed derivatives trading firm's enormous losses and assisting those who wanted to pass off the company to unwary investors.
The activities that lead to Refco's final, scandal-ridden explosion weren't exactly uncharted territory for a company that had for years walked close to the edge. According to the Chicago Tribune:
Refco was the subject of 142 regulatory actions, the most of any futures trading outfit, according to a Bloomberg News analysis. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission came after it repeatedly, in some of its most prominent administrative cases of the 1980s and 1990s.
Fellow trading executives say Refco flouted industry standards like no other firm, tossing aside the rulebooks, taking on the diciest accounts and fighting back against regulators that tried to intervene.
Refco traces its origins to a one-time poultry wholesaler who served time in prison for selling substandard chickens to the military. Ray Friedman eventually won a pardon and with his stepson, Thomas Dittmer, opened the forerunner of Refco around 1969.
For a full accounting of Tone Grant's tenure at Refco (1981-1998), his legal woes and how he fits into the scandal that followed the company's demise, check out the full article from the Tribune.
Grant was followed at Refco by Phillip Bennett, who managed to convert the $300 million in losses under Grant's tenure into $720 million in debt, which he managed to hide rather effectively for a time. In 2005, Refco actually seemed poised to go public with an enormous public offering, but reality intruded. The gig was up and the house of cards came crashing down
Labels: Fraud, indictment, money laundering, Phillip Bennett, Refco, Tone Grant
J. Douglas Richards
More on Bryan Wagner Guilty Plea, HP PI To Flip For Prosecution
and Michael M. Buchman
(links go to Milberg bios, while they last) are evacuating to Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross,
the latest attorneys to jump from the Milberg ship since the kickback-related indictments were announced last year. You can read the Pomerantz press release, here
Labels: indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, Pomerantz Haudek
More Details on Lerach Lawfirm Removal from Halliburton Litigation
From the SacBee
, one of those stories I meant to post late on Friday but has gotten held over until today. Last week, when the papers were hinting that HP subcontractor, Bryan Wagner would be testifying for the prosecution, here's why
Bryan Wagner, who faces federal identity theft and conspiracy charges, is accused of posing as a journalist to access the reporter's private phone records as part of the computer and printer maker's ill-fated attempt to ferret out the source of boardroom leaks to the media. The way Wagner was charged Wednesday - he agreed to waive grand jury proceedings - suggests he's likely cooperating with investigators aiming for more high-profile targets, said Matthew Jacobs, a former federal prosecutor in San Francisco who is now in private practice.
"The government likes to start at the lowest point in the chain of responsibility and flip people," Jacobs said. "What it signals is that the government is trying to build the case against those more senior.
More on Wagner's fate via The Sacramento Bee
Labels: Bryan Wagner, HP, identity theft, indictment, pretexting
The Daily Caveat mentioned in passing
Former Collins & Aikman CEO Facing Criminal Charges
several days ago that Lerach Coughlin, home of the Wall Street Journal's favorite litigator, Bill Lerach, had been removed from upcoming securities fraud litigation against Halliburton. The client in that case, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Supporting Fund Inc., has since given more details
on the removal of Lerach's firm as well as co-lead counsel, David Scott of Scott + Scott, linking the switch directly to the continuing indictment against Lerach's former firm, Milberg Weiss. As was previously mentioned, DC uber-attorny David Boies has picked up the reins of the case.
Meanwhile Milberg and the plaintiff's bar in general are bracing for what some are calling the trial of the century
Labels: Bill Lerach, class action, David Boies, Halliburton, indictment, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, securites
Steven Schulman Out at Milberg
A former Michigan congressman and Reagan-era public official is facing a criminal indictment relating to his time as CEO of auto supplier Collins & Aikman
. David Stockman
became CEO of C&A in 2003, after having orchestrated a buyout of the firm in 2001.
Federal investigators are interested in a variety of perhaps overly optimistic statements Stockman made in 2005 about C&A's health in the months before the company declared bankruptcy. Stockman will also likely face an SEC probe into and civil charges arising from his activities during that time. It is thought Stockman may be indicted as soon as January '07.
Labels: Collins and Aikman, David Stockman, indictment, SEC
He'll be pursing "new opportunities"
including defending himself against the criminal indictment
he's currently facing relating to kickbacks Milberg aledgedly made over the years to their lead plaintiffs who put in repeat performances. Current Milberg partner David Bershad is also under indictment on the same charges.
Labels: David Bershad, indictment, kickbacks, Milberg, Milberg Weiss