The Chicago Syndicate

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Melissa Goodwin, Former Executive Vice President Of T.J. Martell Foundation, @TJMartell, Charged With Embezzling Over $3.7 Million to Defraud National Cancer Research Organization #Nashville #Cancer #Corruption

A criminal Information filed charges Melissa Goodwin, 55, of Nashville, Tennessee, with wire fraud in relation to a fraudulent scheme in which she embezzled over $3.7 million from the T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer Research, announced U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The T.J. Martell Foundation is the music industry’s leading foundation that funds innovative medical research focused on finding treatments and cures for cancer. The Foundation raises money for cancer research by soliciting in-kind donations from celebrities and then auctioning off those donations for a profit. Goodwin had been employed at the Foundation since 2005 and was the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Foundation from 2018 until July 2020.

According to the charging document, between July 2018 and June 2020, Goodwin devised a scheme to defraud the T.J. Martell Foundation by purchasing approximately $3.96 million in tickets from online ticket vendors Ticketmaster, Stubhub, Primesport, and On-Location, using a Foundation credit card she had obtained in her own name. These tickets were not for a legitimate Foundation purpose and included tickets to musical concerts such as Lady Gaga and Celine Dion, and some were to sporting events, such as Super Bowl LIV.

Goodwin provided these tickets to an individual in New York City who owned and operated a charity auction business. This business conducted auctions for clients, offering consignment items such as event tickets and sports memorabilia to the clients for use in their auctions. As part of the scheme, Goodwin led this individual to believe that she had acquired the tickets at no cost or at a discounted rate. Goodwin also used the Foundation’s credit card to purchase other items that were not for legitimate Foundation purposes, such as expensive and rare alcohols, plane tickets, and hotel stays. She then used the Foundation’s bank accounts to pay the credit card charges.

In order to conceal the ticket purchases, Goodwin provided falsified credit card statements and false expense reports to the Foundation’s accounting firm. Goodwin falsified the credit card statements by altering them to conceal the ticket purchases, as well as other expenses. She often replaced the name of the actual vendor with the name of a different vendor so that the charges appeared to be legitimate Foundation expenses. In total, Goodwin concealed over $3 million in fraudulent credit card expenses.

The Foundation’s accounting firm prepared the Foundation’s periodic financial statements based on these falsified credit card statements and expense reports. The accounting firm then emailed those statements to Goodwin, whose job it was to provide them to the Foundation’s CEO.

However, before providing them to the CEO, Goodwin falsified those financial statements by inflating the Foundation’s assets and lowering its liabilities to make the Foundation appear to be more liquid than it was at the time. These falsifications prevented the Foundation from detecting Goodwin’s fraudulent transactions.

In addition to falsifying the credit card statements and financial statements, Goodwin forged the signature of the Foundation’s CEO on six checks totaling $966,275.78 that were not approved by the Foundation.

If convicted, Goodwin faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The government also seeks the forfeiture of at least $3,765,606.77, which represents the proceeds of the alleged crime.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Stewart Rhodes, Leader of the Oath Keepers, Charged With Seditious Conspiracy for Attack on U.S. Capital #OathKeepers #Sedition

Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, has been arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Ten other people also were charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, when authorities said members of the extremist group came to Washington intent on stopping the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

These are the first charges of seditious conspiracy that the Justice Department has brought in connection with the attack led by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Rhodes, 56, of Granbury, Texas, and Edward Vallejo, 63, of Phoenix, Arizona, were arrested on Thursday. The others who were charged were already facing criminal charges related to the attack. Rhodes is the highest-ranking member of an extremist group to be arrested in the deadly siege.

The arrest of Rhodes and the others is a serious escalation of the accusations against the thousands of rioters who stormed the Capitol. And the charges answer in part a growing chorus of Republicans who have publicly questioned the seriousness of the Jan. 6 insurrection, arguing that since no one had been charged yet with sedition or treason, it could not have been so violent.

Rhodes did not enter the Capitol building on Jan. 6 but is accused of helping put into motion the violence that disrupted the certification of the vote. The Oath Keepers case is the largest conspiracy case federal authorities have brought so far over Jan. 6, when rioters stormed past police barriers and smashed windows, injuring dozens of officers and sending lawmakers running.

The indictment against Rhodes alleges Oath Keepers formed two teams, or “stacks,” that entered the Capitol. The first “stack” split up inside the building to separately go after the House and Senate. The second “stack” confronted officers inside the Capitol Rotunda, the indictment said. Outside Washington, the indictment alleges, the Oath Keepers had stationed two “quick reaction forces” that had guns “in support of their plot to stop the lawful transfer of power.”

Jonathan Moseley, an attorney representing Rhodes, said his client was arrested Thursday in Texas. “He has been subject to a lot of suspicion to why he wasn’t indicted,” so far in the Jan. 6 riot, Moseley said. “I don’t know if this is in response to those discussions, but we do think it’s unfortunate. It’s an unusual situation.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer #BTKConfession

Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer.

In 1974, Dennis Rader stalked and murdered a family of four in Wichita, Kansas. Since adolescence, he had read about serial killers and imagined becoming one. Soon after killing the family, he murdered a young woman and then another, until he had ten victims. He named himself “B.T.K.” (bind, torture, kill) and wrote notes that terrorized the city. He remained on the loose for thirty years. No one who knew him guessed his dark secret. He nearly got away with his crimes, but in 2004, he began to play risky games with the police. He made a mistake.

When he was arrested, Rader’s family, friends, and coworkers were shocked to discover that B.T.K. had been among them, going to work, raising his children, and acting normal. This case stands out both for the brutal treatment of victims and for the ordinary public face that Rader, a church council president, had shown to the outside world. Through jailhouse visits, telephone calls, and written correspondence, Katherine Ramsland worked with Rader himself to analyze the layers of his psyche. Using his drawings, letters, interviews, and Rader’s unique codes, she presents in meticulous detail the childhood roots and development of one man’s motivation to stalk, torture, and kill. She reveals aspects of the dark motivations of this most famous of living serial killers that have never before been revealed. In this book Katherine Ramsland presents an intelligent, original, and rare glimpse into the making of a serial killer and the potential darkness that lives next door.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Coming to #Hulu - The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Chicago World's Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson @exlarson #Chicago

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The true tale of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and the cunning serial killer who used the magic and majesty of the fair to lure his victims to their death.

“Relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramatic effect of a novel .... It doesn’t hurt that this truth is stranger than fiction.” —The New York Times

Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium.

Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, draws the reader into the enchantment of the Guilded Age, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.

Monday, January 03, 2022

Mobsters Louis Manna and Richard DeSciscio, Who Conspired to Kill John Gotti, Attempt to use Former President Donald Trump's First Step Act to Gain Release from Prison

A pair of mobsters who conspired to kill Gambino crime boss John Gotti are trying to get sprung — and their fates are inextricably tied to the Trump family.

Louis Manna, 92, and Richard DeSciscio, 79, have been behind bars since being sentenced to 80 and 75 years respectively in 1989 for racketeering and murder conspiracy. Manna had been the consigliere of the Genovese crime family.

The mobsters are now hoping the First Step Act, former President Trump’s landmark criminal justice reform bill, will be their ticket to securing a compassionate early release. The law allows for certain prisoners to be granted early release from federal penitentiaries in an effort to reduce the prison population.

In an ironic twist, both men were put away by presiding Federal Judge Maryanne Trump Barry — the former president’s older sister — who called the jury’s guilty verdict “courageous” and said the evidence “fairly shrieked of the defendants’ guilt.”

Lawyers for the elderly dons hope the justice system has softened since then.

“Former President Trump’s expansion of the First Step Act was one of his great actions toward criminal justice reform that not only recognizes the importance of a tough-on-crime stance, but also the importance of rehabilitation and reward for good behavior and positive change,” DeSciscio attorney Marco Laracca told The Post.

Laracca said his client was in ill health, citing a past bout with prostate cancer.

Manna’s attorney Jeremy Iandolo — who followed in the long tradition of mob lawyers by denying the existence of La Cosa Nostra — insisted his wheelchair-bound client was no threat to anyone and also deserved compassionate release.

“There is no [alleged] Italian American mobster who has been released under the First Step Act. And this case would set precedent,” Iandolo said. He angrily cited the case of Eddie Cox, 86, who was released earlier this year. Cox — a white man who improbably led the “Black Mafia” of Kansas City during the 1960s and 70s — was linked to 17 murders, the Kansas City Star reported.

So far, things haven’t gone their way. Last month Senior U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan again denied release to Manna stating, “His numerous crimes were extremely serious and heinous.”

Iandolo said he plans an appeal. DeSciscio’s case before the same judge is pending.

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