Posts tagged with "Criminal charges"

Steve Bannon surrenders to Manhattan DA for ‘Build the Wall’ financial fraud case

September 9, 2022

Rightwing provocateur Steve Bannon turned himself in Thursday morning, September 8, to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, where he is expected to face criminal charges of financial fraud, reports The Daily Beast.

New York prosecutors are attempting to nail him for crimes that former President Donald Trump already had pardoned. However, that presidential Get Out of Jail card only applied to a previous federal case that had to be dropped. The DA operates at a state level and doesn’t have to abide by that pardon.

Bannon—who was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. (EDT)—had to turn over his passport, according to a source familiar with the case. That person said the DA’s case is being handled by two prosecutors in the office’s economic crimes bureau: assistant district attorneys Daniel Passeser and Michael Frantel.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees that a person cannot be prosecuted twice for the same crime, a concept known as “double jeopardy.” However, New Yorkers fed up with rampant corruption during the Trump Administration sought to create a loophole of sorts in 2019—allowing the state to pursue criminal charges on a local level that weren’t being addressed at the federal one.

The Manhattan DA’s office has taken the same approach with other Trump World associates. Last year, it brought a criminal cyberstalking case  against another person who previously had received a Trump pardon: Ken Kurson, a former editor of The New York Observer who’s close with Trump’s son-in-law and former Observer owner Jared Kushner. Earlier this year, Kurson took a plea deal for unlawfully spying on his ex-wife.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight colleges snared in admissions bribery scandal

March 15, 2019

As if top U.S. colleges are not charging enough, parents are bribing industry officials to get their kids into the “right”schools.

Among the high-profile moms and dads who now are being hit with federal criminal charges for providing monetary inducements—some of them, six figures high—to college advisers, test proctors, admissions officers, or athletics coaches to admit their children are actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, as well as top business and legal executives nationwide.

Now, a class-action civil lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by two Stanford University students, Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods, against eight top universities in connection with the massive college admissions bribery scandal, which hit the news on March 12,

The defendants in the lawsuit are Yale University, the University of Southern California, Stanford University, UCLA, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas, Wake Forest University, and Georgetown University. Federal prosecutors have said the schools, themselves, were victims of the scam,l according to a report by CNBC.

Indeed, the suit accuses each of the universities of being “negligent in failing to maintain adequate protocols and security measures in places to guarantee the sanctity of the college admissions process.”

And the suit, which claims more than $5 million in damages, alleges that, as a result of the payoffs, “unqualified students found their way into the admissions rolls of highly selective universities, while those students who played by the rules and did not have college-bribing parents were denied admission.”

Although the only two named plaintiffs to date are Olsen and Woods, the action would ultimately include potentially thousands of students as complainants—if not more, if the case is granted class-action status by a judge.

Also named as a defendant, according to The New York Times, is William “Rick” Singer, 59, the owner of a  college preparatory business, the Edge College & Career Network, who masterminded and profited from the scheme.

The suit claims that the universities named as defendants “knew or should have known of these corrupt practices because the funds” that were being used as bribes to gain admittance for the children of wealthy parents “were often going into university accounts; and to prominent figures, such as coaches and directors in charge of university accounts.”

The suit alleges that the plaintiff, “Olsen has also been damaged because she is a student at Stanford University, another one of the universities plagued by the fraud scandal. Her degree is now not worth as much as it was before, because prospective employers may now question whether she was admitted to the university on her own merits, versus having parents who were willing to bribe school officials.”

And it says that her co-plaintiff, Woods, at the time she applied to USC for admission, “similarly was never informed that the process of admission at USC was an unfair, rigged process, in which parents could buy their way into the university through bribery and dishonest schemes.”

Wake Forest’s president, Nathan Hatch, in a letter made public said that “the university has cooperated fully with the investigation.”

Hatch said he “to make abundantly clear that Wake Forest is considered by the U.S. Department of Justice to be a victim of this fraud. In no way has it been suggested that the university was involved in the deceitful practices, nor were any employees, other than [Wake Forest volleyball coach Bill] Ferguson, accused of wrongdoing.”

Ferguson has reportedly been placed on administrative leave by the institution.

Lawyers for Olsen and Woods, as well as spokesmen for the other universities, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from CNBC.

Research contact: @_DanMangan