Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes wants trial preparations exempted from safety orders
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes wants the judge overseeing her criminal fraud case to order her legal team’s trial preparations essential and exempt from coronavirus safety restrictions so lawyers and their agents can perform tasks that they say may provoke hostility.“While we are hesitant to encourage any person to undertake actions that are contrary to advice and directions from public health officials or impose any burdens on health care professionals or institutions, we must adhere to the direction provided by this court regarding the time and manner in which it wishes...
The Mercury News
Venezuela's top judge was paid bribes for favors, spent millions in Miami, feds say
MIAMI — The highest-ranking judge in Venezuela — on par with the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court — doled out legal favors to obtain millions in bribes paid through Miami and foreign bank accounts that he spent on chartered private jets, expensive watches and other luxury goods in South Florida, federal prosecutors say.Maikel Moreno, president of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, was charged on Thursday with laundering bribes that he accepted from white-collar defendants seeking breaks in their high-stakes fraud and financial cases in Venezuela.Moreno, whose criminal case was filed in Mi...
Burr faces lawsuit as fallout continues over his sale of up to $1.7 million in stock
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Fallout continued this week over revelations that U.S. Sen. Richard Burr dumped up to $1.7 million in stock after private briefings about the coronavirus, including a personal lawsuit against him.Politico reported the shareholder suit against Burr in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia even as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week issued a stern warning against insider trading.Last week ProPublica and the Center for Responsive Politics reported that Burr sold the stocks in mid-February just before the market collapsed.As chairman of the Senate Int...
The Charlotte Observer
State AGs Crack down on coronavirus scams
WASHINGTON — From disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker in Missouri to a convenience store operator in New Jersey, suspected fraudsters are trying to take advantage of the coronavirus panic to trick consumers into buying useless or harmful products, triggering state anti-gouging laws and anti-fraud efforts by state attorneys general.“When people are desperate and afraid, they are more likely to make a bad financial decision,” Democratic North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, co-chairman of the National Association of Attorneys General Consumer Protection Committee, said in an interview with ...
A fraud case in South Dakota throws harsh spotlight on organic grain
A $71 million fraud case in South Dakota is the latest blow to the organic supply chain.Federal prosecutors in February accused Kent Duane Anderson, a Rapid City, S.D., businessman, with passing off conventional grain and seed as organic for more than five years.Anderson pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud and money laundering.The case is the second large-scale organic fraud case in the Midwest to attract federal prosecution in less than a year, and comes amid ongoing concern over fraudulent organic imports.The South Dakota case is frustrating but unfortunately not a surprise, said Eri...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Nation and world news briefs
Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh sentenced to 3 years for book fraud schemeBALTIMORE — Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who held elected offices in Baltimore for two decades, was sentenced to three years in federal prison Thursday for a fraud scheme involving a children’s book series.U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow described Pugh’s crimes as “astounding” and said she took advantage of a career spent doing good works to mislead organizations who purchased her “Healthy Holly” books.“I have yet, frankly, to hear any explanation that makes sense,” the judge said. “This was not a...
Tribune News Service
Huge US money laundering probe targets widening circle of Venezuelan elites
MIAMI — For two years federal investigators in Miami have patiently waited for reams of Swiss bank records to be turned over so they could bring a monumental money laundering case against a wealthy circle of Venezuelan businessmen and ex-government officials.Finally, those secret bank records have arrived, due to a major decision to release them by Switzerland’s highest court.With that critical evidence in hand, U.S. prosecutors can now move forward and decide on filing a long-planned indictment charging four members of Venezuela’s young business elite — known as “boliburgueses” — and two form...
Rapper Kafani accused of leading multimillion-dollar fraud ring across California
OAKLAND, Calif. — A popular Bay Area rapper known for his inspiring recovery after being shot and paralyzed has been named by federal prosecutors as the ringleader in a scheme that allegedly stole millions from unsuspecting identity theft victims across California.Rapper Kafani, 39, whose aliases are listed as Mark Django Hicks Jr. and Amir Rashad, has been named as the lead defendant in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud case that prosecutors allege began in late 2018. Rashad is accused of conspiring with co-defendants Susan Arreola-Martin, Christopher Pool and Tyrone Jones in a wide-ranging s...
The Mercury News
Texas man charged with scamming senior citizens out of millions
AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin man previously accused of being “a top revenue producer” in a nationwide Ponzi scheme that fleeced investors out of more than $1 billion has been indicted on felony counts of fraud, theft and money laundering by a Travis County grand jury.Brett Pittsenbargar, 47, was arrested Wednesday morning and booked into the Travis County jail. He faces five to 99 years or life in prison if convicted on the charges.“His victims are almost exclusively senior citizens, and they suffered devastating losses,” said Joe Rotunda, director of enforcement at the Texas State Securities Boa...
Ex-UAW leader who pocketed millions in scandal gets 28-month sentence
DETROIT — Michael Grimes asked God for forgiveness Wednesday and apologized to his former UAW brothers and sisters for pocketing more than $1.5 million in the corruption scandal.Grimes also had a few more things to say outside of federal court in Detroit after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman sentenced him to 28 months in prison for his crimes.“I just want to say I’m sorry,” said Grimes, a former UAW administrative assistant and executive board member of the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources who pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.Finally, he...
Detroit Free Press