LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – For the Week Ending August 17, 2007…

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire –

For the Week Ending August 17, 2007
1. Miami: American Citizen Convicted of Terror Charge

Jose Padilla was convicted of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim individuals in a foreign country; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; and providing material support to terrorists. The jury found the defendant guilty of being part of a North American terror cell designed to send money, physical assets, and mujahadeen recruits to overseas jihad conflicts. Full Story

2. New York: National Basketball Association Referee Pleads Guilty to Participating in an Illegal Sports Betting Scheme Involving NBA Games

Timothy Donaghy, a 13-year veteran referee with the National Basketball Association, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a scheme to deprive the NBA of his honest services and conspiracy to transmit gambling information. Donaghy admitted that in December of 2006 he began receiving payments for providing recommendations or “picks” on NBA games, including those in which he officiated. He relied on nonpublic and other information to which he had unique access by virtue of his position as an NBA referee and compromised his objectivity as a referee because of his financial interest in the outcome of the NBA games. Full Story

3. Washington Field Office: Former Congressional Chief of Staff Sentenced on Corruption Charge

William J. Heaton, former chief of staff for former Congressman Robert W. Ney, was sentenced on the charge of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. Heaton admitted to corruptly soliciting and accepting a stream of things of value from former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others in exchange for agreeing to take, and taking, official action to benefit Abramoff, his clients and foreign businessmen. Full Story

4. Baltimore: MS-13 Leader Sentenced to 35 Years for Participating in Racketeering Conspiracy

Jose Hipolito Cruz Diaz, a.k.a. “Pirana,” was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise involving murder, robbery, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering. Diaz was an MS-13 leader of the Sailors Locos Salvatruchos Westside clique in Washington, D.C. Full Story

5. Houston: Ten Charged With Conspiring to File Fraudulent FEMA Claims

Ten individuals were charged with conspiring to file more than 75 fraudulent FEMA claims for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita assistance; stealing from the federal government; and committing mail fraud. With the return of this indictment, 59 individuals have been charged in the Southern District of Texas with fraud relating to Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita. Full Story

6. Boston: Secretary of Children’s Charity Charged With Embezzlement

Karen L. Sicher, secretary of the Children’s Glaucoma Foundation (CGF), was charged with embezzling funds over a six year period from the private medical practice of a specialist in children’s glaucoma and from CGF, a charity headed by the doctor. Sicher stole and forged blank checks and deposited the funds into her personal bank account and also embezzled funds from medical insurance reimbursement checks. Full Story

7. New York: President of Real Estate Investment Firm Indicted on Fraud Charges

Wilson James Baston Jr. was president of Will James Equity Partners Inc., through which he recruited over 70 investors with false promises of guaranteed short-term, high rates of return on investments in distressed properties, with additional guarantees on the principal investment. Baston initially repaid both the principal and interest as promised which enticed the investors to invest more. The indictment alleges that Baston obtained over $10 million from his victims. Full Story

8. Jacksonville: Project Safe Childhood Leads to Guilty Plea to Possession of Child Pornography

Darrell Mark Krause pleaded guilty to charges of possession of matters containing visual depictions of child pornography. The plea agreement requires the forfeiture of Krause’s residence as well as his computer and three other hard disk drives. The case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Full Story

9. Detroit: “Outlaws Motorcycle Club” Members Indicted

Sixteen members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club were indicted on charges of violent crime in aid of racketeering, illegal drug distribution and gun violations. The Outlaws Motorcycle Club has been identified as an international criminal organization having members worldwide including Europe, Asia and Canada. The indictment was the result of “Operation Broken Spoke,” “Operation Detroit Mugger,” and “Operation End Game,” a multi-agency five-year investigation. Full Story

10. Louisville: Councilman Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy

Manchester City Councilman Darnell Hipsher pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy. Hipsher admitted to paving private driveways with public funds in an attempt to gain votes. Hipsher faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Full Story

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