Bribery, Guns and 32 Months

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Brooklyn Businessman Sentenced to 32 Months in NYPD Bribery Scheme

MANHATTAN — A Brooklyn businessman who bribed NYPD officers in exchange for expediting gun licenses for clients was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Thursday.

Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, 45, had pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges after paying tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes since 2013 to Sergeant David Villanueva in the licensing division, who then shared some of the money with Officer Richard Ochetal.

“By engaging in an egregious scheme to trade cash for gun licenses, Alex Lichtenstein and his co-defendants in the New York City Police Department corrupted the sensitive process of evaluating gun license applications in New York City,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said.

“Today’s sentence shows that individuals who so brazenly abuse the public’s trust in law enforcement — whether they are the officers receiving bribes or the citizens paying them — will be held to account for their crimes.”

Lichtenstein — who served as the leader of the Borough Park neighborhood patrol, Shomrim — made off with between $150,000 to $250,000 from his clients, some of whom had criminal convictions and a history of domestic violence.

He was finally banned from the licensing division in 2016 after rumors spread about his client fees and he then tried to bribe another officer who recorded the Brooklyn businessman offering a $6,000 bribe.

Lichtenstein was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $230,000.

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY CLICK HERE.

Gutnick – Bankruptcy – Does Anyone Know What Happened on March 3rd?

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/joseph-gutnick-and-family-face-bankruptcy-grilling/news-story/126cbda8f63d2ef2bba126564ea69adb

Joseph Gutnick and family face bankruptcy grilling

Fallen mining magnate Joseph Gutnick, members of his family and business associates are to be grilled under oath over his $275 million bankruptcy as trustees try to unravel his complex financial affairs.

The Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday issued orders summoning eight people, including Mr Gutnick, his wife Stera and son Mordechai, to give evidence as part of a probe into his affairs to be conducted by his trustees Gess Rambaldi and Andrew Yeo of Pitcher Partners.

Registrar Timothy Luxton also ordered Mr Gutnick’s accountant, Peter Stegelman, and business associates Peter Lee, Gary Fitton and David Tyrwhitt to give evidence.

Lawyer Morris Landau, a partner at SBA Law is also to give evidence. Mr Rambaldi and Mr Yeo also asked the court to force Westpac to hand over documents relating to Mr Gutnick, but no such orders have been made.

When Mr Gutnick declared bankruptcy in July last year he told his trustees he had just over $2m in assets, including $16,000 in cash, and owed $275m.

The case returns to court on March 2.

Will Platinum’s Partners Make Claims that They Tried to Come Clean Too?

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http://nypost.com/2017/02/02/madoff-no-one-believed-me-when-i-tried-to-come-clean/

Madoff: No one believed me when I tried to come clean

Bernie Madoff claims he tried to tell people as early as 2005 — three years before he was arrested — that his empire was nothing more than an elaborate pyramid scheme, according to a new documentary.

Makers of the audio documentary “Ponzi Supernova” obtained a 2012 tape recording of Madoff answering questions in a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs suing Banco Santander’s Optimal Investment Services, which had invested with him.

Madoff said investors came to him with suspicions that he wasn’t really making any profitable trades.
But when he told them the truth, they laughed it off — and didn’t go to authorities, the imprisoned cheat said.

“Well they [suspicious investors in 2005] would, they would ask me that, you know, with a smile, ‘You’re not — are you really doing these trades?’ or ‘You know, and so on and so forth?’ ” Madoff testified in a 2012 deposition.

“And sometimes, I would say, ‘No, I’m not [making any trades].’ They would laugh, and then that would be the end of it. They didn’t want to believe it.”

Madoff’s claim that he was trying to come clean years ago is featured in the sixth and final part of “Ponzi Supernova,” which is being posted Thursday on Amazon’s spoken-word platform, Audible.

Madoff also claimed hedge-fund managers who invested with him should have known the returns they were seeing were mathematically impossible.

“Something Fishy” is the title of Thursday’s installment of “Ponzi Supernova.”

“I thought they didn’t want to understand. I thought that was . . . willful blindness,” said Madoff, who is now 78.

As long as he kept reporting profits, hedge-fund managers didn’t care to ask questions, Madoff said, “because they never, they never really objected.”

“Supernova” documentarian Steve Fishman said he agreed with Madoff that the con man’s biggest investors likely knew something was up — but stopped short of acting as long as paper profits kept piling up.

“They ignored all the warning signs. And those warning signs were really explicit and big,” Fishman said Wednesday.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

A Platinum Array of Victims – Arrests are Not Enough

File photo of rescue crews surrounding Black Elk oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico
Rescue crew surrounds an oil platform operated by Houston-based Black Elk Energy which exploded off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, in this November 16, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Sean Gardner/Files

 

Platinum Partners arrests are scant consolation for alleged victims

By Lawrence Delevingne | NEW YORK

When six executives of Platinum Partners, including founder Mark Nordlicht, were arrested on Monday on federal charges of running a more than $1 billion hedge fund fraud, people who had long alleged they were harmed by the New York-based firm felt some vindication.

But the possibility that each defendant might face prison terms has done little to soothe their continued anger over losses that may never be recouped.

One such person is Houston-based energy entrepreneur John Hoffman. In the charges, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged what Hoffman had long believed – that Platinum, with the help of a seventh man also arrested, Jeffrey Shulse, had illegally profited from the failure of Hoffman’s company, Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC. 

Hoffman said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that he did not expect to recover anything and that his involvement with Platinum had cost him the company he founded and at least $500,000 in legal fees. He also described stress-related health problems and difficulty fundraising for a new energy venture.

Hoffman expressed anger that thousands of Gulf Coast-area families were stiffed: mostly the small businesses that were never paid for work on Black Elk’s oil and gas drilling platforms before it went bankrupt amid lower oil prices and Platinum’s alleged corporate cash grab.

All six Platinum executives pleaded not guilty and an attorney for Shulse told Reuters he plans to do the same. A spokesman for Platinum declined to comment for this article, and the firm has not offered any public comment. A person familiar with Platinum’s thinking told Reuters in April that the firm always acted within the limits of the law despite its aggressive investment approach.

Launched in 2003, Platinum was known as a high-performing hedge fund manager that backed struggling companies and employed esoteric investment strategies such as litigation finance and high-interest consumer loans. (Reuters Special Report: reut.rs/1TRovwx)

The government charges on Monday included allegations of over-valuing assets and misleading clients on the health of the firm. The government demanded that the hedge fund return money that was allegedly illegally taken from clients and Black Elk bondholders, and pay related penalties.

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Bernie Madoff and the Koch Brothers – Irving Picard’s Efforts at Recovery Thwarted – Money Held Abroad…

The Madoff Judge’s Ruling Setting a Reprehensible Legal Precedent: Invest if you are savvy because the courts will protect you. If you are not, you are S.O.L.

The Koch Brothers and other investors who hold millions, if not billions abroad are being permitted to keep money that in our view should be available for all of the people who were defrauded by Madoff. Irving Picard, the attorney acting as Trustee for the Bankrutpcy estate and a strong advocate for recovery for those most affected by Madoff’s scheme, argued that the money should be disgorged (returned to the bankruptcy estate). The judge, contrary to Picard’s argument disagreed. We believe that this judge set a very toxic precedent by ruling as he did. The message: “If you invested through “feeder funds” or other similar entities which hold money abroad, that money cannot be brought back.”

In other words, the most savvy investors can manipulate the law (if not the court system) to the detriment of the ordinary “non-savvy” investors. Are the less savvy investors not the people the US Securities Laws are designed to protect?

Kochs and Other Madoff Investors Are Winners in Fight Over Profits Held Abroad

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/business/dealbook/kochs-and-other-madoff-investors-are-winners-in-fight-over-profits-held-abroad.html?_r=0

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Implant Sciences – Another Platinum Victim

Implant Sciences Shareholders Call for Platinum Partners Investigation

http://www.wsj.com/articles/implant-sciences-shareholders-call-for-platinum-partners-investigation-1479328676

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Lichtenstein Pleads GUILTY!

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Alex Lichtenstein of Pomona, a volunteer for the Brooklyn Borough Park Shomrim, sold the licenses for up to $18,000 each, prosecutors said.

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20161110/civic-center/brooklyn-businessman-guilty-bribing-police-gun-licenses

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