Category Archives: Corruption

7 arrested in Travis Co. Tax-Assessor Collector’s office fraud scheme

“This is something we don’t tolerate.  This is taxpayer money.  We’re government employees.  This is a priority for us at the department,” said DPS Regional Commander Freeman Martin.

Seven arrests: charges like forgery, organized crime, bribery.

“There’s a lot of things about this investigation we can’t talk about.  This is an ongoing investigation that still has to be prosecuted,” Freeman said.

Martin joined DMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster and Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore at a press conference Monday morning about the multi-agency fraud investigation called “Operation Even Trade.”

Martin says the investigation launched in March at the request of the D.A.

“Say somebody purchases a vehicle.  When you go to the Tax-Assessor Collector’s office, you pay taxes on the amount of that vehicle.  So there’s a potential there for corruption,” Martin said.

According to court paperwork, 43-year-old Shell Kenneth Prieto-Reese and 57-year-old Cathy Lynn Wilson worked together at the Precinct 1 tax office on Hefflin Lane.  43-year-old Susie Alvarez Araujo and 35-year-old Steven Hernandez worked at Precinct 2 in Pflugerville.

The employees are accused of entering false values on title form applications, resulting in the reduction of sales tax sent to the state.

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Navy commander gets 18 months in massive corruption scandal

A U.S. Navy commander was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison for his role in a fraud and bribery scheme that cost the government about $35 million.

Cmdr. Bobby Pitts, 48, of Chesapeake, Virginia, was the latest person to be sentenced in connection with a decade-long scam linked to a Singapore defense contractor known as “Fat Leonard” Francis.

Francis bribed Navy officials to help him overbill the Navy for fuel, food and other services his company provided to ships docked in Asian ports, according to prosecutors. The bribes allegedly ranged from cash and prostitutes to Cuban cigars and Spanish suckling pigs.

Pitts pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges that alleged he tried to obstruct a federal investigation while in charge of the Navy’s Fleet Industrial Supply Command in Singapore.

In handing down the sentence against Pitts, U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino told him that he had “betrayed the Navy and betrayed the country,” prosecutors said in a news release.

“Pitts deliberately and methodically undermined government operations and in doing so, diverted his allegiance from his country and colleagues to a foreign defense contractor, and for that, he is paying a high price,” said Adam Braverman, the U.S. Attorney in San Diego.

In addition to his prison sentence, Pitts was also ordered to pay $22,500 in fines and restitution.

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Navy Corruption Scandal

The Washington Post has published another report on the Glenn Defense Navy scandal. For more than a decade, the head of Glenn Defense, Leonard Glenn Francis, cozied up to Navy leaders in the Pacific to win lucrative contracts for resupplying ships. He cashed in on overpriced contracts and fraudulent invoices, and he had numerous moles inside the Navy to ensure his continued enrichment.

Francis wined and dined Navy officers, providing them with gifts, prostitutes, and other favors to get their help and protection. The episode is appalling in so many ways, and it has disturbing implications: If Navy officers were so easily seduced by this Singapore con artist, are leaders in other military and intelligence services just as vulnerable to old-fashioned, low-tech bribes?

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NY Governor’s top aides indicted on sweeping corruption charges. (Is Hillary next?)

We’ve discussed U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara here many times in the past. His pursuit of government corruption wherever it may be found and the prosecution of those who betray the trust of the public has become legendary. That’s why, when he told reporters earlier this year that he detected an “air of corruption” in the executive branch of New York’s state government people were rightly looking over their shoulders. Now his work in that area is moving into high gear. Bharara has made his case to a grand jury and been given the green light to take eight top aides and associates of Governor Andrew Cuomo to trial on charges of corruption. (New York Observer)

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‘My reputation is destroyed’: Former state Sen. Ron Calderon sentenced to 42 months in prison in corruption case

Former state Sen. Ronald Calderon, once the most powerful member of a politically influential family, was sentenced Friday in Los Angeles to 42 months in prison after he pleaded guilty in a federal corruption case.

The Montebello Democrat, who served in the state Senate for eight years ending in 2014, admitted in a plea deal in June that he had accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from undercover FBI agents and a hospital executive in return for official favors.

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Ex-Cuomo advisers, others charged in New York corruption cases

Federal and state prosecutors on Thursday announced charges against 10 men, including two onetime senior advisers to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in corruption and fraud cases involving state contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The charges followed a federal investigation into Buffalo Billion, a signature $1 billion economic development project of Cuomo aimed at revitalizing the area around the city of Buffalo, once an upstate industrial powerhouse.

Joseph Percoco, a former executive deputy secretary to the governor; Alain Kaloyeros, president of the State University of New York’s Polytechnic Institute, and six others were charged in a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.

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