Former Illinois governor George Ryan convicted of fraud and racketeering

A jury trial ended in conviction for former Illinois governor George Ryan. He was found guilty of all charges, including [tag]fraud[/tag], obstructing the Internal Revenue Service and lying to the FBI. The charges against Ryan were related to accusations of funneling large state contracts to friends and political insiders. In return for those contracts, Ryan received gifts and money.

Ryan’s co-defendant, Larry Warner was also convicted of [tag]racketeering[/tag] [tag]conspiracy[/tag] in addition to mail fraud, attempted [tag]extortion[/tag] and [tag]money laundering[/tag]. He benefited to the tune of $3 million in business deals.

The investigation into this [tag]corruption[/tag] matter went on for eight years. Ryan says he will appeal.

Illegal immigrant studying at Princeton University

Dan-el Padilla Peralta is an [tag]illegal immigrant[/tag] and a student at Princeton University. He turned himself in two weeks ago. He has won a scholarship to Oxford University in the United Kingdom, but if he leaves the United States he won’t be allowed to return.

Princeton knew that Dan-el was in the country illegally, but admitted him to the school and gave him a full scholarship anyway. The school essentially overlooked his illegal status. They did not require him to return to his home country and apply for a [tag]student visa[/tag], which is the legal way to admit such a student.

The issue of illegal immigrants in colleges and universities is hot. The Federation for American Immigration Reform has pointed out that each illegal immigrant admitted to college potentially takes away a seat from a [tag]legal resident[/tag].

Dan-el is also concerned about his future after graduating from college. If he does not accept the scholarship to attend Oxford, and instead stays in the U.S., he may have difficulty finding a teaching position without legal residency.

The entire story can be read in the Wall Street Journal.

Frank Jude Jr’s reaction to not guilty verdict

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Frank Jude Jr. is “devastated and disgusted” at the news that three former Milwaukee police officers were acquitted of charges of beating him in October 2004.

Jude is currently at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution as a result of a parole violation following a physical altercation with his mother. His attorney Jonathan Safran said:

“He said it’s ironic that he’s incarcerated for what literally was revocation of parole with the incident with his mother who didn’t want to press charges and the cops involved in his tremendous beating were acquitted and out on the streets.”

Former Milwaukee Police Officers Not Guilty

I just listened to the reading of the verdicts in the trial of the three former Milwaukee police officers charged with beating Frank Jude Jr in October 2004. On 4 of the 5 counts the defendants were charged with, the verdict was “not guilty”. The jury was hung on the last count. Daniel Masarek and Andrew Spengler have won their victories. The State has said that they will re-try Jon Bartlett on the one count on which the jury was deadlocked. We await the response from the community.

Conspiracy of Fools: Enteron???

Two existing companies came together to form the company that would later be known as Enron. The original companies were Houston Natural Gas (HNG) and InterNorth. The new company was called HNG/InterNorth, but constant power struggles between the two sides lead management to believe they needed one name to help unify the company.

Pen thief?

Maruicio Aguirre-Orcutt is currently serving a 57 month sentence in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining a $4,200 pen. Over three years, Aguirre-Orcutt collected dozens of limited-edition fountain pens by telling people that the pens would be given to celebrities or political leaders.

Pen collecting is a hobby in which collectors gather to show of their special pens, often engraved or bejeweled, and sometimes worth tens of thousands of dollars. Pen designers love to have their pens shown with celebrities, as this creates a stir and can boost sales.

In 2003, Aguirre-Orcutt told a Seattle pen merchant, World Lux Inc., that he was throwing a gala event for the “Legal Institute of the Arts”. The event and the organization were phony, but he convinced the merchant to send him a $2,750 Krone “John Hancock” pen which had embedded in it a splinter from the real John Hancock’s desk.

In 2004, the publisher of trade magazine Pen World, Glen Bowen, sent Aguirre-Orcutt at $4,200 David Oscarson “Harvest”. This is an 18 carat gold fountain pen, and Aguirre-Orcutt promised that President Bush would use it to sign a Monther’s Day proclamation. But when Bowen received a picture of Mr. Bush using the pen, he could tell that someone had only superimposed the pen onto the photo.


The Secret Service eventually searched his Apartment, and found 30 pens stolen from pen merchants and designers. Aguirre-Orcutt is now behind bars for this, one of many frauds he has perpetrated in his life.

Jeffrey Skilling declares his innocence

The former president of [tag]Enron Corp[/tag], [tag]Jeffrey Skilling[/tag], has taken the witness stand in his own defense Monday. He said, “I am absolutely innocent.” His testimony included a narrative on the company’s growth and quality of employees, and he declared that he never told any subordinates to lie or manipulate the financial statements.

Skilling is facing 28 counts of [tag]conspiracy[/tag], [tag]fraud[/tag], and [tag]insider trading[/tag]. Also on trial with him is former chairman of Enron, [tag]Kenneth Lay[/tag], who faces 6 criminal counts.

Ancient book may be covered in human skin

From Yahoo and the Associated Press:

LONDON – A 300-year-old book that appears to be bound in human skin has been found in northern England, police said Saturday.skinbookThe macabre discovery was made on a central street in Leeds, and officers said the ledger may have been dumped following a burglary.

Detectives were trying to trace its rightful owner and believe it may have been taken from a dwelling in the area.

Much of the text is in French, and it was not uncommon around the time of the French Revolution for books to be covered in human skin.

The practice, known as anthropodermic bibliopegy, was sometimes used in the 18th and 19th centuries when accounts of murder trials were bound in the killer’s skin.

Anatomy books also were sometimes bound in the skin of a dissected cadaver. In World War II, Nazis were accused of using the skin from Holocaust victims to bind books.

In a brief statement, West Yorkshire police said the ledger, which contained handwriting in black ink, appears to date back to the 1700s, and they appealed to anyone who may be able to help identify the owners of the item to contact authorities.

West Yorkshire Police put two photographs of the book on their Web site, but officers were unable on Saturday to answer any questions about it, including the book’s subject matter.

Former Milwaukee police officer breaks code of silence in Frank Jude beating trial

Nicole Belmore was the first to break the “police [tag]code of silence[/tag]” with her testimony in the trial of 3 former police officers accused of beating Frank Jude Jr. She testified that she saw all three defendants, Jon Barlett, Daniel Masarik, and Andrew Spengler make forceful contact with Jude while he was lying on the ground. She also said that Bartlett and Jude kicked him hard after he had been handcuff, and that Bartlett put a knife to his neck.

Upon arriving at the scene with her partner Joseph Schabel, Belmore said Jude was on the street and surrounded by seven or eight people. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“I heard Officer Bartlett say (to Jude), ‘I’m going to kill you if you don’t give me the badge,’ ” Belmore said.

Belmore says that Schabel struck Jude on the shoulder to help handcuff him. Bartlett then kicked Jude in the head at least three times. After Bartlett held the knife to his throat, Masarik began kicking Jude in the crotch.

Belmore also testified about how she has been treated by other officers since the defendants were arrested, including how she could not get any backup on a solo assignment. She was called a rat and ridiculed in other ways. She has been on duty disability retirement since September.

2 Former NY Police Detectives Convicted of Mob Murders

Louis Eppolito, 57, and Steven Caracappa, 64, former New York Police Department detectives were convicted today of participating in eight murders between 1986 and 1990.

Some of the victims were murdered by Eppolito and Caracappa, while others were delivered by the two for Mafia killings.

While working for NYPD, the men were on the payroll of the the Luchese crime family underboss Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso. Their price was $4,000 each per month, with additional money if they personally killed someone.

The prosecution’s key witness was Burton Kaplan, a drug dealer who said that he was the middleman between Casso and the detectives.

In addition to the murder charges, Eppolito and Caracappa were also convicted of racketeering conspiracy, witness tampering, witness retaliation, and obstruction of justice.They could get life in prison.

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