Gun running California Senator Leland Yee sentenced to 5 years in prison
“Former state Sen. Leland Yee, a powerhouse in Bay Area politics for a
quarter century and now a convicted felon … stood before a federal judge in San Francisco on
Wednesday 24 February 2016), the day of his sentencing, and asked for leniency.”
“Although U.S. District
Judge Charles Breyer told Yee he wasn’t entitled to leniency, his
sentence — five years in prison and a $20,000 fine — was near the bottom
of the federal sentencing guidelines, and well below the eight-year
term sought by prosecutors.”
“Yee, dressed immaculately in a dark suit, addressed the judge in a courtroom filled to overflowing.”
“Look at my entire life and not just the crimes I
have committed,” he said. “In the 67 years of my life, I have devoted
much of it to work with communities and the people here in San Francisco
and in California.”
“The pain he inflicted on his family, friends and constituents, he added, “will always haunt me for the rest of my life”.”
“Breyer seemed unpersuaded, telling Yee his public
service was outweighed by his willingness to trade votes for campaign
contributions. His crimes, the judge said, amounted to an “attack on
democratic institutions” and a betrayal of the public.”
“But later in the three-hour hearing, which included
sentencing for three other defendants, Breyer indicated that he had
taken into account Yee’s age, his overall career, and the health of his
wife, who has been diagnosed with cancer.”
Former state Sen. Leland Yee leaves the Phillip Burton Federal
Courthouse after receiving a five year prison sentence and a $20,000
fine in a federal bribery and corruption case in San Francisco, Calif.
“Breyer was tougher with Keith Jackson, 51, a former
San Francisco school board president who raised funds for Yee, set up
the bribery scheme and admitted taking his own payoffs from agents to
traffic in guns and drugs and arrange a supposed murder for hire.
Describing Jackson as a “one-person crime wave,” Breyer sentenced him to
nine years in prison, one year less than prosecutors had sought.”
Former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson said his son Brandon was making $50,000 per week shipping marijuana to Tennessee.
“He then sentenced Jackson’s son, Brandon, to 41/2
years in prison, and sports agent Marlon Sullivan to 51/2 years, for
separate racketeering charges. Both men admitted plotting with
undercover agents, who posed as criminals, to deal drugs and firearms
and take part in the murder-for-hire scheme.”
“The prosecution arose from a five-year undercover
investigation that targeted a Chinatown community organization, the Ghee
Kung Tong, and its leader, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, and yielded
charges against 29 defendants.”
“Chow, the first to go to trial, was convicted last month of
running the organization as a racketeering enterprise and murdering its
former leader, Allen Leung, in 2006. He awaits sentencing in March and
faces a mandatory life term. Federal agents said they encountered Yee
through Keith Jackson, who also worked for Chow.”
Shrimp Boy Chow
Yee is famous for campaigning against violent video games, authoring
AB-1179, a bill that, if passed, would have outlawed the sale of violent
video games. The bill was struck down by the Supreme Court.
“Yee, a child psychologist by training, was first
elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1988 and served as
its president during the second of his two terms, when Jackson was also
on the board. Yee won election to the Board of Supervisors from the
Sunset District in 1996 and left in the middle of his second term to run
successfully for the Assembly, where he became part of the Democratic
“He won the first of his two state Senate terms in
2006, representing parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. He ran
unsuccessfully for mayor of San Francisco in 2011 and was running for
secretary of state, California’s top elections officer, when he was
arrested in April 2014. He suspended his campaign but still finished
third in the primary election, with more than 9 percent of the vote.”
“One of Yee’s causes as a legislator was gun control.
But in his guilty plea, Yee admitted agreeing in a March 2014 meeting
with Jackson, an undercover agent and the now-deceased Wilson Lim, a
Daly City dentist and Yee supporter, to illegally import weapons,
including automatic firearms, from the Philippines. Yee said the agent
paid him $6,800 in cash.”
“Breyer told Yee on Wednesday that his willingness to
traffic in guns, while publicly trumpeting his support for gun control,
was “inexplicable … hypocritical … the most venal thing and the most
dangerous thing you’ve done”.”
“Yee also acknowledged that over a period of nearly
three years, in exchange for purported campaign contributions, he
arranged a meeting between a donor and another state senator to discuss
marijuana legislation; agreed to recommend another campaign
contributor’s software company for a state contract; promised to vote
for legislation restricting workers’ compensation payments to injured
National Football League players; and agreed to sponsor a state Senate
resolution honoring Chow’s Ghee Kung Tong.”
"Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke"
“[Assistant Attorney General] Lanny Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who’s ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a "record” financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.
The banks’ laundering transactions were so brazen that the NSA probably could have spotted them from space. Breuer admitted that drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC’s Mexican branches and “deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows.”
This bears repeating: in order to more efficiently move as much illegal money as possible into the “legitimate” banking institution HSBC, drug dealers specifically designed boxes to fit through the bank’s teller windows. Tony Montana’s henchmen marching dufflebags of cash into the fictional “American City Bank” in Miami was actually more subtle than what the cartels were doing when they washed their cash through one of Britain’s most storied financial institutions.“
- Matt Taibi
More banks than HSBC have laundered drug money. in 2010, Wells Fargo and Wachovia ADMITTED to laundering $378,400,000,000 (billions!) of Mexican cartel money. They paid a 160 million dollar fine. Apparently, HSBC didn’t have the political juice that Wells had.
Anonymous shell corporations are the lifeblood of illicit financial activities because they allow individuals to hide their identities, their activities and their source of financing behind a faceless corporate entity. But while Mossack Fonseca and Panama are each responsible for this tidal wave of financial skullduggery, neither the law firm nor the country is unusual.
Firms in the United States play the same role as Mossack Fonseca, possibly on a larger scale, and they are doing so with the tacit blessing of our lax financial secrecy laws.
In fact, a recent study by the Tax Justice Network found that the United States is the third-biggest offender in the world when it comes to facilitating financial secrecy and tax evasion. Due to lax requirements in Delaware, Nevada and a few other states, for example, it is far easier to set up an anonymous shell company in the United States than it is in well-known tax havens such as the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands.
US and European banks launder $1 trillion in drug money each year. Drug money has become a relevant part of the Wall Street machine. Recently, HSBC bank was caught moving $1 billion in drug money. Were the criminal executives jailed? Of course, not. Why? Because, the legal system is there to control the poor, not regulate the rich. HSBC paid a fine and moved on, likely repositioning itself, like the other major banks that launder drug money.
Peter Joseph, American independent filmmaker and activist
One of the traditionally fastest career-killing federal crimes of a politician is charity money-laundering, but Trump has stolen from his charity repeatedly seemingly without any negative consequences to his polling.
Trump suddenly recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel while having said nothing about reports of Mueller subpoenas of Deutschebank records pertaining to his finances, is the world’s most dangerous and stupid game of “look, a squirrel!!”
HSBC pays huge fine over money-laundering allegations
$1.9Bthe amount UK-based banking conglomerate HSBC will pay American authorities for their role in a money-laundering scheme, the BBC reports. The bank allegedly assisted drug cartels and countries under sanction launder money. $1.25 billion of the total is money that the company will forfeit — a record — while the rest will be a fine paid to the U.S. government. source
Okay, first thing’s first. What exactly is money laundering? Money laundering is the process of creating the appearance that large amounts of money obtained from criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or terrorist activity, originated from a legitimate source. The money from the illicit activity is considered dirty, and the process “launders” the money to make it look clean.
Why would this be so important to criminal RP? Well, considering your character’s criminality is their way of earning coin and is their career, s/he needs to explain where their income comes from. Having to dodge law enforcement for smooth business, clean coin makes it hard for the guard to trace the currency back to the crime. Criminals need to also be able to deposit the money in financial institutions, such as banks, and can only do so if the paper trail seems legit.
The money laundering cycle can broken into three distinct stages: placement, layering, and integration.
The Placement Stage
This stage represents the initial entry of the “dirty” cash or proceeds of crime into the financial system. Generally, this stage serves two purposes: (a) it relieves the criminal of holding and guarding large amounts of bulky of cash; and (b) it places the money into the legitimate financial system. It is during the placement stage that money launderers are the most vulnerable to being caught. This is due to the fact that placing large amounts of money (cash) into the legitimate financial system may raise suspicions of officials.
The placement of the proceeds of crime can be done in a number of ways. For example, cash could be packed into a suitcase and smuggled to a country, or the launderer could use smurfs to defeat reporting threshold laws and avoid suspicion. Some other common methods include:
Loan Repayment - repayment of loans or credit cards with illegal proceeds Gambling- purchase of gambling chips or placing bets on sporting events Currency Smuggling - the physical movement of illegal currency or monetary instruments over the border Currency Exchanges - purchasing foreign money with illegal funds through foreign currency exchanges Blending Funds - using a legitimate cash focused business to co-mingle dirty funds with the day’s legitimate sales receipts
The Layering Stage
The next stage of money laundering attempts to separate the money from its original, illegal source. This part of the process is often complicated. By moving the money quickly and to different areas, the money may be transformed so that it is not detected through audits. During this stage, the money may be transferred between multiple countries. The money may take the form of various investments and move faster than the regulator can in response.
During this stage, for example, the money launderers may begin by moving funds electronically from one country to another, then divide them into investments placed in advanced financial options or overseas markets; constantly moving them to elude detection; each time, exploiting loopholes or discrepancies in legislation and taking advantage of delays in judicial or police cooperation.
The Integration Stage
This is the final stage of the money laundering process. This involves the process to get the funds back to the criminal from what seems to be a reputable source. After placing and layering the cash into the financial system, the funds become integrated. In this manner, the criminal can receive funds from their original illegal source in methods that do not draw attention to the situation. This may include receiving money from a business purchased by the funds, such as a restaurant, department store, car wash or laundry business. The business may carefully follow all other regulations in order to avoid detection, such as carefully paying all employee and business taxes and filing tax returns on a timely basis.
There are many ways to launder money, ranging from simple to complex. One of the most common ways to launder money is through a legitimate cash-based business owned by a criminal organization. For instance, if the organization owns a restaurant, it might inflate the daily cash receipts to funnel its illegal cash through the restaurant and into the bank. Then they can distribute the funds to the owners out of the restaurant’s bank account. These types of businesses are often referred to as “fronts.”
Common fronts: restaurants, dry cleaners, strip clubs, casinos.
Another common form of money laundering is called smurfing, where a person breaks up large chunks of cash into multiple small deposits, often spread out over many different accounts, to avoid detection. Money laundering can also be done through the use of currency exchanges, wire transfers, and “mules” or cash smugglers, who smuggle large amounts of cash across borders to deposit them in offshore accounts where money-laundering enforcement is less strict. Other money-laundering methods involve investing in commodities such as gems and gold that can be easily moved to other jurisdictions, discretely investing in and selling valuable assets such as real estate, gambling, counterfeiting and creating shell companies.
Regarding accounting for a small business, like a cafe, that functions as sort of a front for a criminal enterprise, how might their money guy subtly siphon the dirty/stolen money through the cafe? Essentially money laundering, but in such a way that the cafe’s records wouldn’t raise suspicion without very close scrutiny.
Hi. Well, Nonny, I’m not a criminal, so I don’t have experience with money laundering personally. I did a little bit of research and it looks like these are the things your character will need to consider if they need to launder some money in your story.
The point of money laundering is to hide where the money came from in order to make it look like it is from a legitimate enterprise so that it’s not suspicious that the owner of the enterprise/criminal has the level of money that they have. The best way to do this is going to depend on the type of criminal activity. Bribes are more easily covered with false invoices for consulting services, whereas selling on the black market or similar involving transfer of goods will match with storefronts or businesses like cafes or restaurants.
To cover the expenses of your character’s criminal enterprise, they will need to fake orders for raw materials, but these need to be reasonable and the fake orders need to be to a company that will stand up to at least some scrutiny. Consider what other types of store front could be used that would require less in the way of raw materials to limit the need for fake purchases.
To cover the inflows from your character’s criminal enterprise, they will put in false sales and move the money from the “backroom” to the official books and the cash deposit.
The key here is that the false sales and the fake orders need to match up. Otherwise, an audit would show that they should have more or less raw material inventory than they do, or that they didn’t have enough raw material to cover the claimed sales.
Speaking of audits, the fewer false transactions the better because audits rely on random sampling of transactions to check the statistical probability that all of the records are accurate. Therefore, your character needs to have a higher probability that legitimate transactions will be pulled for audit by limiting the false transactions.
The exact storefront your character chooses will depend on how much they need to launder from their criminal enterprise. They will want one one that is low profile, but also one where additional transactions will go unnoticed and where the increased transactions will add up to the amount they need to launder. If a coffee shop with an average price of about $2.50 per cup sells an additional 100 cups per day, they would probably only see an increase in profits of about $66,000 per year. Similarly, a $5 average will generate about $132,000 per year in false income for laundering room. A restaurant with an average sale of $50 (with proportional costs) could, in theory, launder $1,320,000 per year, but would 100 extra transactions per day be reasonable for that restaurant? Consider how much your criminal character is trying to cover up in dirty money when you decide what front they will use, as well as what the number of transactions that is reasonable for the business to have so that an extra 100 or so won’t raise flags.
*Disclaimer: This is for writing advice only. This is not intended as business advice. I am not responsible for any consequences of using this advice in real life situations. The best way to be sure that an audit does not find any criminal activity is to not engage in criminal activity.
George Zimmerman, Money Matters, and the Masters of the Universe
So now George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in February, appears to have tried to hide his assets during the time he was seeking bail, etc. Some in the progresso-sphere are ecstatic with the news, which seems like proof that Zimmerman is a multi-dimensional bad guy who needs to go to jail.
As regular readers of this blog know, I believe Zimmerman did wrong that February night. He comes across as a wannabe cop who initiated the confrontation that he then claimed justified his killing Trayvon Martin. Similarly, it’s not too hard to believe that Zimmerman might have sought to hide or obscure assets as bail was being considered: scared and naive people do stupid things all the time. Dumb ones do stupid things all the more often – that, after all, is how we know they’re dumb.
The thing is, focusing on Zimmerman’s financial gamesmanship is, like focusing on drone war, noticing only the mosquito, not the elephant. Zimmerman apparently shuffled comparatively small sums of money around to avoid federal notice … which may, in the end, lead him to get charged with some kind of financial fraud. It will also likely make the blogosphere feel smug and satisfied in its condemnation of him.
Meanwhile, the Masters of the Universe who collapsed the global economy and, more recently, lost JP Morgan Chase some $4 billion (and who created the elaborate financial instruments that promoted Europe’s possible collapse) face … what criminal prosecution? What jail time?
And why is this? Because if you play with enough money, you either get politicians to write laws making your financial gamesmanship legal, or your transactions are so utterly complex that no “jury of one’s peers” can possibly unpack them. Either way, the issues are complex and difficult … unlike Zimmerman’s artless deception.
I’ve said it before: I believe that George Zimmerman belongs in jail for what he did to Trayvon Martin. But seriously, folks: his financial games are far down the list of things that ought to draw your attention or your anger. They may be easy to understand, but that doesn’t make them important.
Indeed, if I was a Master of the Universe, I’d be thrilled you were pissed off at George Zimmerman. Because then you’d be ignoring me.
House Legislation Introduced to Shed Light on America’s Anonymous Corporations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 15, 2011
WASHINGTON – Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch yesterday introduced the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act, which would require corporations to provide information about who owns or controls the corporation and benefits from its existence.
This bill, H.R. 3416, is supported by the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) coalition, which includes a broad range of organizations with an interest in seeing the American trade in “anonymous corporations” closed down due to its negative impact on small businesses, human rights, corruption, national security, jobs and critical programs.
“This legislation is crucial in the fight against corruption and organized crime,” said Stefanie Ostfeld, Global Witness Policy Advisor. “Swift passage of this bill will stop dictators, terrorists and drug traffickers from being able to legally hide their identities, and therefore their dirty money, behind anonymous American shell companies.”
The bill complements bipartisan Senate legislation, S. 1483, introduced in August by Senators Carl Levin and Chuck Grassley.
“Jubilee USA is thrilled to see the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act moving forward in the House and applauds Representatives Maloney, Frank and Lynch for introduction. This Act takes important steps in halting the flow of illicit streams of revenue out of developing nations and away from those who need it the most- the world’s poorest. Morality must be brought back into the global financial system, and the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Act is one important measure in that goal,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 religious denominations, faith-based communities, human rights agencies and community organizations that work on matters concerning global economic justice.
The bill will move to the House Committee on Financial Services.
you read the news, remember: this is why he ran his campaign
accusing everyone else of corruption. It helps Trump when people
think or say that “Washington” is the problem and “they all do
it,” because that belief desensitizes people to the shocking and
acute reality of Trump’s corruption. Only people who think Trump is
good and want to help him should be complaining about “Wall Street
Dems” right now. The rest of us need to focus. Trump’s corruption
is different both in degree and in kind from the usual problems of
money in politics, and the Republicans enabling him are actually
worse than any other group of partisans that Americans have seen in a
weekend, there were a couple of huge stories which…..don’t
explicitly accuse Michael Cohen and the Trumps of money laundering,
but show pretty clearly that it’s the most logical explanation for
their finances. Key points:
various companies have confirmed that they paid Cohen. Cohen’s
lawyers have tacitly confirmed the major allegations by complaining
that Avenatti shouldn’t have Cohen’s bank records and disputing
some of the smaller payments.
this was going through one shell corporation. There is no reason to
believe it is Cohen’s only shell corporation. He may have more. He
could have hundreds.
don’t have the whole picture here, but Occam’s razor says Trump’s
lawyer is selling access to the Oval Office.
as bad as it looks. Probably worse. It’s not normal.
British bank settles with New York over money-laundering tied to Iran
$250 billionthe amount Standard Chartered Bank is accused of helping the Iranian government launder from the U.S. between 2001 and 2007
$350 millionthe amount the company paid to help get that situation settled so that they would could get New York’s financial regulator off their back source
» Why did they settle? Well, to put it simply, it was starting to turn into a PR crisis. While they disagreed with the state of New York’s portrayal of the situation, the regulatory body had some pretty decent ammo against the bank, including an exec saying this: "You (expletive) Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians.“ (There are U.S. sanctions on Iran.) The bank will take corrective measures to prevent this from happening again. (EDIT: As the WSJ’s Samuel Rubenfeld points out below, the deal does not preclude a settlement from federal regulatory bodies. That’ll happen separately.)
I mean fuck in a bucket this was one hell of a shopping spree. I read all this absolutely aghast by what this man managed to covet with those stolen funds—and this is just the tale of what one (1) person bought. Imagine what the other members of the 1MDB embezzling scheme purchased.
Now hoops have to be jumped through to not only collect all these troublesome purchases, but also to maintain them in a state where they could potentially be worth collecting in the first place. What good is a see-through glass piano if it gets scratched up and has to be restored? Or a yacht or private jet that can’t even move? Where’s the profit that can be recovered from that?
This article probably doesn’t even list a third of what that laundered money had been spent on.
My parents have been here for 2.5 days. We have gone to Publix three times and Wal-Mart once. As he went to bed tonight my father said, "I'm drinking your second to last root beer. We'll pick up some more tomorrow at Publix."
I don’t know who they killed and how much they got paid to do it, but there have got to be more efficient ways to launder the money.