By Aaron Kesel
This is the fourth part of an investigative series concerning the troubling matter of Wall Street crimes protected by federal agents switching sides to protect their secret buddies’ “bizness” schemes by conflict of interests and “revolving doors.”
In this segment, we’ll look into apparent acts of federal agents’ incompetence, willful blindness and observable acts of clear duplicity.
Today we will be looking at what are known as Deferred Prosecution Agreements. (“Defers”) aren’t even slaps on the wrists, because those fines are paid by the stockholders and not Wall Street executives who should be convicted.
An even more alarming fact is that the more this reporter digs and talks to the eToys federal case whistleblower Laser Haas, the more cases that show numerous occasions where federal agents are turning up directly connected to this revolving door; some even have payoffs involved to exiting prosecutors under the guise of Deferred Prosecution Agreements.
A good majority of the population, not so long ago, had another phrase coined for federal agents getting millions of dollars to forego prosecutions! But it seems today that the rule of law has been forgotten.
Back in 2001, with smoking guns unearthed in 2004, several Wall Street crimes were brought to the attention of federal agents and agencies alike, such as the SEC, DOJ, FBI and United States Trustee program, in Delaware, by the eToys federal case whistleblower.
Betrayer of Public Trust Colm Connolly
Unbeknownst to the eToys whistleblower at the time, the Delaware United States Attorney, Colm Connolly, had been a partner of the very MNAT law firm that Laser Haas sought to be indicted for a plethora of alleged crimes.
This single case of Colm Connolly & MNAT is corroborative proof that the “revolving door” paradigm needs to be addressed by Congress. But this isn’t the only instance of revolving doors you will hear about in this series.
Connolly became an Assistant United States Attorney, Delaware, in 1992, after clerking for an MNAT partner; and Colm remained a federal prosecutor until 1999. As this reporter noted, in previous articles, Colm’s next step into the “revolving doors” was his partnership, from 1999, thru August 2, 2001, with MNAT; which is mired in controversy, concerning billions of dollars in losses to Mattel and eToys investors & creditors as previously reported.
Visibly, for those closely following the series, this is an important era (retroactively speaking), as it is the exact period when the eToys, KB Toys, Stage Stores, Fingerhut and ‘ The Learning Company’/Mattel fraud cases were ensuing.
All during this same time, MNAT was assisting Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, and Paul Traub’s schemes, whilst Paul Traub was “controlling” the infamous Tom Petters Ponzi scam. (See the first 4 pages of this Petters Ponzi Complaint against Traub – here.)
As a result of the whistleblower’s Smoking Guns, Paul Traub and the MNAT law firm were caught – red-handed – and sanctioned (by paltry slap on the wrist – cost of doing “bizness” – fines). Chief Justice Mary F Walrath “MFW” who was presiding over the eToys’ cases, flatly refused to refer the matter to the United States Attorney’s office. (See page 52 of MFW’s Published eToys case opinion – here.) (archived)
The problem appears to be that everyone but the whistleblower knew the “fix was in” with Colm Connolly.
As noted previously by this reporter, Rolling Stone‘s “Greed and Debt” article (which, by the way, failed to give credit where it was due according to the whistleblower) pointed out an interesting fact: that sometime prior to 2004 – after Bain Capital appeared to have fleeced eToys federal estate assets, deceitfully – the KB CEO, Michael Glazer, paid himself $18 million and Bain Capital $83 million.
Coincidentally, the MNAT law firm represented Bain Capital of the $83 million, and Paul Traub’s firm asked to be the one to prosecute Glazer and Bain (Traub’s Traub Bonacquist & Fox [TBF] law firm concealed the fact he worked under Romney, Bain & Glazer at Stage Stores).
One of the complaints of the eToys whistleblower, which has never been addressed to this very day, is that the whistleblower was offered a million dollar bribe to join Romney’s roaming manager gangs because Mitt wanted eToys as cheap as possible – but the whistleblower was a top eToys executive running the bids up by tens of millions.
This appears to be why KB’s top exec, Michael Glazer, got $18 million, illegally, to make sure Bain Capital got away with $83 million more.
Apparently, just after the eToys case, the whistleblower turned down and reported the bribe attempt; this is when Connolly returned to the Delaware Department of Justice. This time – the continuous “revolving door” of Connolly – is his becoming the top dog, as the United States Attorney on August 2nd, 2001.
Another glaring coincidence, with Colm Conolly’s 1999 to August 2001 partnership with MNAT, is the fact Mitt Romney’s 2012 POTUS Campaign claimed he was “retroactively” retired from Bain Capital, as of August 2001, back to February 11, 1999.
Would we allow Al Capone to ‘retroactively’ retire from his organized crimes?
Did N.J. U.S. Attorney Chris Christie Scheme by Deferred Prosecution Agreements?
Upon realization by the whistleblower, he was providing proof of racketeering to a ‘revolving door’ conflicted federal prosecutor. The whistleblower traveled across the country to Los Angeles United States Attorney, Debra Yang, who was in charge of then-President George W. Bush’s Corporate Fraud Task Force.
Los Angeles is where Laser Haas ran http://eToys.com federal estate, from eToys corporate headquarters on Olympic Avenue.
Congress was already made abundantly aware of the mass corporate frauds of WorldCom and Enron. Also, the lawmakers were keenly conscious that bankruptcy, insider attorneys (like Paul Traub and MNAT) would carve up estates, for themselves, at the direct detriment of their clients.
This backstabbing of court-approved clients for the sake of more lucrative secret ones (in this case Romney, Bain Capital, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs), is not only many violations of RICO; it also violates the number one fiduciary duty of attorneys at law – oath to the BAR – of a client’s interest being first & foremost.
Colm Connolly and others in the Justice Department, along with MNAT law firm and Paul Traub, constantly got away with habitual backstabbing of clients they swear under oath to protect.
These organized criminal efforts defined as RICO crimes are named by Congress to be a “Bankruptcy Ring” (see Third Circuit case in Arkansas – here.)
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Even United States Attorney General, John Ashcroft, appears to have found an early Christmas gift that he and Debra Yang couldn’t resist.
Both United States Attorney Debra Yang and exited USAG John Ashcroft were gifted a $50 million dollar – NO BID – Deferred Prosecution Agreement, in 2007 by NJ U.S. Attorney, Chris Christie, making him an instant millionaire gift provider.
As reported, there were many questions about Chris Christie giving out the forgoes of federal prosecutions. The whistleblower notes them being “get out of jail free cards: with monies specious.
John Ashcroft. Christie’s former U.S. Justice Department boss made $28 million to $52 million or more in 18 months for monitoring Zimmer Holdings, one of five medical device manufacturers accused of giving kickbacks to surgeons for using their replacement hips and knees.
— David Kelley. A former U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Kelley investigated a stock fraud case involving Christie’s younger brother, Todd, but declined to prosecute him. Kelley was later picked to monitor Biomet Orthopedics Inc., another of the medical device makers.
— Bristol-Myers Squibb. A $300 million fraud settlement Christie negotiated with the New York company included a provision that Bristol-Myers endow a professorship at Seton Hall Law School, his alma mater. The U.S. Justice Department subsequently issued guidelines barring such requirements as part of out-of-court corporate crime settlements.
To pour gasoline on the obvious fires, beyond the Deferred agreements and Congressional notes of “Bankruptcy Rings” of conflicted counsels, is the 2007 public hearing reports that contain alarming quotes by former USAG John Ashcroft concerning “corrupt federal judges in collusion with high-ranking members of the United States Trustee program” (where the U.S. Trustees are the police of the bankruptcy courts).
Former USAG John Ashcroft, is credited with writing the following:
Bankruptcy court corruption is not just a matter of bankruptcy trustees in collusion with corrupt bankruptcy judges. The corruption is supported, and justice hindered by high ranking officials in the United States Trustee Program. The corruption has advanced to punishing any and all who mention the criminal acts of trustees and organized crime operating through the United States Bankruptcy Courts. As though greed is not enough, the trustees, in collusion with others, intentionally go forth to destroy lives. Exemptions provided by law are denied, debtors. Cases are intentionally and unreasonably kept open for years. Parties in cases are sanctioned to discourage them from pursuing justice. Contempt of court powers are misused to coerce litigants into agreeing with extortion demands. This does not ensure integrity and restores public confidence.
The conclusion of Ashcroft’s statement sums up the dilemma of the eToys whistleblower.
Specifically, former USAG John Ashcroft wrote:
The American public, victimized and held hostage by bankruptcy court corruption, have nowhere to turn.
It is an alarming statement for the nation’s top dog law enforcer to say that the “American public is victimized and held hostage by bankruptcy court corruption.”
In the “revolving door” era of quid pro quo, the public is entitled to know if US Attorney Chris Christie’s $50 million dollar gift to his former top federal prosecutor boss was the type of “bizness” that launched Christie’s political career, where he became Governor.
Many federal agents and reporters accused the eToys whistleblower of fabricating; because, since 2007, the remarks made by Ashcroft were redacted, entirely, from the Web.
That is, until now!
Vindication has finally come for Laser Haas now that the United States Administrator of Federal Courts has posted John Ashcroft’s remarks on its website, this year, after the statement couldn’t be found for 9 years. (See US Courts.Gov website link – here.) The website notes that the remarks were part of the hearing testimony of Francis C. P. Knize. (archived)
The declaration was made during a public comment on “RULES GOVERNING JUDICIAL CONDUCT AND DISABILITY PROCEEDINGS UNDERTAKEN PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 351-364 Presented Pursuant [FR Doc. E7-14268 Filed 7-20-07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 2210-55-P DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE United States Parole Commission Public Announcement, Pursuant to the Government in the Sunshine Act (Pub. L. 94-409) [5 U.S.C. Section 552b.].”
Public Corruption Task Force – SHUT DOWN
Armed with this glaring USAG condemnation of bankruptcy system corruption, and the newly discovered smoking gun of Colm Connolly’s résumé, aided by a former bankruptcy task force party’s clerk, the eToys case whistleblower filed an 18 U.S.C. § 3057(a) Complaint with the Los Angeles United States Attorney’s office, where the Public Corruption Task Force is housed.
Unfortunately, instead of doing the task at hand – to address and arrest Colm Connolly for betrayals of the public’s trust – a few weeks later the Public Corruption Task Force was shut down, as the Los Angeles Times reported in its story “Shake-up roils federal prosecutors.” The article states:
Eliminating the public integrity and environmental crimes section, spokesman Thom Mrozek said, would actually enhance the effort to prosecute such cases.
They said O’Brien also threatened to tarnish their reputations if they challenged the official explanation for the unit’s dismantling in conversations with reporters. Members of the unit contacted by The Times either spoke on the condition that they not be named or declined to comment. Several said they wanted to talk about the situation but feared reprisals if they did so.
Making the degree of reprehensibility go far beyond the shocking of one’s conscience, not only did they dismantle the Task Force, the DOJ stipulated that the Public Corruption Task Force was dismantled because there were no public corruption cases to prosecute.
The powers-that-be also threatened career federal prosecutors to keep their mouths shut.
As if all the above isn’t enough to blow your mind, it gets far worse.
These cases don’t get investigated, much less prosecuted! Americans have the right to know how it is that the “revolving door” dynamics are becoming systemic and incestuous in the corrupting of our federal systems of justice. Obviously, the incompetence, willful blindness and “revolving door” acts, visibly duplicitous, would greatly embarrass the Department of Justice agents/agencies – and the federal courts.
Unfortunately, these particular “revolving door” dynamics have directly contributed to the bigger scandals of Bernie Madoff, Petters Ponzi, Jack Abramoff partners threatening eToys shareholders with assassination, and 100 other racketeering “predicate acts” benefiting Goldman Sachs partnership with Bain Capital – all going on flagrantly and blatantly because the “revolving doors” guarantee great retirement benefits, like Deferred Prosecution Agreements, in the many millions of dollars.
Capone is turning over in his grave at how easy corruption is today!
Image credit: Star Tribune