Increasingly the U.S. Attorney’s office has been actively pursuing men and women who were placed on Federal probation but have either stopped checking in or have violated their probation with a new arrest.   Federal probation is a sentence, just as is Florida state probation.  Violations of probation are most frequently one of the following:

  • Failing to report a change of address or get approval to move from the probation officer
  • Failing to follow the terms of current probation

On January 10th, 2017, it was announced that Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was appointed as Senior Advisor to the future President.  News reports  of “conflict of interest” by Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and the Trump family have  morphed  into allegations of insider trading, a crime punishable by prison and significant financial penalties.

New York Senator and Senate Minority Leader, Charles Schumer, brought up the issue of insider trading and cabinet nominees at a news conference last week, and…POLITICO reports that Congressman Elijah Cummings is looking at corruption hearings on the Trump business and its ties into the government.

There is talk of a pending Congressional criminal hearing on violations of Stock Act of 2012 and insider trading charges in contemplation against Donald Trump and his family members.  The Stock Act of 2012 was enacted to restrict insider trading by members of Congress and their staff and can extend to the President.  The inquiry examines the extent to which Donald Trump, Mr. Kushner and Trump family members have exploited access to government policy in making real estate ventures.

Impeachment is governed by Article II Section Four of the U.S. Constitution, which  states that the President shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.  Treasons is levying war against the United States, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.  Bribery is defined in federal statutes, not in the constitution.  High crimes and misdemeanors likewise is defined by looking at old British case law, there is no definition in our constitution.  And yes, a sitting president can be impeached for things done before being sworn in.

220px-Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_(cropped)

Source: Wikimedia.org

Impeachment applies to the President, Vice President, and can, and has, been used to remove senators, congressman, federal judges and other “civil officers.” Remember Vice President Spiro Agnew? He avoided a near impeachment, and resigned instead in 1973.  Agnew was later indicted for things done when he was governor.  An impeachment is an indictment.

Cecil_the_lion_at_Hwange_National_Park_(4516560206)

Source: Wikipedia

The Daily Mail reports that Walter Palmer, the Minnesota millionaire dentist, is thriving and Cecil the Lion….is still dead.  But the first anniversary year of the killing has revived the protest by those who are still outraged at the staged killing of the park animal.

Dr. Walter Palmer, one year ago, had his trophy kill gutted and readied to be shipped to his home in the U.S. when the story broke and brought a firestorm of outrage on the bewildered dentist.  The millionaire dentist who was forced into hiding for a brief time has avoided prosecution both in Zimbabwe and the United States.  Zimbabwe abandoned its attempts to extradite Dr. Palmer and announced that no laws had been broken. I personally am starting a fundraising project to raise money for Dr. Palmer to have an all expense paid trip to China where he can have a free ride in an open door-less car to visit Badaling Safari World in Bejing, China.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on July 22, 2016 the unsealing of what will be an epic Medicare fraud sweep involving members of the South Florida community, both in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.  This is the largest Medicare Fraud crime federal indictment in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice.  It involves a network of doctors, hospitals, health care providers, adult living facilities (ALF’s), nursing homes, and private physicians and health care providers who have collectively, (allegedly) fraudulently billed Medicaid and Medicare in excess of one billion dollars.

Named in 300px-FBISealthe unsealed indictment is the owner of a business that owns and operates over 30 facilities for profit that provide nursing and assisted living services.  The allegations include conspiracy, bribery, kickbacks and fraudulent billing of services either not provided or, as some unconfirmed reports indicate; provided to dead people.  The unsealed indictment is one of many that the joint task force anticipates will be bring dozens of people to court as criminal defendants in federal court in South Florida.  The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health announced it believes in excess of $2.5 Billion of fraudulent charges are paid out every year by Medicare and Medicaid fraudulently and that South Florida is the focus of the task force.  Also named in the unsealed indictment is Odette Barcha, 49, and Arnaldo Carmouze, 56, all of Miami-Dade County.

Philip Esformes, the owner of more than 30 facilities, was named as the “mastermind” of the conspiracy.  He is represented by attorney Marissel Descalzo and Michael Pasano of the Carton Fields law firm.  In 2013, Attorney Michael Pasano  also represented Karen Kallen-Zury who was convicted and found guilty,  along with others, of running a $70 million Medicare fraud and bribery scheme involving mental health hospitals.  Also convicted in the Southern District of Florida in that case was Daisy Miller of Hollywood and Michele Petrie of Fort Lauderdale.

Slavery and trafficking are synonymous.  Human trafficking includes Philippine young women who are transported to Saudi Arabia and confined as domestic servants, as well as commercial sex operations.  Human trafficking is defined as the use of fraud, coercion or force to exercise physical and psychological control of an individual to purpose the victim into commercial sex acts, confined labor or both.  For more a world-wide perspective on human trafficking, go to: National Human Trafficking Resource Center and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Defining criminality and prosecutions under federal laws is a three step analysis beginning with: 1) The act; 2) The means; and 3) The purpose.

Florida has a sex trafficking and human trafficking criminal statute which is quite comprehensive.  In Florida, local jurisdictions, such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale, prosecute sex trafficking and human trafficking cases under Florida criminal law.  Often, the scope of commercial sex trafficking operations crosses city and county jurisdictional lines.  A prosecutor in Fort Lauderdale cannot successfully prosecute a sex trafficking operation that is outside Broward County.  Because commercial sex operators are inter-jurisdictional operations, there is a federal task force in place.  The task force is active in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.  Federal prosecutions are often undertaken when local state prosecutors decline to prosecute or refer a sex or human trafficking case to a federal task force.

Federal criminal codes 18 U.S.C §§ 1591 and 1594 are the most commonly used criminal cases filed in Federal Court.  The White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910, known as the Mann Act, outlawed prostitution and unlawful sexual activities which “cross state lines.”  Historically, the Mann Act was used to arrest and prosecute men, and women, who crossed from one state to another, and who were either unmarried or engaging in commercial sex.   The Mann Act has penalties of ten years.  The Human Trafficking Federal Statutes (18 U.S.C § 1591) prosecutions are more targeted to incarcerate operators of commercial sex enterprises in which prostitutes, both male and female, of age 14 or under are held as sex workers.  The age of the person providing commercial sex and the age of the “John” place different sentencing schemes to defendants.  The statute begins with a mandatory minimum of ten years to a 15 year minimum mandatory to life in prison.  If the age of the “John” is under 21 and the age of the sex partner is under 14, the 15 year minimums apply.   The Sentencing Guidelines provide for enhancements and a recommended sentencing range.  Please seek out more information on the guidelines for more insight into the sentencing exposure of defendants.

mateenNoor Zahi Salman, (the second and current wife of the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen),  told the FBI she knew of Mateen’s plan for a mass murder shooting, accompanied him to scout out potential targets, went with him to the Pulse Club in Orlando, and accompanied him to buy a holster and ammunition.

Is that enough to charge Mateen’s wife as aiding and abetting the murders?  Can the law support a conviction?  Is arresting her a public relations issue or a law enforcement issue? These are all questions that investigators will be looking to answer in the next few days.

Decide for yourself. But first understand the law.  Aiding and abetting means “assisting in the commission of someone else’s crime.”  According to 18 U.S. Code § 2, Salman, if convicted of aiding and abetting, could be punished as a principal.

Earlier this month, The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), published reports on their ongoing investigation into the 2.6 terabytes of data leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian international law firm.  The ICIJ, a global network of over 190 journalists from more than 65 countries, came in contact with the leaked data through a German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, who iSource: www.worldpropertyjournal.comn turn received the data early last year from an anonymous source.  The leak was far too big for the German newspaper to handle on its own and enlisted the ICIJ to aid in the investigation of the leaked documents.

What is so important about The Panama Papers?  The leak, in what is now considered the biggest data leak in history, was dubbed the “Panama Papers” and applies to the 11.5 million documents with detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies listed in the firm’s files.

Offshore companies are entities incorporated in offshore jurisdictions, usually in places with: 1) Little to no local taxation; 2) Stable banking centers; and 3) Strict banking secrecy laws.  The offshore companies are then used to establish offshore bank accounts, and although they are not illegal, the accounts are used by non-residents to move wealth without any disclosure to the nation of origin, the source of the money, or the business or transactional history whereby the funds came under the control of individuals seeking a “tax haven” for the money acquired.  The main issue with these dealings is that the obscure and secretive nature of these accounts easily lends itself to illegal activities, such as money laundering and tax avoidance.

Last month, on February 16, 2016, the U.S. Government asked a California federal court to compel Apple to assist the FBI in the search of the San Bernardino shooter,Syed Rizwan Farook’s, iPhone.  Apple has objected to doing so, claiming it has “…done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them.”

Apple vs. FBIIn the past, Apple has complied with government search warrants, under its prior operating system, bypassing its passcode and unlocking some of its content pursuant to the warrant. But under Apple’s new encrypted software, the data is encrypted automatically using a digital key that can only be accessed by the user and not by Apple or anybody else.  And since developing the new iOS8 operating system, Apple claims in its policy that it can no longer bypass the passcode, “…and therefore it is not “technically feasible” for Apple to respond to government search warrants.  For this reason, the government’s already obtained search warrant has not been very useful and under the All Writs Act, the government is seeking assistance from Apple because they state, “Apple has the ability to modify software” to disable the auto-erase function only on Malik’s iPhone.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym issued an order approving the government’s petition and in response, Apple issued a statement outlining their reasons for refusing to cooperate with the FBI, stating the FBI is asking Apple to “build a backdoor” to its products, thus setting a dangerous precedent.