• Lance Armstrong settled a False Claims Act case for $5 million. His cycling team was sponsored at one point by the U.S. Postal Service. Apparently doping violates the terms of federal government sponsorship agreements. Who knew?
  • In Texas, the GM of a Venezuelan energy company entered a guilty plea for his role in an international money laundering and bribery scheme
  • Closer to home, former FBI Director James Comey will be in Portland tomorrow to plug his new book. He’ll be in Seattle on Sunday. I’ll be attending the Seattle talk.
  • It’s not just famously fired government officials who are active in the Pacific Northwest. Current prosecutors are busy as well. In Portland, a CPA’s 4/20 plans went up in smoke when the U.S. Attorney’s Office accused him of hiding income and diverting investor money from his accounting business to his marijuana business.
  • In Seattle, the former president and former vault-manager of a King County precious metals business were arraigned this week on charges that they fraudulently obtained millions of dollars from thousands of customers by misrepresenting shipping times for bullion and using bullion and money belonging to customers to fulfill other bullion orders. I can still think of at least one far more ambitious bullion-based criminal scheme:

Chaplin later regretted this satirization

 

Did you know that, as of 2008, there’s a good chance the federal government can prosecute you for fraud against the U.S. whenever it wants to, regardless of the statute of limitations? Does that seem alarming to you?

Same here.

The government can do this because of a federal statute called the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act. The Act says that when the U.S. is at war or “Congress has enacted a specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces,” the statute of limitations for any offense involving fraud or attempted fraud against the U.S. or one of its agencies is suspended until five years after the termination of hostilities.

Continue Reading Frightening Facts about Fraud and the Forever War

  • Lots of pernicious activity in the PNW, beginning with sending a false distress message to the Coast Guard, a big no-no
  • An interesting conspiracy to get around sanctions against Iran involving Chinese, Turkish, and Portuguese companies — the indictment was handed down in Washington, DC, but the plea will be in Seattle where the defendant was arrested and has remained in custody
  • This case was transferred to Seattle from Florida — ransomware used to extort people into paying “fines” to phony law enforcement organizations
  • I’m seeing a spinoff of WAGSWWCCs
  • Even listenin’ to Slippin’ couldn’t convince the judge not to give DMX some prison time
  • Most disturbing of all this week: massive wine fraud in the Rhone Valley — life really does imitate The Simpsons…

  • A couple of local “co-schemers” were charged with credit card fraud — one allegedly favored QFC and Fred Meyer, the other was all about Bartell
  • A Florida man was indicted in federal court in Boston for pretending to be an SEC employee and then demanding money from victim
  • One of the two former aides to former Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett who pleaded guilty to distributing explicit images and a video of Ms. Plaskett and her husband to stop her reelection was sentenced to a year in prison
  • The mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania resigned a week after being convicted on corruption charges
  • The prime minister of Macedonia pleaded not guilty to taking a bribe when he was a local mayor in the southeast of the country five years ago
  • And two former attorneys for Suge Knight were indicted for attempting to bribe potential witnesses in their former client’s upcoming murder trial

 

  • This month’s issue of the Federal Lawyer focuses on white collar crime, and includes this helpful article on subpoenas.
  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited Seattle this week for a press conference stressing DOJ’s continued commitment to catching the killer of a federal prosecutor tragically murdered here in 2001. One month to the day after 9/11, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Wales was working at his computer at about 10:40 p.m. Someone familiar with his home and work habits evaded the motion-sensor-based floodlights in his yard and shot him through the window. Over almost 17 years of active investigation, the government has pursued a variety of theories. If the murder was related to his work, Mr. Wales would be the first federal prosecutor killed in the line of duty in American history.
  • A new podcast investigating the murder, Somebody Somewhere, launched on January 30th.
  • If you’re thinking about the Supreme Court’s decision to leave in place a D.C. Circuit decision about standing in data breach cases, there’s a nice discussion of it on this week’s episode of the National Security Podcast.
  • Just a week after Valentine’s Day, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland indicted a dating site fraudster for stealing, and then laundering, money from would-be dates with the help of some catfish co-conspirators.