The criminal conviction of Kenneth Lay has been vacated

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[tag]Ken Lay[/tag], the former chairman of Enron Corp., has had his criminal conviction on [tag]fraud [/tag] and [tag]conspiracy[/tag] charges vacated. He was convicted on May 25, 2006, and died from a massive coronary on July 5, 2006.

The law in the Fifth Circuit states that if a defendant dies before having an opportunity to [tag]appeal[/tag] a conviction, that the [tag]conviction[/tag] must be taken off his record. The federal government argued that Ken Lay’s estate shouldn’t be able to keep the proceeds of fraud, which should be forfeited and distributed to the victims of his crimes. The judge rejected the argument, saying that those who were defrauded could pursue the matter in civil court.

The Justice Department has said that they will continue to pursue [tag]restitution[/tag] on behalf of the [tag]Enron[/tag] fraud victims.

6 excuses why people don’t save money

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Bankrate.com ran a great article about why consumers don’t save their money. It seems everyone’s got a reason, er, excuse … From their article:

  1. I don’t make enough money – Many people just spend their money until it’s gone. Tracking what you spend may help you control your spending, and therefore help you to save.
  2. I’ll get around to it later – People are always putting off saving. However, saving little by little can add up fast.
  3. I deserve a little luxury in my life – We’re in a society that promotes instant gratification. Saving is important too, and it’s okay to save for the treats you want too.
  4. Someone else will take care of it – Many count on things like inheritances to start their savings. It’s wiser to be in control of your financial future early on.
  5. I’m saving through my 401(k) – Retirement money is important, but you also need emergency funds for today’s problems.
  6. This item or service will pay for itself – Rationalizing purchases is easy, but it may be wiser to save and create a financial future.

More “supervision” for City of Milwaukee criminals

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Disclosure: I was a [tag]probation[/tag] and [tag]parole[/tag] agent 11 years ago.

Wisconsin is going to create a special unit of probation and parole agents to look after Milwaukee residents who are “on paper”. Police Chief Nannette Hegerty has said that one out of every five suspects arrested by Milwaukee police is on either probation or parole. Governer Jim Doyle claims that those under this intense supervision will be put back in jail as soon as they break conditions of their release.

Milwaukee County currently has 400 agents who monitor 18,000 offenders. The new unit will add 13 agents, who will have smaller caseloads than the average agent.

With the numbers currently at 45 criminals per agent, I don’t think the number of agents is the problem. The problem is that these people are habitual criminals. More so-called supervision will not prevent criminals from engaging in criminal activity.

Milwaukee Public Schools – Failing Its Students

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It appears that many students in MPS are repeating grades…

As of September 25, Milwaukee Public Schools had 9,000 students in ninth grade. Freshmen. Kids who are usually 14, going on 15 years old.

3,000 of those ninth graders were in ninth grade for at least the second time.

636 of those ninth graders were at least 17 years old. That’s right. 7% of the ninth graders are at least three years “behind” in school. (The discussion in the Journal Sentinel says that they’re two years behind. But I can do math. 17 minus the typical age of 14 at the beginning of the school year in September is 3 years.)

Of the 636 who are so far behind, 64% are boys.

Of the 636 who are so far behind, 30% have been labeled “special needs”.

The best part about this report… The Journal Sentinel says that “several major attempts to improve success at the eighth- and ninth-grade levels have not yielded dramatic improvement.”

Apparently the billions that we’ve been pumping into public education haven’t been too effective. Clearly, money is not the answer.

And they wonder why School Choice is so important.

More Details on the Felony Charges Against Terry Gaouette, Former CFO of the Milwaukee Public Museum

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As reported yesterdaygaouette.jpg, the former CFO of the Milwaukee Public Museum has been charged with four criminal counts against him for his part in the raiding of the organization’s endowment fund.

Here is a summary of the criminal complaint against Terry Gaouette:

Count 1 – Theft By Officer – From March 1, 2004 and February 28, 2005, transferred money out of the endowment fund without the owner’s consent. Continue reading

The Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office Has Actually Charged Someone in the Milwaukee Public Museum Scandal!

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The Milwaukee county district attorney’s office has brought criminal [tag]misconduct[/tag] charges against Terry Gaouette, the former CFO of the Milwaukee Public Museum. He is charged with four felonies related to illegally transferring endowment funds and falsifying records. He could receive up to 28 years in prison if found guilty on all counts. Continue reading

John Grisham’s new book comes out today

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John Grisham’s most recent book is not a fictional crime thriller. Rather, it is the true story of a former minor league baseball player who spent eleven years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Although the story is non-fiction, Grisham says he found it as compelling as any legal thriller he has written.

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town details the case of Roy Williamson. He was once a promising baseball player who was drafted 41st out of 800 players chosen in the 1971 major league baseball draft. He played in the minor leagues until 1976, when arm injuries and alcoholism brought his career to an end.

Williamson went home to a life of drinking, womanizing, and signs of bipolar disorder. He couldn’t hold down a job, and had several arrests. He was charged with rape twice, but was found innocent in both jury trials.

In 1982, a cocktail waitress in his hometown was raped and murdered. Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz were accused of the murder and put on trial. The authorities had no proof that the men committed the crime. There were no fingerprints at the scene and no eyewitnesses. The best piece of “evidence” presented by the prosecutor was a vague identification of them as the killers.

Both men were convicted of the murders, with Williamson receiving the death sentence and Fritz receiving a life sentence in prison. Eleven years later, they were both cleared of any involvement in the crime when DNA tests exonerated them. Those same DNA tests proved that the killer was actually the man who provided the identification of Williamson and Fritz at their trial.

Grisham’s book explores how the system denied these men their rights throughout their trial, and eventually robbed them of more than eleven years of their lives. They were released from prison in 1999, a mere five days before Williamson was scheduled to be put to death. He died of cirrhosis of the liver five years later.

Another former Enron executive is sentenced

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On Friday, Enron’s former executive in charge of investor relations, Paula Rieker, was sentenced to two years of probation. She could have received up to ten years in prison, but was given a lighter sentence because she has cooperated with the investigation of other Enron executives.

Specifically, Reiker was instrumental in the trails of Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. She testified that Lay hid bad news from Wall Street, and that board members were upset at his personal financial gains from Enron. Reiker also testified that on two occasions, Skilling ordered that Enron inflate its earnings-per-share figures to meet or beat stock market expectations.

Reiker was one of 16 ex-executives from Enron who pleaded guilty to charges related to the company’s collapse.

Guilty Pleas in Frank Jude Beating Case

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U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic has filed federal charges against two Milwaukee police officers who have agreed to plead guilty and testify against others in the Frank Jude Jr. beating case. Joseph Schabel was the first on-duty officer to respond to the 911 which reported the beating in Bayview, outside the home of an off-duty officer.

Schabel admits to kicking Jude in the head but lying about it. He is pleading guilty to depriving Jude of his civil rights by assaulting him and obstructing justice by lying to investigators. He has been suspended from the police department (and will be fired soon) and faces up to 20 years in prison. Continue reading

IRS Commissioner says CFO’s shouldn’t receive options

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Mark Everson, commissioner of the [tag]Internal Revenue Service[/tag], is proposing that corporations stop offering [tag]stock options[/tag] to Chief Financial Officers. The recent [tag]option backdating[/tag] problems are fueling his comments, and he says that CFOs are already rich and shouldn’t have to cheat companies out of more money by manipulating stock options.

Everson suggests that CFOs, general counsel, and non-executive board chairs should receive only fixed compensation. He says that the opportunity for huge gains from stock options makes it tempting for executives to manipulate them. The [tag]IRS[/tag] is considering changes to the tax code for executive compensation packages.