“Islamophobia” and “Racism” Behind Excessive Prosecution of Molotov-tossing Attorneys

Not surprisingly a whole bunch of Islamic groups are crying foul with the federal government’s decision to go for the maximum punishment for the pair of alleged bombers we told you about here and here recently.

From Religion News Service:

Muslim groups decry ‘excessive’ prosecution of lawyers charged with torching police car

Lawyers Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis

(RNS) — Dozens of Muslim rights groups have joined a chorus of support for two Brooklyn human rights attorneys facing possible life sentences over charges of torching an empty police vehicle.

Lawyers Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis stand accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail through the broken window of an abandoned police cruiser during Brooklyn racial justice protests on May 30. The device burned part of the empty cruiser’s dashboard, prosecutors allege. Nobody was injured during the incident.

“No rational human being can ever believe that hurling firebombs at police officers and vehicles is justified,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said.

The two have both pleaded not guilty to several arson and federal explosives charges. If convicted, they face a 45-year mandatory minimum sentence, with the possibility of life in prison. The attorneys are being held without bail at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center.

In a statement, a coalition of 35 Muslim, South Asian and Arab civil rights and advocacy groups*** argue the treatment is disproportionately harsh and likely linked in part to the lawyers’ racial and ethnic backgrounds. Rahman, 31, is a Pakistani American Muslim woman. Mattis, 32, is the son of Jamaican immigrants.

“These excessive charges targeting Colin and Urooj set a dangerous precedent, and function to instill fear and stifle protest by Black, South Asian, and Muslim protestors at a moment where millions take to the streets worldwide to demand justice,” the statement reads.

“This prosecution is also rooted in a longstanding history of anti-Black racism and structural Islamophobia in the United States.”

The coalition, led by the American Muslim Bar Association, Believers Bail Out and Justice For Muslims Collective, claims the pair is being targeted “for their solidarity with those murdered by state violence.”

More here.

Image from their Linked In page! 2 employees!

***I wanted to see the whole list of 35 groups coming to their defense, but couldn’t find it (I was too lazy to look for too long), but here is the American Muslim Bar Association’s statement.

Jihad Watch has more, but I’m still not seeing the whole list!

COVID Scammers are Very Clever; Don’t Let them Get YOU!

As you can imagine, with all the fear and the federal bucks floating around scammers are in fat city.

Editor: I  know a few of you noticed that I haven’t been posting because I heard from you.  Thanks for your concern that I might have been sick.  But a big storm took out our TV and internet for a couple of days. LOL! I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if I wanted it back on! Amazing how many projects around the farm could get done with most access to the world cut off!  So, I am way behind in finding stories and posting and will be trying to catch up.

There are way to many stories to post about scammers in this brave new world we live in now, but this one caught my eye at Psychology Today.  The title grabbed my attention!

5 Coronavirus Scams That Can Fool Even Smart People

Here are a few examples from the article, but please read it all!

In just the first nine days of April, the Federal Trade Commission reported $7 million lost to scams.

Here’s a current rogue’s gallery of coronascams:

The Stimulus Scam. You’re excitedly waiting for your stimulus check or student-loan forgiveness. You get an email with a government logo. It says you need to apply—Just provide your Social Security Number and date of birth and perhaps a small registration fee. Gotcha.

https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus

[….]

The CoronaTracking Scam. You heard, correctly, that Apple and Google are creating a corona-tracking app. Then, you get a text claiming to be from the government, perhaps the CDC or WHO, informing you that you’re eligible to get the app free. It says that, to avoid fraud, it needs your Social Security Number and birth date. Gotcha.

[….]

The Product Scam. An email or text offers to sell you sanitizer, masks, etc. By the time you get to the final screen, the shipping cost atop an inflated price makes it exorbitant. But you’ve put in the effort to get that far (commitment bias), so you click “order.” Worse, you click “order” and not only don’t get the product, the scammers use your credit card to buy themselves cool stuff or gift cards for their programmers so the scam can metastasize.

More!  Read it all and see if you are one of the smart people who just might have fallen for one of these!

Stopping Fraud Against Seniors a Top Priority for the Attorney General

Keep this number handy!

AG Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced this week that an unprecedented number of cases of fraud against senior Americans have been charged or prosecuted and announced a hotline where you can report suspected fraud and help them catch more of the crooks, often foreign crooks, stealing from older Americans.

From CBS News  (good for them because I have seen very little elsewhere about this story from Tuesday):

Barr announces more than 400 charged for defrauding seniors over past year

Washington — More than 400 people have been charged with defrauding seniors out of more than $1 billion over the past year, the Justice Department revealed Tuesday. Attorney General William Barr announced the charges in Tampa on Tuesday at the Sun City Center Community Hall for seniors.

Barr explained why this issue has personal meaning for him. “I myself was used as a lure in a scam,” the attorney general told retirees. Before he became the nation’s 85th attorney general, the 1991 official photograph of Barr from his first stint in in the job in George H.W. Bush’s administration was used by scammers offering phony federal grants in exchange for money. “It was really heart-wrenching. People called in desperate hope that this was real,” Barr explained. “That crystalized the issue for me, and when I got to the department I wanted to make sure that this was one of our highest priorities to go after this.”

Fraud ring busted in 2019. https://qz.com/africa/1693540/fbi-bust-of-nigerian-email-fraud-shows-evolving-scam-tactics/

[….]

Barr has made elder fraud one of his top priorities as attorney general, and Tuesday’s announcement nearly doubles last year’s prosecutions.

Every U.S. attorney’s office across the country participated in either prosecuting or conducting proactive community outreach as part of the department’s sweep.

[….]

Scams targeting the elderly are usually foreign-based, like the “Nigerian prince” scheme or robocalls involving the impersonation of a U.S. government official who demands money from targets.

“The charges announced today demonstrate the great success of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force to identify and stop those who are targeting our senior communities from overseas,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement. “We’re committed to continuing our efforts to keep our elderly citizens safe, whether they’re being targeted door-to-door, over the phone, or online.”

More here.

And, see the FBI Press Release on the announcement which includes a link to an interactive US map so you can see where some of the 400 cases are being prosecuted.

As I have said on innumerable occasions the President should be highlighting this fraud-busting work of his Justice Department, like this Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force , at every one of his rallies.

 

Note to PayPal donors!  I want to thank all of you who send me donations for my work via PayPal. I very much appreciate your thoughtfulness. However, PayPal is making changes to their terms of service and I’ve decided to opt-out beginning on March 10, 2020.

Indian National Ripped off Americans/Others for Millions via Call Center Scam

He was on the run and we tracked him down in Singapore.

If you’ve ever gotten one of those calls where someone tells you they are from the IRS and you owe money, surely you hung up! However thousands of gullible people did not hang up and sent this Indian crook their hard-earned money.

Well one more of the international crooks ripping us off will now be behind bars.

Thanks to reader Charles for tipping me off about this story, here is the US Justice Department news about Hitesh Madhubhai Patel aka Hitesh Hinglaj, 43, of Ahmedabad, India:

(By the way, I like the fact that we are now seeing mention of the nationality of crooks more prominently mentioned sparing us from having to spend time playing the secret decoder ring game with the criminal’s name.)

Indian national convicted of role in call center scam that victimized thousands in the U.S.

HOUSTON – An Indian national has entered a guilty plea for his role in operating and funding India-based call centers which defrauded thousands of victims out of millions of dollars between 2013 and 2016.

Hitesh Madhubhai Patel aka Hitesh Hinglaj, 43, of Ahmedabad, India, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud as well as a general conspiracy to commit identification fraud, access device fraud, money laundering and to impersonate a federal officer or employee.

“Hitesh Patel played a prominent role in this massive, India-based fraud scheme that bilked vulnerable Americans out of millions of dollars,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This important resolution would not have occurred without the assistance of our Singaporean colleagues, to whom we extend our deep appreciation.”

Patel and his conspirators perpetrated a complex scheme in which employees from call centers in Ahmedabad, India, impersonated officials from the IRS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They also engaged in other telephone call scams designed to defraud victims throughout the United States. U.S. victims were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay alleged monies owed to the government.

An image of a call center at a website that also reported this news entitled: ‘Financial Fraud News’. https://www.financialfraudnews.com/indian-national-convicted-of-role-in-call-center-scam-that-victimized-thousands-in-the-u-s/

Those who fell victim to the scammers were instructed how to provide payment, including by purchasing general purpose reloadable (GPR) cards or wiring money. Upon payment, the call centers would immediately turn to a network of “runners” based in the United States to liquidate and launder the fraudulently-obtained funds.

In his plea, Patel admitted to operating and funding several India-based call centers from which the fraud schemes were perpetrated, including organizational co-defendant call center HGLOBAL. Patel frequently corresponded by email and WhatsApp messaging with co-defendants to exchange credit card numbers, telephone scam scripts, deposit slips, payment information, call center operations information, instructions and bank account information. The scripts included impersonation of IRS, USCIS, Canada Revenue Agency and Australian Tax Office personnel as well as payday loan, U.S. government grant and debt collection fraud schemes.

Patel also received monthly income and expense reports to his personal email from the call centers and used his Indian cell phone number to access GPR cards through automated telephone systems on many occasions.

A co-defendant described Patel as “the top person in India and the boss for whom most of the other defendants worked.” Another co-defendant claimed Patel was arrested in India in 2016, but paid a bribe and was released. Additionally, Patel admitted he was accountable for approximately $25-65 million.

Patel was extradited from Singapore in April 2019 to face charges in this large-scale telefraud and money laundering scheme. Singapore authorities apprehended Patel at the request of the United States pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant in September 2018 after Patel flew there from India.

As I have said before, the President should regularly highlight all of the scams his Justice Department is busting.

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.