Michigan Mayor Indicted! Committed Bribery and Wire Fraud, Say the Feds

“Public corruption at any level undermines the community’s faith in their elected officials and does long-term damage to government institutions.”

(Steven D’Antuono, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the FBI)

 

The Mayor, along with his pals, allegedly used his elected office and campaign funds to enrich himself.

From the US Justice Department just before Christmas:

MAYOR OF TAYLOR AND TWO OTHERS INDICTED FOR BRIBERY AND FRAUD

A thirty-three count Indictment unsealed today charges City of Taylor Mayor Richard “Rick” Sollars, businessman Shady Awad, and Taylor Community Development Manager Jeffrey Baum with conspiracy to commit bribery in a scheme spanning from 2015 to 2019, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced. The Indictment also charges Sollars and Awad with seven counts of bribery each, and charges Sollars and Baum with 18 counts of Wire Fraud.

According to the Indictment, Sollars helped Awad’s real estate development company Realty Transition LLC obtain scores of tax-foreclosed properties owned by the City of Taylor. In return, Awad lavished Sollars with thousands of dollars in cash and over $30,000 in renovations to Sollars’s home, over $11,000 in renovations to Sollars’s lake house, and over $12,000 in new household appliances.

Alleged co-conspirator Shady Awad chit-chatting with Democrat Mayor Sollars. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2019/12/19/feds-indict-taylor-mayor-sollars-bribery-scandal/2698426001/

 

The appliances included a refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher, a $1,600 cigar humidor, a vacuum cleaner, and a clothes washer and dryer. The free renovations provided to Sollars by Awad include hardwood floors on every level of Sollars’s Taylor residence, hardwood floors at the lake house, a garage door, a new front door, cabinets, and a refurbished lake house deck.

The Indictment also alleges that Jeffrey Baum received bribes from Awad and another developer, in exchange for Baum’s help in obtaining tax-foreclosed properties from the City.

Sollar’s vacation home!

Text messages between Sollars, Awad, and Baum cited throughout the Indictment document the bribe scheme. In one text, Awad states as follows: “My relationship with Rick is worth $1 million so whatever it takes I’ll pay for it” in telling a contractor to do free work on Sollars’s lake house.

The Indictment also charges Sollars and Baum with 18 counts of Wire Fraud, alleging that Sollars and Baum defrauded donors to Sollars’s campaign fund in three ways. First, Sollars would take checks from his campaign account and write them payable to a particular market, purporting to pay for catering for one of Sollars’s events. Instead, the market owner would cash the campaign checks and give the cash back to Sollars, with no catering provided. Second, Sollars and Baum would direct Sollars’s supporters to write checks directly to the market for events that never occurred. Sollars would get cash and scratch-off lottery tickets from the market owner. Third, Sollars and Baum would solicit and accept thousands of dollars in cash contributions to Sollars’s campaign. Instead of depositing the funds into his campaign account, Sollars would simply keep the cash and use it for personal expenses.

The Indictment also seeks forfeiture of $205,993 in cash seized from Sollars’s home on February 10, 2019.

FBI provides readers with contact information if you suspect fraud or corruption with your local elected officials!

“Any time an allegation of corruption is brought to our attention, the FBI’s Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force will investigate it thoroughly. Public corruption at any level undermines the community’s faith in their elected officials and does long-term damage to government institutions,” said SAC D’Antuono. “With that in mind, we encourage anyone who believes they have information about corruption to contact the FBI at 313-965-4545 or tips.fbi.gov.”

More details here.

I know I haven’t done a scientific analysis, but heck it sure seems that a very high percentage of my ‘Frauds and Crooks’ stories originate in Michigan!

 

For new readers:  If you are interested in the issue of Refugee Resettlement (Michigan is a leading state that ‘welcomes’ more impoverished people), visit my other blog Refugee Resettlement Watch where I have been spending a lot of time in recent weeks.

FBI Take Down! Nigerians Arrested for Scamming Millions from Elderly and Vulnerable Women

“We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in U.S. history.”

(US Attorney Nick Hanna)

The FBI announced this week that over a dozen were under arrest in the US and efforts were being made to find additional co-conspirators around the world in fraud schemes  involving at least 32 victims.

nigerian romance scammers
Nigerians (new American entrepreneurs!) arrested in Los Angeles on Thursday. https://www.stripes.com/news/us/fbi-takes-down-nigerians-pretending-to-be-u-s-troops-in-46m-romance-scam-1.595476

 

Here is The Hill on this good news,

Justice charges 80 in massive online fraud case linked to Nigerian defendants

 

The Department of Justice on Thursday unsealed a 252-count federal indictment charging 80 defendants, many of whom are Nigerian nationals, with conspiring to steal millions of dollars through online scams.

The indictment was unsealed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and was made public shortly after authorities arrested 14 of the defendants across the United States, with 11 of these defendants apprehended in the Los Angeles region. The majority of the defendants are outside the country, with many likely in Nigeria.

The defendants involved in the case were charged with attempting to defraud individuals of millions of dollars through the use of business email compromise (BEC) and online romance scams, in addition to other schemes meant to target the elderly.

The investigation is being led by the FBI, with each of the defendants charged with “conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft,” according to Justice Department. Some defendants also face fraud and money laundering charges.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna described the scams used by the defendants during a press conference on Thursday, saying that “fraud networks now target individuals and businesses alike.”

“In the BEC scams, the fraudsters will often hack a company’s email system, impersonate company personnel, and direct payments to bank accounts that funnel money back to the fraudsters in Nigeria,” Hanna said. “In the romance scams, victims think they are developing a dating relationship, when in fact they are just being tricked into sending money to the fraudsters.”

Hanna added that “we believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in U.S. history.”

Paul Delacourt, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said during the same press conference that losses involved in this case for victims total around $10 million. He said defendants attempted to obtain $40 million from victims.

There were at least 32 victims in the case, from the United States and other countries including Japan, the United Kingdom, Lebanon, Ukraine, China, Mexico, Germany, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Delacourt said the case began in 2016 after one individual was victimized by the defendants. The two main defendants in the case are Nigerian citizens Valentine Iro and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe.

More here.

And, don’t miss the  Stars and Stripes story about how some of the crooks pretended to be US military personnel when they scammed hundreds of thousands from lonely women.

I know you are shaking your head and wondering who in their right mind would be so foolish to send money to a stranger they met on the internet.  Well, as we have heard in previous posts on Nigerian romance scammers, these Nigerian creeps are skilled actors and preying on vulnerable and lonely people seems to come naturally to them.

Keep an eye on your elderly friends and family members and don’t let them fall for these despicable scams.

Virginia: FBI Arrests One of their Translators for Lying about his Relationship with Target of Investigation

FBI logoI’m laughing as I write this because what ever made the FBI think they could trust a translator who is Somali to help surveil a fellow Somali.
But, then again, this is an Obama-era FBI pick. Let’s hope the Trump FBI is wiser and smarter.
The bare bones news about the “Virginia man” is here at the US Justice Department website (hat tip: Cathy), but believe it or not, I see that CNN has excellent coverage in my quick look around at which media outlets were onto the story.
Continue reading “Virginia: FBI Arrests One of their Translators for Lying about his Relationship with Target of Investigation”

Big League Politics Further Illuminates Robert Mueller's 'Leadership' Role Regarding Somali Terrorists

I was excited to see that Big League Politics (most recently famous for publishing the Virginia Governor Northam blackface photo), dug deeper into my story from a week ago about the Somali refugee ‘youths’ we raised with our taxpayer generosity who said s**** the American Dream and left Minnesota to become jihadists.
Big League Politics story by Shane Trejo (hat tip: Richard),

How Robert Mueller’s FBI Allowed Minnesota to Become a Somali Terror Hub

As Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) agitates against the Jews as a Congresswoman, the Minneapolis Somali community has emerged as the foremost terrorist hot spot of the United States.

Screenshot (890)
Look at it this way: These two women (Klobuchar and Omar) are now focusing a national spotlight on Minnesota’s “Little Mogahdishu” for the whole country to see! Let’s hope they both keep talking!

This influx of Somali migrants is threatening the national security of the United States and is being enabled by far-left Democratic legislators such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) who, unsurprisingly, are happy to kowtow to these hostile invaders for votes and campaign cash.
However, the problem goes far deeper than mere pandering Democratic politicians. It is a bipartisan issue, as the Somalian migrant influx picked up during the Bush years. It was the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under the stewardship of Director Robert Mueller that dropped the ball following the Sept. 11 attacks when the Bureau should have been at its most vigilant.
Organizations like Church World Services, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the National Association of Evangelicals’ World Relief Corp, and other nominally private religious organizations have soaked up tens of millions in federal funds to resettle so-called refugees as a result of Bush’s “faith-based initiative” policies. According to a WorldNetDaily report, the Bush administration resettled 49,613 Somalis per the U.S. State Department’s refugee database primarily to the state of Minnesota, which has apparently been designated as a Somali hub by the central planners of this refugee madness. Serving as FBI director for nearly five years under Obama, Mueller was responsible for much of the 47,500 Somali refugees who were resettled during his presidency as well.
Refugee resettlement expert Ann Corcoran pointed out that it is the FBI’s lax mentality that has allowed this issue to fester and become a bona fide national security threat. She points to a particularly telling quote from a federal official as reported by FOX News.
“Based on historical experience, we had (an uptick) in 2007 and 2008 going for al-Shabab, then a lull. Then, as ISIS came back, we saw a whole bunch of people no longer headed for Somalia. They were headed for Iraq and Syria. That really caught us off-guard, we didn’t see that coming. It didn’t make sense to us. We understood why kids were going back to Somalia, but going to Syria was another… issue,” a federal official said to Fox News.

Much more here. And, again, I can’t say how thrilled I am to see a reporter actually do some serious digging!
To my despairing friends in Minnesota, there is a silver lining!  The country needs to know what has happened and what is happening there and this pair (on full display) will do more to educate all Americans than all the words of warning we could write.

About the photo: there are surprisingly few photos of Omar and Klobuchar together (this one was on Omar’s twitter account), so make sure you link the two every chance you get!